"Love follows knowledge."
"Beauty above all beauty!"
– St. Catherine of Siena

Monday, October 15, 2018

Gosnell Movie Update: Top Ten Over the Weekend

Great news from LifeNews:

“Gosnell” Movie Profiling Serial-Killer Abortionist Breaks Top 10 Nationally Despite Media Blackout”

Despite a media blackout and virtually no coverage outside conservative media circles, the new movie “Gosnell” made the list of top 10 movies across the United States over the weekend. Coming in at the #10 spot, Gosnell came in ahead of other movies with much wider releases — as the film is appearing in just 673 theaters nationwide.

Despite the more limited release, Gosnell outperformed A Simple Favor, The Nun,  and the blockbuster film Crazy Rich Asians. Every other movie except for one that appeared higher in the weekend top 10 list was shown to Americans in thousands of theaters. It was also the only movie to gain in audience on Sunday, with over $1.23 million in ticket sales though the weekend. Every other movie saw a Sunday dropoff.

Had Gosnell opened in 2,800 theaters like other movies in the top 10 list it would have finished in 7th place for the weekend — making it more popular per theater than The House With a Clock in Its Walls and Bad Times at the El Royale.

You can read the rest here.  


Saturday, October 13, 2018

Gosnell the Movie is Out and I went to See It!

A couple of months ago I told you about the making of the movie, Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer. It’s the movie about the case and trial from a few years ago of Kermit Gosnell, the abortionist/killer (same thing) in Philadelphia where he was notorious for snipping the necks of born alive babies in addition to having several women die under his care.  You can read about his infamous life here.  

Somehow in my post of a couple of months ago, the trailer failed to stay.  Here is the trailer again.





So what did I think?  It had me in tears for a good deal of the time. I’m speechless. The acting was very good, but really it was the story that was powerful. The actor who played Gosnell was outstanding.

The movie is rated PG, but I don’t think I would take kids to it. But they did a nice job of limiting the graphic and disgusting parts while getting you a sense of it. Even the photo that was critical at the trial to persuading the jury was not shown, the one of Baby Boy A. At the end during the credits they provided a link where you could see it. I went. I won’t provide the link but the child looked almost several months old. Gosnell actually quipped just before he snipped his neck, “this boy is so big he could walk me to the bus stop.” What absolute evil.

I was stunned at the end of the movie. I sat in my seat for like five minutes watching the credits go by. Actually I was trying to get my eyes dry to be presentable when I left.


Go see the movie, especially this weekend if you can.  The attendance on first weekend is what determines how long the movie will stay around and where it falls in the Netflix pecking order.  You will not be disappointed.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Notable Quote: Believing Only What You Want to Believe by St. Augustine of Hippo

I came across this great quote from St. Augustine and it’s so true.

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.
         
~ St. Augustine of Hippo




Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Dante's Purgatorio Cantos XXIX – XXXIII, Summary

Canto XXIX
Walking along with Matelda, though on opposite sides of the river bank, he hears Matelda sing from Psalm 31, “Blessed whose sins are covered and forgiven,” when she stops to tell him to watch and listen.  An intense light flashed and glimmered throughout Earthly Paradise so that the air was glowing.  Dante in awe appeals to the muses to conceive the poetic language that will allow him to describe it all.  Ahead, on the other bank, he sees what first look like trees but turn out to be golden candelabra with flame lit at each of the seven tips.  He turns to Virgil, who is also struck in silent awe.  Behind the candelabra follows a parade in full pageantry, each of the people in the parade representing a book from the Bible.  First came the twenty-four representing the Old Testament.  Between the last four men, representing the four Gospels, was a chariot drawn by a Griffin, a creature half eagle, half lion, symbolizing Christ with his two natures.  Three ladies were to the chariot’s right side, representing the three Christian virtues, and four ladies, representing the Cardinal virtues were on the other side.  Seven more men, each representing Acts, the various Epistles, and the Book of Revelation, completed the pageant.  Once the chariot had reached opposite where Dante was standing, it and everyone stopped, and a sound like thunder boomed.

Canto XXX
As the procession stops, a herald sings out “Come forth from Lebanon, my bride,” and the voices of those in the parade respond with “Blessed are you who come.”  Flowers are then cast up in the air and the voices now sing, “Oh give the lilies with full hands.”  All this is for the dramatic entrance of a veiled woman dressed in white, green, and red, the colors of the Christian virtues.  Dante recognizes her as Beatrice and is in awe.  He turns to speak to Virgil but finds Virgil gone and suddenly feels a panic as a child does when he can’t find his parents.  In distress he starts to weep.  And Beatrice speaks, “Dante, because Virgil has departed/do not weep, do not weep yet—there is another sword to make you weep.”  She stands in the chariot as an admiral on his ship.  Her voice is hard and scornful.  She announces she is Beatrice, and upon further reproaching him, Dante lowers his eyes onto the stream and sees his reflection and feels shame.  The angels about plead for her to have mercy for him.  In response Beatrice tells them that she can only do so when “sin and sorrow be of equal measure.”  She accounts how having inspired him through her eyes when young, he strayed and sinned when she no longer was near.  He had sunk so low that only through this pilgrimage through the supernatural life could he be reformed.

