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Catholic Dictionary




Extraordinary gifts of communing with God, as described by St. Paul. The entire fourteenth chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians is devoted to this subject, under the aspect of the gift of tongues. He distinguished two forms of the gift. There is the charism of praying to God in spirit but in words that are not intelligible to the mind. Paul tells the Christians to ask God to give them an understanding of what they are praying in spirit. They must also make sure that if they use the gift in public someone with the correlative gift of interpretation of tongues is present to explain what was said. "If there is no interpreter present, they must keep quiet in church and speak only to themselves and to God" (I Corinthians 14:28). Above all, everything must be done for the common, and not only individual, good.