“Your love is better than wine. (…) You will be our joy and our gladness. We shall praise your love more than wine; how right it is to love you!” (Ct 1:2b.4).
Incomparable and overwhelming is the love of God. All forms of true love are a gift of the Father’s goodness; a participation in His being, because “God is charity: and he that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in him” (1 Jn 4:16).
Since wine, “which cheers the heart of man” (Ps 104:15), was held in such high esteem among the People of God, its sweetness and gentleness are used as an example to make people understand that the love of God is even sweeter, that it penetrates more gently into the heart, that it awakens even more delight and rejoicing in our soul.
Indeed, our soul is so thirsty: “As the hart panteth after the fountains of water; so my soul panteth after thee, O God” (Ps 41:1).
It is “as a land parched” (Ps 63:1) when it does not receive divine nourishment, when it is deprived of the water of life that flows from the Throne of God (cf. Rev 22:1), when the living Word of the Lord does not nourish it and the Blood of Christ does not water it.
How the soul falls into the hands of bandits when it does not come to know the love of our Father! How far it is from its home! Then neither can sweet wine console it nor gladden its heart, for, if they do not lead us to give thanks to the Creator for His gifts, earthly joys are no more than pleasant things, which cannot satiate the soul and leave it empty.
“You will be our joy and our gladness. We shall praise your love more than wine.”
Here the way is pointed out to us and the hierarchy of values is reestablished. If we abide by it, each thing will get its rightful place.
Then we will be able to delight unreservedly in the sweetness of God’s love, and in the sweetness of wine only to the extent that it cheers the heart, but does not confuse it.