Sober Drunkenness

Lenten Reflections 2016

If entry into the full joy of the Lord (Mt 25:21), is not possible so long as we are in the body and far from the Lord (2 Cor 5:6), let us at least taste how sweet is the Lord (Ps 33[34]:9) because he has given us the Spirit as a pledge (2 Cor 1:22; 5:5) and in him we taste his sweetness. And let us desire the very source of life, where in sober drunkenness we will be flooded and watered like a tree that is planted near a course of water and bears fruit at the right time and whose leaves do not fall (Ps 1:3). For the Holy Spirit says, “The sons of men will find hope in the shadow of your wings; they will become drunk by the abundance of your house and you will give them to drink from a torrent of your delight. For with you is the source of life (Ps 35[36]: 9-10). Such drunkenness does not destroy the mind, but it does seize and carry it above and makes it forget earthly things. We are able already to say with total affection: “As the deer longs for fountains of water, so my soul longs for you, O God” (Ps 41[42]: 2). (Augustine, De agone christiano, IX, 10; PL 40, 296)

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

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