Interpretation of tongues
14:13 Et ideo qui loquitur lingua, oret ut interpretetur. [n. 834]
14:13 And therefore he who speaks by a tongue, let him pray that he may interpret. [n. 834]
14:14 Nam si orem lingua, spiritus meus orat, mens autem mea sine fructu est. [n. 836]
14:14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays: but my mind is without fruit. [n. 836]
14:15 Quid ergo est? Orabo spiritu, orabo et mente: psallam spiritu, psallam et mente. [n. 841]
14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, I will pray also with the mind, I will sing with the spirit, I will sing also with the mind. [n. 841]
14:16 Ceterum si benedixeris spiritu, qui supplet locum idiotae, quomodo dicet: amen, super tuam benedictionem? quoniam quid dicas, nescit. [n. 842]
14:16 Else, if you shall bless with the spirit, how shall he who holds the place of the unlearned say, amen, to your blessing? Because he knows not what you say. [n. 842]
14:17 Nam tu quidem bene gratias agis, sed alter non aedificatur. [n. 846]
14:17 For you indeed give thanks well: but the other is not edified. [n. 846]
834. Supra ostendit apostolus excellentiam doni prophetiae ad donum linguarum, rationibus sumptis ex parte exhortationis, hic vero ostendit idem rationibus sumptis ex parte orationis: haec enim duo per linguam exercemus, orationem scilicet et exhortationem.
834. Having shown that the gift of prophecy excels the gift of tongues with reasons taken on the part of exhortation, the Apostle now shows the same thing with reasons taken on the part of prayer; for we perform these two things with the tongue, namely, prayer and exhortation.
Et circa hoc duo facit.
In regard to this he does two things:
Primo enim probat excellentiam prophetiae ad donum linguarum rationibus;
first, he proves that prophecy excels the gift of tongues with reasons;
secundo exemplis, ibi gratias ago Deo meo, et cetera.
second, with examples, at I thank my God (1 Cor 14:18).
Circa primum duo facit.
In regard to the first he does two things:
Primo ponit necessitatem orationis;
first, he shows the necessity of prayer;
secundo ostendit quomodo in oratione plus valet donum prophetiae quam donum linguarum nam si orem lingua, et cetera.
second, how in prayer the gift of prophecy is more powerful than the gift of tongues, at for if I pray in a tongue.
835. Dicit ergo primo: dixi quod donum linguarum sine dono prophetiae non valet, et ideo, quia interpretari est actus prophetiae, quae est excellentior illi, qui loquitur lingua, ignota vel extranea vel aliqua mysteria occulta, oret, scilicet Deum, ut interpretetur, id est, ut interpretandi gratia detur sibi. Col. IV, 3: orantes ut Deus aperiat ostium.
835. First, therefore, he says: I have said that the gift of tongues without the gift of prophecy has no value, because interpretation is an act of prophecy, which is more excellent than he who speaks by a tongue. One who speaks in a tongue, unknown or foreign, certain hidden mysteries, should pray, namely, to God, that he may interpret, i.e., that the grace to interpret be given him: praying that God may open to us a door (Col 4:3).
Glossa aliter exponit oret. Orare enim dicitur dupliciter, scilicet vel deprecari Deum vel persuadere, quasi dicat qui loquitur lingua, oret, id est ita persuadeat ut interpretetur. Et sic accipit orare hic Glossa per totum capitulum. Sed non est haec intentio apostoli, sed pro deprecatione ad Deum.
A Gloss exposits pray differently. For ‘to pray’ is said to be twofold, namely either to beseech God or to prevail upon him; as if he says: he who speaks by a tongue, let him pray, i.e., let him prevail upon God, that he may interpret. And so the Gloss understands ‘to pray’ here for the whole chapter. But this is not the meaning of the Apostle, but rather it is ‘to beseech God.’
836. Nam si orem, et cetera. Hic ostendit quod in orando plus valet prophetia, quam donum linguarum, et hoc dupliciter.
836. For if I pray in a tongue. Here he shows that in praying, prophecy is more valuable than the gift of tongues in two ways:
Primo, ratione sumpta ex parte ipsius orantis;
first, with a reason based on the one praying;
secundo, ratione sumpta ex parte audientis, ibi caeterum, si benedixeris, et cetera.
second, on the one hearing, at else, if you shall bless with the spirit.
Circa primum duo facit.
In regard to the first he does two things:
Primo ponit rationem ad propositum ostendendum;
first, he presents a reason showing the truth of his proposition;
secundo removet obiectionem, ibi quid ergo, et cetera.
second, he removes an objection, at what is it then?
837. Circa primum sciendum est quod duplex est oratio. Una est privata, quando scilicet quis orat in seipso et pro se; alia publica, quando quis orat coram populo et pro aliis: et in utraque contingit uti et dono linguarum et dono prophetiae. Et ideo vult ostendere quod in utraque plus valet donum prophetiae, quam donum linguarum.
837. In regard to the first it should be noted that prayer is of two kinds: one is private, namely, when one prays in himself and for himself; the other is public, when one prays before the people and for others. In both cases one can use the gift of tongues and the gift of prophecy. Hence he wants to show that in both cases the gift of prophecy is more valuable than the gift of tongues.
Et primo in oratione privata, dicens, quod si sit aliquis idiota, qui faciat orationem suam, dicens psalmum, vel Pater noster, et non intelligat ea quae dicit, iste orat lingua, et non refert utrum oret verbis sibi a Spiritu Sancto concessis, sive verbis aliorum; et si sit alius qui orat, et intelligit quae dicit, hic quidem orat et prophetat. Constat quod plus lucratur qui orat et intelligit, quam qui tantum lingua orat, qui scilicet non intelligit quae dicit. Nam ille qui intelligit, reficitur et quantum ad intellectum et quantum ad affectum; sed mens eius, qui non intelligit, est sine fructu refectionis. Unde et cum melius sit refici quantum ad affectum et intellectum, quam quantum ad affectum solum, constat quod in oratione plus valet prophetiae donum quam solum donum linguarum.
First, in private prayer, if an outsider says his own prayer, saying a psalm or the Our Father and he does not understand what he says, he prays with the tongue and it does not concern him whether he is praying with words granted him by the Holy Spirit or with someone else’s words: and if another prays and understands what he is saying, he, indeed, both prays and prophesies. It is evident that one who prays and understands accomplishes more than one who prays only in a tongue, namely, who does not understand what he is saying. For the one who understands is refreshed both in intellect and affections, but the mind of one who does not understand receives no fruit of refreshment. Hence, since it is better to be refreshed in mind and affections than in affections only, it is obvious that in prayer the gift of prophecy is more valuable than the gift of tongues.
838. Et hoc est quod dicit: dico quod oret, ut interpretetur, nam si orem lingua, id est orando utor dono linguarum, ita quod proferam aliqua quae non intelligo; tunc Spiritus meus, id est Spiritus Sanctus mihi datus, orat, qui inclinat et movet me ad orandum. Et nihilominus mereor in ipsa oratione, quia hoc ipsum, quod moveor a Spiritu Sancto, est mihi meritum. Rom. VIII, 26: nam quid oremus, sicut oportet, nescimus, sed ipse Spiritus Sanctus postulare nos facit.
838. And this is what he says: I say that let him pray that he may interpret, for if I pray in a tongue, i.e., use the gift of tongues in praying, so that I utter what I do not understand; then my Spirit, i.e., the Holy Spirit given to me, prays, who inclines and moves me to pray. Nevertheless, I merit in that prayer, because the very fact that I am moved by the Holy Spirit is merit for me: we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself makes us ask (Rom 8:26).
Vel spiritus meus, id est ratio mea, orat, id est dictat mihi quod ego loquar ea quae ad bonum sunt, sive verbis propriis sive aliorum sanctorum.
Or my spirit, i.e., my reason, prays, i.e., tells me that I should ask for things which are good, either in my own words or those of other saints.
Vel spiritus meus, id est virtus imaginativa, orat, inquantum voces seu similitudines corporalium sunt tantum in imaginatione absque hoc quod intelligantur ab intellectu; et ideo subdit: mens autem mea, id est intellectus meus, sine fructu est, quia non intelligit.
Or my spirit, i.e., the imagination, prays in the sense that words of the likenesses of bodily things are only in the imagination without being understood by the intellect. Therefore, he adds: but my mind, i.e., my intellect, is without fruit, because it does not understand.
Et ideo melius est in oratione prophetia seu interpretatio, quam donum linguarum.
Therefore, prophecy or interpretation is better in prayer than is the gift of tongues.
