Dante, Purgatorio, XXX (part II)

I love this line as well: “Pursuing the false images of good,
that promise what they never wholly pay.”

This ties back to what Virgil says in Canto XVII. “All men, though in a vague way, apprehend a good their souls may rest in, and desire it; each, therefore, strives to reach his chosen end.”

Do not the limited things of this world seem so fulfilling as we strive after them, and so empty later? This is most especially true in sin, where we rationalize it up to the point of committing it, and then (if we still have the conviction of conscience about us) immediately experience the emptiness of our act as the primary feeling of guilt.

Even if not directly sinful, we feel the same thing if, while on a diet, we see that piece of chocolate looking so appealing and, once the taste of it is gone, the calories remain in our stomach…and we feel so much more regret for so much longer than the fleeting pleasure of the moment that “promised so much,” as the quote from Canto XXX says.

In keeping to the analogy of a diet and health, one can put a piece of pizza away in a minute or so…and can work for 30 minutes on a treadmill to “remedy” the situation. How many sins do we commit within a moments time and, afterward, regret for so long, whether it is just as a matter of guilt or as a matter of waiting for the next opportunity to confess.

And yet, we are human, and we seem to be slow learners. “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Ro 7:24)

Luckily the next line answers…

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