Sometimes…while prayer remains for its part, the intellect is taken away from it as if into heaven, and tears fall like fountains of waters, involuntarily soaking the whole face. All this time such a person is serene, still and filled with a wonder-filled vision. Very often he will not be allowed even to pray: this in truth is the state of cessation above prayer when he remains continually in amazement at God’s work of creation – like people who are crazed by wine, for this is ‘the wine which causes the person’s heart to rejoice’…. Blessed is the person who has entered this door in the experience of his own soul, for all the power of ink, letters and phrases is too feeble to indicate the delight of this mystery.
Quoted by Bp. Hilarion Alfeyev in The Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian
One of St. Isaac’s favorite phrases is “sober inebriation.” It is much like the common phrase “joyful sorrow.” Both bear the inner contradiction that shares something of the character of the God Who is Beyond Knowing actually making Himself known. We cannot have such knowledge and not somehow be raised to heights of sober inebriation and joyful sorrow.
Most Sweetest Jesus, have mercy!