St Augustine said: “Our life is God’s gift to us; that which we make of it is our gift to God”. Today we celebrate the Day for Life. I have been reflecting on how we can give the best of ourselves to God by cooperating with His grace. It is by speaking the language of the Spirit. This was beautifully captured by St Anthony of Padua: “The man who is filled with the Holy Spirit speaks in different languages. These different languages are different ways of witnessing to Christ, such as humility, poverty, patience & obedience; we speak in those languages when we reveal in ourselves these virtues to others. Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach & your actions speak. We are full of words but empty of actions, & therefore are cursed by the Lord, who himself cursed the fig tree when he found no fruit but only leaves. Gregory says: “A law is laid upon the preacher to practice what he preaches.” It is useless for a man to flaunt his knowledge of the law if he undermines its teaching by his actions.

The apostles spoke as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech. Happy the man whose words issue from the Holy Spirit & not from himself! Some men speak as their character dictates, but steal the words of others & present them as their own, claiming credit. The Lord refers to such men & others like them in Jeremiah: So, then, I have a quarrel with the prophets that steal my words from each other. I have a quarrel with the prophets, who have only to move their tongues to utter oracles. I have a quarrel with the prophets who make prophecies out of lying dreams, who recount them & lead my people astray with their lies & their pretensions. I certainly never sent them or commissioned them, & they serve no good purpose for this people, says the Lord.

We should speak, then, as the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of speech. Our humble & sincere request to the Spirit for ourselves should be that we may bring the day of Pentecost to fulfilment, insofar as he infuses us with his grace, by using our bodily senses in a perfect manner and by keeping the commandments. Likewise we shall request that we may be filled with a keen sense of sorrow and with fiery tongues for confessing the faith, so that our deserved reward may be to stand in the blazing splendour of the saints and to look upon the triune God.”
As we celebrate the Day for Life today, may we be reinvigorated by the words of this great saint as we try to enhance our lives and those of our neighbours through Christ Our Lord.