Blog Archives

Canto 33: An Open Door to Paradise

By Fr. Joe McCaffrey The story of Canto 33 is hard to summarize. There is so much detail that a summary threatens to be longer than the text. A simple summary would be that Beatrice and Dante converse, a one-sided conversation

Posted in Purgatorio

Canto 32: Fixing our Gaze on the Mercy of Christ

By Lucy Bennett We enter Canto 32 as Dante is gazing in rapture upon his beloved Beatrice: “My eyes were so insistent, so intent on finding satisfaction for their ten year thirst that every other sense was spent” [lines 1-4].

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Canto 31: Christ Revealed

By Sebastian Mahfood Beatrice, having completed her explanation to the angel choir, turns back to Dante and forces him to confess his sin of abandoning her (that is, divine revelation) for the pursuit of philosophy unaided by divine light. Dante

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Canto 30: Repentance Leads to Freedom

By David Wallace The heavenly procession which began its journey in Canto 29 now comes to a halt in Canto 30. The sevenfold light leading the procession reminds us of the seven golden lampstands as well as the “seven torches of

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Canto 29: Salvation History and Our Own History of Salvation

By Colleen Trevisani “Blessed is the one whose fault is removed, whose sin is forgiven.” Reflecting upon Dante the poet’s use of the first verse of Psalm 32 in Canto 29 is a great way to connect the Purgatorio and

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Canto 28: Memory and Destiny

By Peter Jesserer Smith Every person needs to know where they come from in order to know where they are going. Memory—particularly the memory of our story and the story of our family, community, and people group—shapes our own identity,

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Canto 27: Temperance as the Final Purification

By Jonathon Schott Continuing on through the Terrace of Lust, in this Canto, Dante and his traveling companions encounter an angel, the angel of chaste living, who sings to them beautifully, “blessed are the pure of heart.” Then, flames shoot

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Canto 26: To Be Human Is To Love

By Jodi Schott In today’s culture of instant gratification, people often equate sexual desire with a need to immediately express that desire. However, we must say to this culture: “Not so fast!” Sexual desire and its expression are not always

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Canto 25: Our Pain is Our Solace

By Ellen Reilander Canto 25 begins with our little group of three travelers climbing, single file, up the narrow gap and flight of stairs to the final terrace of the Mountain of Purgatory. This terrace, the terrace of the Lustful,

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Canto 24: Creation as a Sacramental

By Joel Morehouse Appetite and desire are strange things. Like an emotion, which “moves us out” from mental stasis to activity, the appetite seeks satisfaction. A good appetite is a sign of health, but like so many other aspects of

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Canto 23: The Mercy of God and the Mercy of Others

By Fr. Joe McCaffrey Dante begins this canto on gluttony searching for the voice which has told him of those who have been satisfied by fasting, such as John the Baptist with his sparse diet of locusts and honey. But

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Canto 22: God Uses All to Bring Us Closer

By Shannon Loughlin Newly freed from his trials in purgatory, the Roman poet Statius joins Dante and Virgil in canto 22 on their climb up the mountain. It is in this canto that we hear the fullness of Virgil’s influence

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Canto 21: Living Water

By Fr. George Heyman Still plagued by questions as Canto 20 ends Dante struggles to understand several things as Canto 21 opens. Why did the earth quake? [20.127] What was the meaning of the acclamation, “Glory to God in the

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Canto 20: Beginning to Purge the Sins of the She-Wolf

By Sebastian Mahfood In Canto 20 of the Purgatorio, we find that Dante leaves Pope Adrian V to finish his purgation in peace though Dante is still thirsty for more conversation from him. Given the rather significant population of souls

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Canto 19: Hope to Press Forward

By Fr. Paul Tomasso It might be natural to try to forget that one is in Purgatory but this is impossible in Canto 19 because the very opening verses are gray and mysterious with references to the heatless light of

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Canto 18: Moving Promptly Toward the Good

By Fr. Peter Mottola As he continues his journey up the mountain of Purgatory, Dante encounters a large group of the slothful. These souls, who in life were slow to pursue what they knew to be good, are now running

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Canto 17: A Tale of Two Cities

By Fr. Christopher Gray Following our guide’s own example, pause for a second to marvel at the amazing things Dante is accomplishing in his mashup of images and sources. Just a couple cantos ago, we encountered three examples of mercy:

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Canto 16: God’s Law Will Set You Free

By Fr. Christopher Seiler God placed in the human soul an irascible appetite that is ordered to self-preservation and the avoidance of evil. When this God-given passion goes awry, the human soul becomes wrathful. In this sixteenth canto Dante finds

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Canto 15: Seeing Clearly

By Nicholas Dube It is now 3 p.m. and as Dante and Virgil round the mountain the sun shines upon their faces.  But a different light suddenly blinds Dante, so dazzling in its intensity that when Dante attempts to shield

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Canto 13: Envy and the Zero-Sum-Game Mentality

By Christine Schintgen What does envy have to do with mercy? Dante shows us how by its very nature envy is diametrically opposed to mercy. If mercy desires to bestow kindness on the other because God has bestowed kindness on

Posted in Purgatorio