July 26, 2012

In Illo Tempore

One of the things I enjoy about this language-learning business is the chance to learn--as we were told people did in the olden days--with the language of the Sacred Scriptures. This is to say that in addition to the classes, there is also the daily liturgical environment forming one's learning.

In the text we were working from in class the other day the group stumbled on the word la folla. It turned out that I was the only student who knew the word, because I had heard it several times in the gospel readings at Mass: Gesù disse alle folle..., "Jesus said to the crowds..."

It reminded me of something from when we were at Spanish language school in Costa Rica. When we had arrived at the lessons on using properly the different past tenses, one of the exercises was to tell stories from our past. Without thinking about it, we would begin, "en aquellos días...," which is the usual Spanish way of rendering the Biblical opener that we know in English as in those days..., as in in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus..., famously on Christmas eve.

Well, the teachers would find this very amusing, to hear us speaking in what they heard as a biblical style. But we didn't mean to be pompous or even religious; it was just that we had heard these phrases, had begun to understand what they indicated in the simplest of senses, and had used them because they had remained in our minds.

And for such, as a form of prayer that the Holy Spirit works in his students, I'm grateful today.

1 comment:

Barb, ofs said...

Having gone through the process of learning AND teaching those pesky Spanish past tenses, I love this!