Although Dante’s Divine Comedy is a masterpiece of spiritual writing, it is seldom appreciated as such since most readers never venture beyond the first volume, Inferno, to continue the spiritual journey into Purgatorio. Yet Dante's presentation of Purgatory is something beautifully hopeful. Freedom is the dominant theme here and the rejoicing of captives delivered from their prisons the dominant tone. The people in Purgatory are increasingly concerned for one another and generous, the more so the higher on the mountain they climb. They are interested in one another's well-being and rejoice in one another's victories as though they were their own. The sufferings on Mount Purgatory are not something that happens to the souls there; they happen for them. This has all been designed for their benefit, and they are grateful to God for making it possible. Purgatory is God's merciful plan for allowing us to rediscover the joy and freedom of being human, the joy for which we were created but which sin has smothered and distorted. This is what we can be. This is what we can begin to be, even now, if only we will separate ourselves from sin. What are we waiting for? Join us as we speak with Father Paul Pearson about his recent work, Spiritual Direction from Dante: Ascending Mount Purgatory, and we glean further spiritual insights from the Divine Comedy.
Father Paul Pearson was ordained to priesthood in 1985 and serves as Dean of Saint Philip’s seminary run by the Oratorians in Toronto.
Michael Morales is Professor of Biblical Studies at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and the author of The Tabernacle Pre-Figured: Cosmic Mountain Ideology in Genesis and Exodus(Peeters, 2012), Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord?: A Biblical Theology of Leviticus (IVP Academic, 2015), and Exodus Old and New: A Biblical Theology of Redemption (IVP Academic, 2020). He can be reached at email@example.com