839. Sed numquid quandocumque quis orat, et non intelligit quae dicit, sit sine fructu orationis?
839. But is it true that whenever anyone prays and does not understand what he is saying, he obtains no fruit?
Dicendum quod duplex est fructus orationis. Unus fructus est meritum quod homini provenit; alius fructus est spiritualis consolatio et devotio concepta ex oratione. Et quantum ad fructum devotionis spiritualis privatur qui non attendit ad ea quae orat, seu non intelligit; sed quantum ad fructum meriti, non est dicendum quod privetur: quia sic multae orationes essent sine merito, cum vix unum Pater noster potest homo dicere, quin mens ad alia feratur.
The answer is that the fruit of prayer is twofold: one fruit is the merit the person obtains; the other fruit is the spiritual consolation and devotion produced by the prayer. In regard to the fruit of spiritual devotion, one is deprived of it, if he does not attend to what he is praying, or does not understand; but in regard to the fruit of merit, one is not necessarily deprived of it. For many prayers would be without merit, since a man can scarcely say the Our Father without his mind wandering to other things.
Et ideo dicendum est quod quando orans aliquando divertit ab his quae dicit, seu quando quis in uno opere meritorio non continue cogitat in quolibet actu, quod facit hoc propter Deum, non perdit rationem meriti. Cuius ratio est, quia in omnibus actibus meritoriis, qui ordinantur ad finem rectum, non requiritur quod intentio agentis coniungatur fini, secundum quemlibet actum: sed vis prima, quae movet intentionem, manet in toto opere, etiam si aliquando in aliquo particulari divertat; et hic prima vis facit totum opus meritorium, nisi interrumpatur per contrariam affectionem, quae divertat a fine praedicto ad finem contrarium.
Therefore, it must be said that when the one praying is sometimes diverted from what he is saying, or when a person engaged in one meritorious work does not continually think at each step that he is doing this for God, he does not lose the reason for merit. The reason for this is that in all meritorious acts ordained to the right end, it is not required that the intention of the performer be united to the end in every act: but the first influence, which moves the intention, remains in the entire work, even if in some particular it be distracted; and this first influence makes the entire work meritorious, unless it is interrupted by a contrary affection which turns one from the original and to a contrary end.
840. Sed sciendum est quod triplex est attentio. Una est ad verba quae homo dicit: et haec aliquando nocet, inquantum impedit devotionem; alia est ad sensum verborum, et haec nocet, non tamen est multum nociva; tertia est ad finem, et haec est melior et quasi necessaria.
840. But it should be noted that attention is threefold: one is to the words the man is saying: and this is harmful sometimes, inasmuch as it impedes devotion; another is to the sense of the words, and this is harmful, but not very much; the third is to the end, and this is better and, as it were, necessary.
Tamen id quod dicit apostolus mens est sine fructu, intelligitur de fructu refectionis.
Nevertheless, when the Apostle says my mind is without fruit, it is understood of the fruit of refreshment.
841. Quid ergo est, et cetera. Quia posset aliquis dicere: ex quo orare lingua est sine fructu mentis, sed tamen spiritus orat, numquid ergo non est orandum spiritu?
841. What is it then? Because someone could say: inasmuch as prayer in a tongue is without fruit to the mind, but the spirit prays, should one then not pray in the spirit?
Ideo Apostolus hoc removet dicens, quod utroque modo orandum est, et spiritu et mente: quia homo debet servire Deo de omnibus quae habet a Deo; sed a Deo habet spiritum et mentem, et ideo debet de utroque orare. Eccli. XLVII, 10: de omni corde suo laudabit Dominum, et cetera. Et ideo dicit orabo spiritu, orabo et mente: psallam spiritu, et cetera.
Therefore, the Apostle answer this objection, saying that one should pray in both ways, in the spirit and in the mind; because man should serve God with all the things he has from God. But from God he has spirit and mind; therefore, he should pray with both: with all his heart he will praise God (Sir 47:8). Therefore, he says: I will pray with the spirit, I will pray also with the mind; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing also with the mind.
Et sic dicit orabo et psallam; quia oratio, vel est ad deprecandum Deum et sic dicit orabo, vel laudandum et sic dicit psallam. De istis duobus Iac. V, 13: tristatur quis in vobis? Oret aequo animo, et psallat. Ps. IX, v. 12: psallite Domino, et cetera.
And so he says that he will pray and sing; because prayer is the beseeching of God, and so he says, I will pray, or it is praising him, and so he says I will sing. Concerning these two it is said: is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing (Jas 6:13). Sing praises to the Lord (Ps 9:11).