Ascensiontide Reflections of St Gregory, day 2

Vatican Codex
Continuing the series of readings for the old Octave of the Ascension:

And these signs shall follow them that believe In My Name they shall cast out devils they shall speak with new tongues they shall take up serpents and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." My brethren, these signs do not follow us. Do we, then, not believe Nay. The truth is, these things were needful when the Church was young. That she might grow by the increase of the faithful, she needed to be nourished with miracles. Even so we, when we plant a young tree, continually water and tend it till we see that it hath taken firm root in the earth but when once it hath taken firm root, it can grow of itself. Hence, Paul saith of tongues " Tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not." 

We have a deeper matter of thought touching these signs and mighty works. It is the work of the holy Church to do every day spiritually that which the Apostles then did carnally. When her Priests, armed with the power of exorcism, lay their hands upon believers, and command evil spirits to dwell no longer in their souls, what is it they do but cast out devils. When Christ's faithful people themselves give up the language of their old life, and speak the wonderful works of God, the glory and power of their Maker, telling of them with all their strength, what is it they do then but speak with new tongues. When either the one or the other doth by his exhortation charm the wickedness out of his neighbour's heart, what is it he doth but take up serpents.

When they hear the voice of temptation inviting to deadly sin, but are not drawn thereby to work iniquity, do they not then drink a deadly thing, and it doth not hurt them. As often as they see their neighbour fainting in well-doing, and run to help him with all their might, so that their example braceth the feeble life of the waverer, what do they but lay hands on the sick and they recover And indeed, such miracles as these are the greatest miracles, which are spiritual the greatest, for they bring health, not to the dying body, but to the immortal soul.

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