Wednesday, November 2, 2016

All Souls' Day - I wish Dante would do it again

Climbing the mountain of Purgatory

I have an absolutely beautiful book of ink illustrations for Dante's Divine Comedy by Sandro Botticelli. He didn't finish, so most aren't colored and some are only pencil sketches, but they're all gorgeous and are one of my highest models to aspire to in regards to line and the human figure. (Nudity follows.)

Directly above is the illustration of the place in Hell where are the sowers of discord, including Mohammed, the founder of Islam, shown holding his chest open with entrails falling out. Yes, I'm intentionally being doubly offensive to Moslems: not only is this a visual representation of Mohammed, it's him in Hell, where I believe he almost definitely is. If by some absolutely incredible grace, Mohammed repented before death and called out for mercy not to the false god Allah but to the Triune God including the Person of Jesus Christ, thus receiving Baptism of Desire, he may be in Purgatory. I'm sure he wouldn't have gotten out of there yet.

I often wish desperately that writers had written additional books similar to ones they did write. Frequently I think about Hilaire Belloc's The Path to Rome, his account of walking all the way from Nice to Rome, and I wish so much that he had written such an account of the time that he walked all the way from the Midwest to California to try to reach his intended bride before her mother made her enter a convent.

By the same token, I wish that Dante Alighieri would come back now and write the Divine Comedy again, featuring the souls that now would have, in his judgement, joined the hosts in Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. And thinking of the recent theological contradiction pledged in Sweden by the putative pope, I wonder what Dante would have Martin Luther say in his place in Hell.

While Luther would have had a better chance of last-minute repentance than Mohammed, since he had been baptized and did at least believe that salvation comes through Jesus Christ, what we can see of his life, deeds, and teachings, which would be what Dante would be going by, would place Luther squarely among the damned. His heresy and schism have torn millions of souls away from the true Church; he encouraged German princes to slaughter peasants and rape nuns; he blasphemed our Lord in his theological implications, denial of the Sacrifice of the Mass, and in simply blasphemous statements, such as when he said Jesus committed fornication multiple times.

Does what I have written here seem cruel, judgemental, unmerciful? I'm sure putative Pope Francis would say so. But if you actually believe the Catholic Faith, the truth is that those who deny God and lead souls away from Him are separated from Him in eternity. That separation is called Hell. Why would God make those who rejected Him be united with Him? He respects their free will, and it wouldn't even be possible, just as it's not possible for Catholics and Lutherans, remaining as Catholics and Lutherans, to be in communion.

But, as I said, it is possible, through incredible grace, that monumental heresiarchs such as Mohammed and Luther may have repented in their last moments. That possibility is the true nature of God's Mercy. The only human that we know with absolute certainty is in Hell is Judas Iscariot. So, on this All Souls Day, pray that those who by all outward appearances would be in Hell may have gained Purgatory, and pray to hurry their journey toward the stars.

No comments: