The Divine Comedy: Week 35, Lazy Love

To recap, since it's been a few weeks.

A theory of love plays out upon the slopes of Mount Purgatory in The Divine Comedy. According Dante, our loves go bad in one of three ways. We've already talked about two of these.

The first way love can go bad is loving a bad thing. This love is purified on the lowest slopes of Mt. Purgatory.

The second way love can go bad is loving a good thing too much. This love is purified on the uppermost slopes of Mt. Purgatory.

And in the middle of Mt. Purgatory, between the loves we've just described, is found the third way our love can go bad. We can love a good thing too little.

Loving a good thing too little, a love that is lazy, is identified with the Deadly Sin of sloth in The Divine Comedy. Dante describes the sin of sloth as love that is "lukewarm."

This may come as a surprise, but this part of The Divine Comedy is why I'm blogging about it. The sin of sloth is the part of the Comedy that most captured my attention, shook me up, and convicted me.


Well, when I looked at the loves being purified on Mt. Purgatory, I really didn't resonate or see much of myself in the bad loves found on the lowest and highest slopes, loving a bad thing or loving a good thing too much. To be clear, I do struggle with these sorts of temptations. But what really struck me as I ascended Mt. Purgatory with Virgil and the Pilgrim, was not how I love bad things or good things too much. What struck me is how lazy and lukewarm my love often is, how I don't love the good things in my life as well or as much as I should. Of all the Deadly Sins, I felt sloth best described me.

I love Jana, my wife. But my struggle in my marriage isn't that I love Jana too much. No, I wish I loved her better. My love for her can be sluggish at times, procrastinating, slow, and lazy in many places.

The same goes with my being a father. I love my boys so much, just like I love Jana, but I can get lazy as a Dad. I don't love my boys too much, I wish I loved them better.

And the list goes on, even with my love for God. My love for God can get lazy and lukewarm.

That's my sin. Sloth. I am a lazy lover, not loving the good things in my life with as much energy, passion, attention, and commitment as I should.

It was the sluggishness of my heart that struck me so powerfully when I read The Divine Comedy.

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