CMP Review 2023-02-12

CMP Review 2023-02-12

To be human is to be thirsty. Our bodies cannot live without water, but our souls are thirsty too. But what exactly will quench our thirst?

Catherine Benincasa grew up before the days of running water. As a little girl she would run down a path near her home to a fountain called Fonte Branda. The waters flowed from a hillside spring and were collected in a pool, the walls of which were lower at certain points to let out the overflow. From one of these points she would fill her jug and drink from it. And then the jug would be empty again.

Charlotte Mason noticed the many kinds of jugs that we drink from. There is money, there is pleasure, there is power, and there is lust. And there is love. But even there we do not realize that a man cannot “live by draining another’s cup to allay his thirst.”

Catherine Benincasa grew up and came to know Jesus. She tried to explain about Him, and she remembered the fountain called Fonte Branda. “The blessed Christ is the one who invites us to the living water of grace,” she wrote. “He said as much when he cried out in the temple, ‘Let whoever is thirsty come to me and drink, because I am the fountain of living water.’ He truly is a fountain. For just as a fountain holds the water and lets it spill out over the wall that surrounds it, so does this gentle loving Word, clothed in our humanity, do.

“His humanity was a wall that held within itself the fire of the eternal Godhead which was joined with that same humanity. And the fire of divine charity spilled out through the opened-up wall, Christ crucified. His precious wounds poured out blood mixed with fire, because it was by the fire of love that his blood was shed. From this fountain we draw the water of grace, since it was not merely through his humanity but by the power of the Godhead that human sin was washed away and we were restored to grace.”

Then Catherine added a qualifier. “He says, however, ‘Let whoever is thirsty come to me and drink.’ He doesn’t invite those who have no thirst.” Charlotte Mason’s poetic reflection on these words of Christ penetrates the heart and awakens our thirst. And so we come to the fountain, where the fire of divine charity spills out through the opened-up wall. Read or hear the poem here.