Cantos 11: Humility, pride, love

Professor Guiseppe Mazzotta has brought to light pride, humility and love very well. It is almost confusing, definitely a paradox.

How do we love? Do we see ourselves as superior and see all below us as less than us, as worthless? And only love those on the same level as this elite level? Love with pride? Or do we love with humility? From the bottom up.

Mazzotta illuminates Cantos 11 of Purgatory and Paradise. St. Francis is brought into the picture in Paradise. He is the epitome of humility in the literature of the time. A piece of St. Francis’s poem about creatures is within the Canto. The prideful are brought to light in Purgatory.

The negative definition of pride is to look down upon everything. The dangerous and paradoxical way of pride is to seek that which is above. When seeking knowledge is this to transgress? Ulysses is relegated to Inferno for his seeking and leading his men to a place they should never have gone. Their place was home, not to seek more. As Rod Dreher put it in his book about the Divine Comedy.

The way of love is humility. To know that you are not better than anyone else. But to also know that no one is better than you. To look at all things having value and importance. Jesus came as a man in humility though he is God. He does not look down upon us as the oppressor but as the God who walked with us. Yet the paradoxical truth is that God the Father is the superior being who accepts nothing but perfection and purity and righteousness. And Christ is the one who transforms us to be like Him that we may approach God.

Humility is also related to the earth. We are made from the elements of the earth. We return to the earth, decaying, becoming dust. We should know who we are. Nothing, yet everything to God. We are limited, we have terrible limits. Yet the way to God, to love others is humility. The following of Christ, the way of suffering that leads to joy.

It has very much to do with humility.


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