The Angel's Share

Occasionally I will have a sip of something when I read scripture, either coffee in the morning or a beer in the evening, but often not grappa.  I felt inclined to have that digestivo, however, when I read this line from the prophet Isaiah: "Thus says the Lord: When the juice is pressed from grapes, men say 'Do not discard them, for there is still good in them'; Thus will I do with my servants; I will not discard them all" (Isaiah 65:8).

Grappa is basically liquor derived from the leftovers of wine.  The smashed grapes, skins, stems, pulp and seeds are distilled to produce this clear liquid that is very potent.  It was originally a peasant drink, but now one can find this on dinner tables at the fanciest Italian restaurants.  The discard has become the gold. 

We are all wounded creatures, and our sins stem from our wounds.  This woundedness does not make us ugly in God's sight, but just the opposite: precious (cf. Isaiah 43:4).  For when we are wounded, we have a hole in our heart that only God can fill.  Our pain is the opportunity for union with God. 

During the distilling process of bourbon, because of the porous nature of the wood of which the barrels are made, part of the liquor evaporates in the barrel. This is called "the Angel's share."  Our imperfections and weaknesses might seem a waste to us, like that lost whisky, but they make us delectable to God.  Perhaps that is why Saint Faustina note in her diary, "If the angels were capable of envy, they would envy us for two things: one is receiving Holy Communion and the other is suffering."


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