This is your yearly reminder to read The Divine Comedy. ;) You would expect nothing less from me, but why?
This impressive literary classic is more than you might think. Yes, Dante writes a image of Hell, but in the as Dorothy Sayers' quips to only read the Inferno, is like knowing Paris by the sewer system. I couldn't agree more. It would be as to acknowledge your shortcomings this Ash Wednesday and not work on them in Lent. This book is Dante's sharing of a personal Lenten journey.
Lent is a time to face our own personal humanity and work on our journey to heaven. Lent is the time when we acknowledge that we sometimes get lost and need to find our way back to God. This is exactly the journey of The Divine Comedy.
In Inferno Dante examines the sins we are guilty of and more importantly gives us a lens through which we can examine our own culpability in those sins. In Purgatory, we are asked to repent and get our hearts right for Heaven. In Paradise are inspired by the eternal Love and life examples we are given.
What can a man from 700 years ago know of a woman's struggle or a millennial's challenges? You would be surprised how universal the challenge of being human truly is.
So, it matters not the translation you use, but the effort you make in personally reflecting. I invite you to journey with me this Lent and Easter season through Hell and into Purgatory and finally arrive in Heaven. Starting on Ash Wednesday, we will read about a Canto a Day until we finish on Pentecost.
Notes for those ready to take up the challenge:
I personally love the Anthony Esolen translations from Modern Library Classics: Inferno; Purgatory; and Paradise. They are easily read and have a wonderful poetic quality like the original. I also appreciate the footnotes being kept to a minimum. The Longfellow, Musa , Ciardi, and Hollander translations are all very good as well. They are also often found free or cheaply on Kindle.
I also want to encourage you to not get bogged down in the footnotes, only read if you feel you need to.
I will be creating an group on FB that is for those who want to join the Canto conversations. Contact me on FB if you want to join! A Canto a day only takes about 10-15 minutes at most!