You can tell I'm running out of stuff to blog on when...
I start to post homework assignments... Yes sorry, but if you are quite bored maybe you will enjoy reading this essay of mine about Dante's Purgatorio. Here it is below:
Dante’s Insights Into Love and Sin
Dante Alighieri follows his Inferno from the Divine Comedy with The Purgatorio. This second installment brings about some very strong insights into the human person and soul just as the Inferno did. As Dante has now reached closer to Heaven, Purgatory, we are able to glimpse at the root causes of the vices, which if continued would’ve led to the souls’ damnation as witnessed in the Inferno. In Purgatory the souls make reparation for their sins which are now seen clearly as evil and not as the superficial beauty they deceptively held while on earth. It seems that all of the sins can be placed in one of three categories: corrupt love, not enough love, or impure love.
The lowest three levels of Purgatory contain those souls who need purifying from sins caused by corrupt forms of love. The first of these levels holds the prideful. The vice of pride, according to Christian Tradition, is ultimately the source of all sin. Pride is a corrupt form of love as it places love of oneself or of one’s own accomplishments over love of God and neighbor. This distorted love leads many to deceive themselves of their own greatness and to find their value in relation with themselves or their power and not in relationship with God. In reparation for this sin the guilty souls have to carry an enormous boulder on their shoulders. The boulder is made in size according to the amount of pride they had while on earth. The second level contains those souls who were guilty of the sin of envy. Envy is a corrupt form of love as it possesses only love for oneself and one’s own wellbeing, and has no desire that others should be well off. Instead of being envious of other people, one should be thankful and joyful that they are blessed as this is what true love is. In punishment, the envious souls have their eyes wired shut. In their lives on earth they used their eyes to lead them into sin, and so now they must suffer blindness in reparation. The final level within the “corrupt love” category is for the wrathful. The wrathful have given into so much anger that they are blind to reason and to love. Although Jesus commands us to love our neighbor and to do unto others as we would have them to do unto us, the soul filled with wrath is self-consumed and refuses to reason through love or Christian reasoning. In penance for their sin, these souls are subjected to living in a smoky environment which is blinding. Just as these souls were filled with wrath which blinded them from love and reason, they now suffer from blindness.
The second category in Purgatory is for the souls who did not possess enough love. There is only one level in this category, and it is for the purification of the slothful. The slothful have not committed something wrong, rather they have omitted from doing what is right. They have chosen to do what is most easy and not to do what is right (even though they have not committed something wrong). Their irresponsibility and lack of love for God and neighbor is now punished in Purgatory through the souls having to run quickly and constantly. Although Dante is normally able to talk to the different souls at the various places in Purgatory, the souls here have no time to stop and chat. Only one shade takes advantage of an opportunity by shouting as he passes by. In life they wasted their time, and so now in Purgatory they must waste no time in their purification.
The final category in Purgatory is for those souls whose love was impure. This category is divided into three levels. The first of these levels is for the souls guilty of the sin of avarice. The souls who have given into this vice that is caused from impure love have either hoarded possessions or have seriously wasted their possessions without reason . Although the desire for those things which sustain man (i.e. clothing, shelter, enough money) are completely fine and natural, the inordinate love of these things is wrong and “impure” as it impedes others from having what is needed and it replaces love for God. The souls who have sinned in this way are punished in Purgatory through possessing nothing whatsoever and being crowded together so as to not even possess their own space. The next level is for the gluttonous. These souls, have placed a love of their appetites and tastes above reason and natural law, and thus they are filled with an immoderate and impure love for what is carnal. They have placed their love of food above their love of God, their neighbor, and themselves. These souls now suffer to eat no food and to have their bodies in a wretched decaying state with their mouths as a gaping wound. The final level in Purgatory is for the souls who have committed sins of lust. Through lust these souls have distorted natural and appropriate love of neighbor by worshiping sensual pleasures and rejecting true charity. Lust is a great perversion of love as it only is concerned with itself and not for anyone or anything else. These lustful souls now must endure a burning cleansing fire which will not consume them, but which continually inflicts it’s burning painful sensation.
Dante’s Purgatorio has given us magnificent insights into the human soul and how love can be expressed. His idea that all sin is derived from corrupt, impure, or lack of love is really quite astounding. When we look closely at it, it seems that Dante really has visited Purgatory and come back to share with us his amazing wisdom. Perhaps this is why Jesus prayed to His Heavenly Father: “I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.” (John 17:26)