…although his [St. Stephen’s] eyes were bent
always on Heaven – they were Heaven’s gates –
praying to his high Lord, despite the torture,
to pardon those who were his persecutors;
his look was such that it unlocked compassion. (Purg. XV, 110-114)
[Marco Lombardo]: “Issuing from His hands, the soul – on which
He thought with love before creating it –
is like a child who weeps and laughs in sport;
that soul is simple, unaware; but since
a joyful Maker gave it motion, it
turns willingly to things that bring delight.
At first it savors trivial goods; these would
beguile the soul, and it runs after them,
unless there’s guide or rein to rule its love.
Therefore, one needed law to serve as curb;
a ruler, too, was needed, one who could
discern at least the tower of the true city.” (Purg. XVI, 85-96)
[Virgil]: “My son, there’s no Creator and no creature
who ever was without love – natural
or mental; and you know that,” he began.
“The natural is always without error,
but mental love may choose an evil object
or err through too much or too little vigor.
As long as it’s directed toward the First Good
and tends toward secondary goods with measure,
it cannot be the cause of evil pleasure;
but when it twists toward evil, or attends
to good with more or less care than it should,
those whom He made have worked against their Maker.
From this you see that – of necessity –
love is the seed in you of every virtue
and of all acts deserving punishment.” (Purg. XVII, 91-105)