Monday, October 14, 2013

Memory, Regret & God’s Merciful Forgetting


God's Merciful Forgetting
At the end of our purgatorial journey, we will know at last who we really are and know it for the first time.

“Even base and disgraceful things have filled me with a kind of joy — things which now I detest and execrate when I recall them — and at other times I have had joy in good and worthy things which I remember with longing, though they may not be with me any more, so that I am sad when I recall the joy of the past.”—St. Augustine

Cover of
Cover of Purgatorio

In the ninth canto of Purgatorio, Dante confesses his sins and climbs the three steps up to the gate of Purgatory proper. The steps represent confession, contrition, and satisfaction — the three elements of a good confession. Dante sees himself and his sinfulness honestly, acknowledges his fault, is admitted to Purgatory, and is given a penance: the seven P’s inscribed on his forehead by his angelic confessor. He will climb Mount Purgatory as a penitent sinner, not simply the tourist he was in Hell, and he will have each of the seven deadly sins wiped away as he climbs the mountain.

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