I recall 2 or 3 instances during the LSS shepherding season when I would fall asleep at night and then dream of having some sort of an ecstatic encounter with the Lord. I would wake up with shock and incredulity to the sound and feel of babbling coming from my mouth. The moment my mind took over, the babble disappeared. I recall driving to work one morning while singing praise songs, and then involuntarily babbling. It lasted only briefly, for I instinctively suppressed it with my mind and with my hand over my mouth.
A couple of weeks before our LSS weekend, I attended an annual industry convention in Las Vegas. After dinner on my first night in town, I declined my colleagues’ invitation to join them in gambling and watching shows. I knew what would happen if I went with them. Instead, I returned to my hotel room where I read the Bible and prayed. While I was praying, I felt a pleasant warmness surge through my body and I began babbling. It was like my previous babbling experiences, but this time, I did not stifle it. I allowed it to continue. It was on this night, in the city of sin no less, when the gift of tongues was fully released in me.
As we were unable to secure a Catholic Church as venue for the LSS, we held it in the basement of a Methodist Church in Kenilworth. We were blessed with sharers, auxiliaries and praise ministry volunteers from our sister communities in Manila and Toronto. During the baptism of the Spirit that Saturday night, my gift of tongues freely expressed itself when the priest laid his hand on me. Along with it, I felt a new, initially eerie sensation. It felt like a marble rolling around inside a vein on my left temple. It was followed by a similar sensation on my right temple. Then I experienced the sensation simultaneously on both temples. When the “baptism” ended, the sensation disappeared. It would return every now and then during prayer for several years. I do not know if that sensation can be associated with a spiritual gift. Whatever it was, I believed that it was for good.
A month or so later, some brothers and sisters from the community gathered for Easter vigil at our home. We stayed in the living room and closed its four windows shut, to avoid waking up the neighbors with our singing. At midnight, after proclaiming the Easter vigil Scripture readings and while praising God in songs, a strong wind buffeted the room’s opposite side windows simultaneously. The wind came from the east and the west, and it shook the windows vigorously.
When this happened, we looked at each other with surprise. That surprise quickly changed to understanding. Without exchanging words or missing a beat, we continued our worship songs, but this time, with greater exultation and gusto, for we knew that the Spirit of the Lord had honored us with His visit.
“When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly, there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were.” Acts 2:1-2