Sunday, April 19, 2009


Deep thoughts about Sandow Birk's 'Purgatorio'. I didn't start with 'Inferno', but if it's anything like 'Purgatorio', I am going to be blown away a second time (and then, hopefully, a third time by 'Paradiso'). The translation to 20th Century English really clarifies the story for me, and livens up the characters. Birk took Dante's already awesome saga and has combined it with his own incredible talent. Eye-opening and breathtakingly inspiring. My knowledge of Purgatory has been poorly limited for some time, and I needed to read this book, if only to increase my knowledge. I like that there's a place like Purgatory. It's not permanent, like Hell or Heaven. It's a place where certain souls go to be purified before they reach Heaven. A chance to expiate bad karma before a final push to Heaven, so to speak.'
I used to feel that Purgatory was just invented to placate those who weren't killers, rapists, or criminals in general, but weren't saints either. Regular folks who've lost their way from time to time. The 'mountain' concept visualized by Dante is refreshingly appropriate. The mountain's summit is Eden, which also makes sense. That's where Humanity got started (according to the Book of Genesis), after all. I need to examine these concepts in deeper detail, but this book makes for a very good start. The matter of the Seven Deadly Sins is also looked at. I made some connections very quickly between the book and my own spiritual journey, and the speed at which I made these connections was scary.
Dante suggests (and Birk seems to agree) that everything is motivated by Love. Even the 7 were born of Love. Love badly manipulated, but Love all the same. I have come to understand that my Deadly Sin is Sloth. This I admit whole-heartedly, too. Sloth, according to Dante, is Love without Zeal. I agreed with this so fast it scared me. I've made more than a few notes in my journal about being without zeal. It's good not to be over-zealous, but there should be some passion in one's life, shouldn't there? In 'Purgatorio', the slothful in life run around their level of Purgatory, screaming out passionately about having zeal for God and crying out their sin to everyone who will listen. All activity, which is the direct opposite of indolence. This just makes sense.
There are other connections I made between this amazing book and my own life, but there isn't enough room here to share them. All I can say is that this book is really worth reading (not just once, but several times - I plan to read it several times). Also, read it while examining your own spiritual journey. I think you may make some connections. Anyway, that's my bit for today. BYE.

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