But what interests me is not that the battle was fought - for we sinners are always looking for rationalizations for our behavior, including we sinners of "mature purity" - but that Custody of the Eyes is an issue even in hell.
At least for Dante.
|The Furies in hell appearing to Dante and Virgil. |
They are about to reveal Medusa.
Dante's guide, the poet Virgil, admonishes Dante not to look, and Virgil goes so far as to cover Dante's eyes. Dante then drops a clue for the reader, saying
What hidden doctrine, then, is buried in this hellish encounter?O ye who have sound understanding, regard the doctrine that is hidden under the veil of the strange verses.
Well, if you think about it, why would anybody want to look at Medusa? A naked lady, maybe, but a gal with snake hair? And yet we can't help but look at wrecks on the side of the road. When Saddam Hussein was hanged and the video spread around the internet, I managed not to click on it and watch, knowing it's not right to gaze upon a man as he's dying - even if that man is a very bad man. And yet, I was certainly tempted. Why? What is it about our natures that compels us to be drawn even to things that are ugly and dark and harmful to us?
For we know that one peek at Medusa turns us to stone, plants us in hell, stuck solid and immobile for the ages. We know it's bad for us. But we can't be trusted not to look. We need help. We need grace.
We need our better natures to guard our fallen natures; we need our angels; we need God.
Neglecting "Custody of the Eyes" on earth is like a trip to hell without the wise Virgil at your side, the wise Virgil who covers your own eyes, knowing that you can't be trusted to.
(I follow up on this post here - The Prosperity Gospel Discovers Lust)