These are not drunk, as you suppose (Acts 2:15), Peter preaching to the crowd after the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. We tend to overlook Peter's opening words to the crowd that first Pentecost morning, to our own peril. His denial of drunkenness in the wake of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit should stop us in our tracks. What was going on here? How did the apostles experience the Holy Spirit? What was he teaching them? How was he empowering them? What does this scene in the streets of Jerusalem mean for us today? Father Raniero Cantalamessa offers pastoral advice and leads the reader through passages of Scripture and the Fathers of the Church to remind us of the incalculable power of the Spirit available to us. This spiritual "intoxication" is an infilling through the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and the action of God that purifies us of sin, renews the heart and enlightens the mind. As St. Augustine said of the Spirit, "He found you empty and he filled you. I like this kind of intoxication. The Spirit of God is both drink and light."
Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap., has been the papal preacher to Pope John Paul II’s pontifical household since 1980. He is a former professor of history of early Christianity, head of the department of religious studies at the Catholic University in Milan, member of the International Theological Commission and author of numerous books, including Loving the Church. He lives in Rome.