To make moonshine, you need to hike out far into the woods. Way out in the woods. Far enough out in the boondocks that only the bears and squirrels know where you are. You then need to find water cold enough to cause condensation on the outside of a mason jar.
Once you spot has been found you need to hike back through briar patches full of snakes and other insects to fetch all the necessary equipment. You then haul out bags full of copper tubing and bags full of clay. Trip after trip you the required items start to arrive on site. Sweat drips from your brow and mosquitos buzz around your head. You’ve spent the entire morning working and the real work hasn’t even begun.
Next you have to dig the pit for the fire and surround the large copper kettle with the bags of clay you hauled out. Copper tubing is carefully placed inside barrels and as a bunch of pipes are sweated together, the contraption starts to take shape. It is a monstrosity of backwoods engineering one worthy of a PHD from Hillbilly U.
Barrels containing fermenting sugar, corn, and water make their way to the site. A brave soul from the assembled opens the lid, reaches inside the wooden barrel and takes a sip of the liquid within. “Yep it’s plenty bitter.” the man says. “Light the fires.”
The bitter substance is loaded into the copper pot and heated to boiling. The steam from the boiling pot makes its way through the copper tubing and when it hits the cold water from the nearby stream, condenses and comes out the end of the barrel distilled. 180 proof.
Our sins are like the barrels full of bitter liquid. We carry them around everywhere in our daily lives. Whether we are angry at God for financial problems or jealous of others all of our sins add to the bitterness in our soul. This bitterness serves as a barrier between ourselves and God. It insulates us from becoming what God wants us to be.
We need to learn how to distill our will from that of God. To shed all the distractions and barriers sin places in our lives. The distillation process isn’t an easy one. It is work and hard work. The process can be full of pain, hurt, lament and sorrow. However, in the end it is through the cleansing waters bestowed upon us at our baptism that God calls us back to Him.
This Lenten season be willing to be distilled back to what God desires us to be. Perform the penance placed before you and in the end be willing to be filled with the Holy Spirit.