Saturday, August 22, 2009

They That Call Thee Blessed . . .

They said of a monk that the more bitterly anyone injured or assailed him, the more he was well disposed to that person, for he said, "People like this are a means to cure the faults of serious men. People who make them happy do their souls harm. For it is written, 'They that call thee blessed, deceive thee.'"

~~Inferno: Canto IV . . . "Onward, this said, he moved; And entering, led me with him, on the bounds of the first circle that surrounds the abyss. Here, as mine ear could note, no plaint was heard except of sighs, that made the eternal air tremble, not caused by tortures, but from grief felt by those multitudes, many and vast, of men, women, and infants.

Then to me the gentle guide: "Inquirest thou not what spirits are these which thou beholdest? Ere thou pass farther, I would thou know, that these of sin were blameless; and if aught they merited, it profits not, since baptism was not theirs, the portal to thy faith. If they before the Gospel lived, they served not God aright; And among such am I. For these defects, and for no other evil, we are lost; Only so far afflicted, that we live desiring without hope."

Sore grief assail'd my heart at hearing this, for well I knew suspended in that Limbo many a soul of mighty worth.

"Oh, tell me, sire revered! Tell me, my master!" I began, through wish of full assurance in that holy faith which vanuishes all error; "say, did e'er any, or through his own or other's merit, come forth from thence, who afterward was blest?"

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