Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy is by all accounts one of the greatest masterpieces of world literature and an absolute gem of the Catholic tradition. The epic tripartite poem tells the story of our soul’s journey toward God. In this episode Bishop Barron offers a virtual commentary on all three parts, guiding listeners through Dante’s vision of hell, his seven story mountain of purgatory and his ascension into heaven – the joyful ending which classically defines this poem as a “comedy.” Our listener question asks about how and when we should seek a spiritual director.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:22  – Bishop Barron discusses meeting Joseph, the episode host
  • 1:20 – Who was Dante and how has he influenced Bishop Barron?
  • 4:19 – How does the Divine Comedy begin?
  • 6:40 – How does the beginning of the story typical to conversion?
  • 7:28 – What blocks Dante from pursuing his path to God?
  • 8:56 – What is Dante’s vision of hell?
  • 11:01 – How does Dante describe Satan?
  • 17:15 – What spiritual moves does Dante make in purgatory?
  • 19:45 – What literary devices and language does Dante uses?
  • 21:17 – How does Dante act against his sin?
  • 25:25 – How does Dante describe Heaven?
  • 29:14 – What should we takeaway by reading this poem?
  • 31:06 – Listener Question: How and when should we find a spiritual director?

Bonus Resources

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3 comments on “WOF 035: Understanding Dante’s “Divine Comedy”

  1. Tomás Baviera Aug 18, 2016

    Thank you very much for this extraordinary comment on Dante’s “Divine Comedy”.

  2. Carolyn Hathaway Feb 18, 2021

    I just read a book on Purgatory. It mentioned flames in purgatory. I had never heard that before. What does Bishop Barron think purgatory is like?