The Way I Say It When I Don’t Know How

For so long, I was attempting to write about my experience with speaking in tongues. But my words always fall short. The words I can create cannot describe what I experienced. I thought, if I could just also write in tongues. But no. So almost a year has already passed, and I still can’t find the right words to describe that miracle on my own. Finally, I found it in the words of one of my favorite authors, Paulo Coelho. So with his words, I am describing my experience.

They gave me the courage to ask the Holy Spirit for the strength to overcome my fear. Try, I said to myself. All you have to do is open your mouth and have the courage to say things you don’t understand. Try! I prayed that this night—the night following a day that had been so long that I couldn’t even remember how it had begun—would be an epiphany. A new beginning for me. God must have heard me. The words began to come more easily—and little by little they lost their everyday meanings. My embarrassment diminished, my confidence grew, and the words began to flow freely. Although I understood nothing of what I was saying, it all made sense to my soul. Simply having the courage to say senseless things made me euphoric. I was free, with no need to seek or to give explanations for what I was doing. This freedom lifted me to the heavens—where a greater love, one that forgives everything and never allows you to feel abandoned, once again enveloped me. It feels as if my faith is coming back, I thought, surprised at the miracles that love can perform. I sensed that the Virgin was holding me in her lap, covering me and warming me with her mantle. The strange words flew more rapidly from my lips. Without realizing it, I began to cry. Joy flooded my heart—a joy that overpowered my fears and was stronger than my attempts to control every second of my life. I realized that my tears were a gift; at school, the sisters had taught me that the saints wept with ecstasy. I opened my eyes, gazed at the darkness of the heavens, and felt my tears blending with the raindrops. The earth was alive and the drops from above brought the miracles of heaven with them. We were all a part of that same miracle.*

It takes humility and courage to speak in tongues. And the experience is a miracle. The joy I felt at that time I started speaking in tongues cannot be contained that even after the session, I was still crying. When I was asked to share about my experience, all I said was that “I am happy.” and couldn’t even properly say it. I just hoped that the boundless joy I felt was evident in the tears flowing nonstop from my eyes. I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude that the Holy Spirit has entrusted me a gift so precious, to communicate with God directly.

When I don’t know what to do, I praise Him. But when I don’t know how to say it, I let my soul do it and praise in tongues.

Speaking in tongues revolutionized my way of prayer. Because when I don’t know how to say my prayers, when my mind refuses to form the words to describe what I feel and what I desire, I say it in tongues. I wouldn’t understand the words, but I know my soul, through the Holy Spirit, is talking directly to God. My soul bared before the Lord, speaking a language my mind couldn’t understand. My soul praising in tongues without my mind’s filters, without biases, without eloquence. Just raw and honest soul to God conversation. And that’s a new dimension of my personal relationship with God. That His Spirit in me enabling me to talk to Him honestly and wholeheartedly in His own language. That when I don’t know what to do, I praise Him. But when I don’t know how to say it, I let my soul do it and praise in tongues.

*This is Pilar’s experience during the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in Paulo Coelho’s book, By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept.