The End of Many Books


by Dante Alighieri

2019: While I don’t know where exactly Dante got all his ideas on the celestial spheres, I do know that reading one man’s imaginative effort about it increases my desire to find out the truth of it in person. I need none of Dante’s exaltation of Mary (theologically or positionally in heaven) or merit, and I want much more face to face fellowship with God Himself (see 1 Corinthians 13:12-13; 1 John 3:2). But there is great glory, light, and munificence to celebrate in this final piece of the Comedy.

2017: I don’t know what I was expecting, but I should not have been surprised by the movement through heavenly planets having read Lewis’ The Discarded Image. That was great. Not great was the preeminence given to Mary. And as long as I could think of Beatrice as a representation of divine happiness things were fine, but reading Dante’s lines toward Beatrice as herself was…weird. I’m glad that in the final lines Dante enjoyed perfect affections, but then what? Still an enjoyable read.

4 of 5 stars to Paradise

A Shot of Encouragement

Running to Heaven

What would they judge of thee if they knew thy heart began to fail thee in thy journey, or thy sins began to allure thee, and to persuade thee to stop thy race? would they not call thee a thousand fools? and say, O, that he did but see what we see, feel what we feel, and taste of the dainties that we taste of! O, if he were here one quarter of an hour, to behold, to see, to feel, to taste and enjoy but the thousandth part of what we enjoy, what would he do? What would he suffer? What would he leave undone? Would he favour sin? Would he love this world below? Would he be afraid of friends, or shrink at the most fearful threatenings that the greatest tyrants could invent to give him? Nay, those who have had but a sight of these things by faith, when they have been as far off from them as heaven from earth, yet they have been able to say with a comfortable and merry heart, as the bird that sings in the spring, that this and more shall not keep them from running to heaven.

—John Bunyan, The Heavenly Footman