I took part in the vigil at Stella Maris on Saturday, on the Eve of Pentecost Sunday, and the first reading drew my attention:
Then the LORD said: If now, while they are one people and all have the same language, they have started to do this, nothing they presume to do will be out of their reach. [GN 11:6]
“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” [Acts 2:3-4]
How can the same thing be unifiying and divisive at the same time? Isn't that contradictory?
But maybe the answer is that it's because the Holy Spirit works differently, being Peace and Love. That means that the Holy Spirit doesn't need to pay attention to which is the so-called official language.
Our Diocese is international, people come from different countries and speak different mother tongues. How interesting is it to see that we can still celebrate the Mass together, and try to communicate in languages that are not our own. Because language is only the box in which we carry God's Love! It is only the appearance, the medium for us to express our virtues and Christianity!
Now I ask, do we Catholics have a fire like this? And if so, where is our bonfire?
My answer is that our fire should be the Holy Mass.
At Mass is where we come together, where we meet our community, the community that is ours on earth and in Heaven, where we have Communion with them and with our Lord. Language is nothing, it is just a tool, so it does not matter if you speak Swahili, Chinese, Spanish, Finnish, Swedish, English or any other language, the Mass is still the Mass.
One funny metaphor of the Holy Spirit is it likes the electricity, which gives us the power to reach the better End that God sets. For sure it is, and our languages are a gift from it. Please use your gift carefully and not as a weapon to create division.
No matter where we were born and what language we speak, we are still Brothers and Sisters. We do not belong to this Earth; this life is a long pilgrimage towards Heaven. Like I always joke: I am a Finnish Catholic, as my heart has been assigned here by the Lord, even though I was not born a Finn and I have no clue about the Finnish language.*
Thank you for reading and God bless you!
* I can actually follow the Mass in Finnish without reading the Order of the Mass, so I do have some grasp of Finnish.
About the author
Yiran, or Maria Micaela. Born in China as a Protestant Christian but baptised in Spain (2015), being the only Catholic in the family. I came to Turku as an Erasmus exchange student and I stayed for my MSc studies. I'm also a participant of the Youth Weekends at Stella Maris.
Cooking, running and photography are my hobbies.