Dante's Guide to Navigating a Spiritual Journey
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Dante's Divine Comedy is considered one of the greatest works of literature ever written. The poem not only imagines the three parts of the afterlife, but serves as an allegory for the spiritual journey of the human soul.
Here to take us on a tour of the journey Dante describes is Robert Barron, a bishop in the Catholic Church. Today on the show, Bishop Barron offers a bit of background on the Divine Comedy and how it resonates as a story of the search for greater meaning that commonly arises in your mid-thirties. We then delve into Dante's journey through Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. We discuss why Dante can't initially climb the redemptive mountain of purgatory and has to go through hell first, the importance of having a tough-but-encouraging guide for any spiritual journey, why hell is an inverted cone that gets narrower and colder at the bottom, and why traitors inhabit its lowest layer. We then get into what it takes to climb Mount Purgatory, why heaven in the Divine Comedy doesn't get much attention, and what Dante finds when he gets there. Along the way, Bishop Barron describes the meaning behind the religious imagery Dante used in his poem, as well as insights that can be applied to any spiritual journey.
Resources Related to the Episode
- Divine Comedytranslated by Mark Musa (Bishop Barron's favorite translation)
- Word on Fire course on Dante and the Divine Comedy
- AoM Podcast #527: Father Wounds, Male Spirituality, and the Journey to the Second Half of Life With Fr. Richard Rohr
- AoM Podcast #598: Journeying From the First to the Second Half of Life With James Hollis
- AoM Podcast #518: The Second Mountain With David Brooks
- AoM Article: Lessons in Manliness from Dante
- The Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton
Connect With Bishop Robert Barron