Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Infinite and Inexpressible Grace

I'm reading Dante's Purgatorio for Lent this year, and I came across a beautiful passage today. In it the Angel of Caritas speaks to Dante:

"It is because you focus on the prize
of worldly goods, which every sharing lessens
that Envy pumps the bellow for your sighs.

But if, in true love for the Highest Sphere,
your longing were turned upward, then your hearts
would never be consumed by such a fear;

for the more there are there who say 'ours'--not 'mine'--
by that much is each richer, and the brighter
within that cloister burns the Love Divine....

...Because within the habit of mankind
you set your whole intent on earthly things,
the true light falls as darkness on your mind.

The infinite and inexpressible Grace
which is in Heaven, gives itself to Love
as a sunbeam gives itself to a bright surface.

As much light as it find there, it bestows;
thus, as the blaze of Love is spread more widely,
the greater the Eternal Glory grows.

As mirror reflects mirror, so, above,
the more there are who join their souls, the more
Love learns perfection, and the more they love."