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Taking Up a Journey into Hell

And so this is Lent and what have you done?
No Happy Easter, not yet,
the war has just begun.

Aside from some fasting/abstinence I'm reading Dante's Inferno, considered by many to be the greatest poem of the West, greater even than Homer's duo.



I'm three cantos in and loving it.
I came across this today from Canto Two (Anthony Esolen translation):

"What is it, then? Why stand here, why delay?
     Why let such cowardice come take your heart?
     Why are you not afire and bold and free,
Seeing that three such ladies blessed in Heaven
      care for your healing from their court above,
      and what I tell you holds forth so much good?"

The character Dante is hesitating before he begins his journey out of the dark wood with the Pagan poet Virgil. Virgil is urging him on, testifying that the Virgin, Beatrice (a woman that the real Dante fell in love with when very young) and St. Lucy are praying for Dante.



The lesson in this (for me anyway) is that great cloud of witnesses who pray for our success to find our end in God. There is no reason to fear life's absurdities--even if there is plenty to be afraid of.

Here my Lenten journey begins with an exhortation to take heart and be courageous. May you find the same message.

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