Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) begins his Comedia Divina in a way that causes us to think of several things: human events, the trinity, Christ, and human folly. By choosing ‘our’ life instead of ‘my’ life in a poem that is very autobiographical, he universalizes his very particular experience in a way that signifies one man living as and for all men, enmeshed in trouble and grief. Indeed, Dante was exiled from Florence in the middle of his life, being about thirty three years of age as he embarked on this monumental poem of damnation, sanctification, and beatification; or the original sin, the redemption, and the glorification of man. He begins us in the middle of things, just as Christ began his ministry in what should be the mathematical center of a man’s years, being in a total of seventy two more or less. Today we are nearly two thousand years and thirty years from the year of Christ’s crucifixion, a plan that began unfolding with the promise to Abram almost exactly two thousand and thirty years before Christ’s birth, placing Christ squarely in the middle of the Church’s ongoing ‘poem’ of time and times.

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