Try these 3 tricks from Dante to get more out of Lent


You might find the first one incredibly hard, but without it, nothing further can be accomplished.

This Lent as we seek tools to help us fight sin and temptation, consider the treasure provided for us in the literary traditions of the Catholic Church. One of the most beautiful, insightful, and convicting is the timeless wisdom found within Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Here are three themes found in Dante’s poetic trilogy that will aid both the novice and seasoned veteran in the trenches of spiritual warfare.

Recognize we are the problem

One of the most important first steps in defeating sin in our lives is to recognize that we ourselves, not anyone else, bear responsibility for our own misbehavior. This recognition is central to Dante’s own understanding of sin. Dante writes in Purgatorio XVI, 76-84:

And your Free Will, which, though it may grow faint
In its first struggles with the heavens, can still
Surmount all obstacles if nurtured well.

You are free subjects of a greater power,
A nobler nature that creates your mind,
And over this the spheres have no control.

So, if the world today has gone astray,
The cause lies in yourselves and only there!
Now I shall carefully explain that cause.