Canto 17 Paradise: exile

Dante’s relative continues to talk to him. Dante tells him of his troubled heart about what Farinata told him–about his exile from Florence. He will leave everything he ever loved. Descending steps not his own a grief.

Anthony Esolen reminds us: “…were it not for the hard look at human evil that Dante was forced to take–we might not have the Comedy. But He who can bring good out of evil can bring good out of Florence.”

Historically, Dante was exiled unjustly. And exiled with awful people. His exile, a grief to Dante. But such good came from his exile–the Comedy.

As the Comedy shows and reminds, our sin hurts ourselves, others, never just an idolated incident. But there is a healing and redemption if we so choose, which can lead to Paradise. The Christian life is one of self examination and suffering and forgiveness and repentance. It is a life in motion toward good. It is not always a fun journey. Not always one with happiness. The solid foundation is God and our hope in Him and knowing who we are in Him. Even when we are in exile, we hope and know that God is our pillar of fire leading us in the night and the pillar of cloud leading in the day.

Look above. Look to God. Then you will know yourself. No matter where you find your life, in exile, alone, in turmoil, in Hell, on the mountain of suffering being transformed slowly–God is our hope and salvation leading us home–to Himself.

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