The Divine Comedy: Week 19, Purgatory

At the end of the Inferno, Virgil and the Pilgrim climb down the legs of Satan (yes, this is as odd as it sounds), through the center of the earth, and then up through a crack to emerge, after a very long climb, on the other side of the world. There they see Mount Purgatory.

I think most people read the Divine Comedy for the Inferno. Perhaps they only read the Inferno. But I read the Diving Comedy for Purgatory.

Why was that? The answer comes in Purgatorio Canto I:
...that second realm
where man's soul goes to purify itself
and become worthy to ascend to Heaven.
While the punishments of hell might titillate the theologically voyeuristic, my interest in reading Dante was to get to the theology he unpacks in Purgatorio. Though less talked about, the very best part of the Divine Comedy is found on the slopes Mount Purgatory. Here we will find a theology of love and spiritual formation--the purification of the soul--that I've found to be profoundly insightful and helpful.

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