Blood of Christ, Inebriate Me

I begin my prayer time every morning with two prayers. One, as I’ve mentioned before, is St. Ignatius’ Suscipe. The other is the Anima Christi, the third petition of which is “Blood of Christ, inebriate me” (“Sanguis Christi, inebria me,” for those who prefer the Latin).

Early after my conversion back to Catholicism, a Franciscan friend of mine gave me a book by Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C., which is an extended commentary on the Anima Christi prayer. I was very moved by the book when I first read it (I used it as the basis for my daily prayer for a period of several weeks) and so I go back to it now and again. In her chapter on this third petition she writes:

[T]his inebriation is not of the senses. It may have nothing whatsoever to do with emotional response or lack of response. It means that the spirit is enlivened, and the body exhilirated, not by what they feel but by what they can do. We see something of this in the Acts of the Apostles when, on the first Pentecost morning, the disciples were speaking with such enlivenment as no one had seen in them before. They were addressing the crowds with an exhiliration that was completely new and far beyond their own powers and ordinary way of acting. The Pentecostal apostles were obviously exceeding their own potential. …They were inebriated with the blood of Christ, whose effects the Holy Spirit was at that moment bringing to climactic action. And whenever we are enabled by the Holy Spirit to exceed ourselves, to surpass our natural capabilities, we are experiencing in our measure and expressing within our possibilities the inebriation that is the effect of the blood of Christ outpoured.

I read these words and look up at the words on the plaque that hangs by the door to my study: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. As Mother Mary Francis writes, “We are enabled to do the impossible when we are inebriated with the blood of Christ.” And so I pray every morning, Blood of Christ, inebriate me.