Canto XXXI
Completing her response to the angels, she turns “the sword point of her speech” back toward Dante and demands whether all she has described be true.  Dante, confused and trembling, cannot speak.  Again she demands a response.  All he could force out of his throat was a mumbled “yes,” and then fell down and bawling tears.  She asks him why he had so strayed.  Through tears he admits that false pleasures lured him away when she was no longer in his sight.  This is the confession she was after but she digs the sword once more by telling him he had so much talent that went astray.  Ashamed and sorrowful he gets himself up, and she mocks his manhood by telling him to lift his beard.  Lifting his head up, he sees the Griffon, the symbol of Christ, and feels the sting of conscience in his heart and collapses in a feint.  When he awakes he feels Matelda drawing him into the river and while holding him dunks him below.  After the dunking Matelda sends Dante to dance with the ladies who represent the four Cardinal Virtues.  Shortly they lead him toward the Griffon and Beatrice where the three ladies representing the Christian virtues sing to turn her “holy eyes” toward him and reveal her “second beauty.”

Canto XXXII
Dante now sees Beatrice’s second beauty, her smile, as now the veil has been lifted from her face.  The first beauty was her eyes, but now her second beauty dazzles like the sun.  The Griffon then swings the chariot around so that he is facing east and the entire procession turns with it.  Everyone takes their place but mow Matelda, Statius, and Dante follows with the three Christian virtues on the right side.  Passing through the woods with angelic song in the air they come to a barren tree where Beatrice descends from the chariot.  The music and moment overcomes him, so that he falls asleep and when he wakes he asks where Beatrice is. Matelda points her out as sitting alone on the tree’s root beside the chariot which is now unhinged from the Griffon.  Dante and Statius then witness an allegorical drama of an assault upon the chariot, which represents the Church.  The beasts include an eagle, representing the Roman Empire, both as pre-Christina and post Christian, and then the Holy Roman Empire of Charlemagne, the fox, representing heresies, a seven headed beast, a harlot, and a giant, all representing various corruptions within the Church. 

Canto XXXIII

The allegorical drama now complete, all seven virtues in tears sing Psalm 79, “O God the heathen have come into your inheritance.”  Beatrice, rising, responds, “A little while and you shall not see me.”  Rearranging the procession, Beatrice now has Dante follow closely to her and entices him to ask questions.  He responds shyly, and she insists he break free of fear and shame.  She warns that those who broke God’s vessel (the Church) will suffer Divine wrath, and prophesies that one will come to restore church and earthly order.  She tells him to write this prophesy down for those still living and to not forget to mention how the tree of knowledge has now been despoiled twice.  She sees that he cannot fully understand what she is prophesying but asks him nonetheless to take it back.  Dante acknowledges but asks why her words are so hard for him to understand.  She responds that the school of thought he had been following prevents him from understanding the divine purpose.  But he cannot remember being estranged from her, and she says that is because he has drunk from Lethe, and that now to fully be reborn he must be doused into the river Eunoe.  She has Matelda bring him over and once dunked he feels remade, pure, and prepared to now “rise up to the stars.”

Monday, October 8, 2018

Matthew Monday: The Blessing of the Animals


October 4th is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, and because St. Francis had a particularly strong love for God’s creatures –he referred to them as brothers and sisters – the Catholic Church across the world has an annual blessing.  You can read about it and see some adorable pictures of animals being blessed from around the world, here.  

Our church had the blessing on the Saturday after the 4th rather than on the feast day proper.  This makes sense when you consider during the week most work during the day and children are in school.  I wonder if other churches did as well.

This is our second year we did this.  We took Rosie down to the church, and unlike some of the pictures in that link I provided the blessing at our church was performed outside.  It was amazing how many people brought their pets.  Over forty and one person literally brought Noah’s ark with him: two cats, several Guinee pigs, parakeets and cockatiels, and I don’t what else.

Rosie was excited as you can imagine.  She wants to sniff and greet and play with all other animals, friendly or not.  And at eighty pounds she’s hard to handle when she wants to rush over to someone or something.  I got a couple of pictures. 

I was able to click Matthew calming Rosie down.




And I couldn’t snap one while Rosie was actually getting blessed, I did have someone take a picture of us with Fr. Eugene, our pastor.




The reason I couldn’t snap a picture was because I had Tiger’s photo on the screen while we were up there so Fr. Eugene could bless Tiger too.  There was no way I could take Tiger over.  Some had their cats in the traveling bags, but it’s impossible for us to get Tiger in his.  He fights tooth and nail to prevent us from getting him in.


On a separate but related matter I do want to tell about my October 4th.  As you may know I live on Staten Island, which is part of New York City but unlike the rest of New York City we still have woods and some wild animals.  On the morning of the fourth, on my way to work as I was driving I saw a creature rush across the street and scurry behind some garbage pails.  When I got a better look I saw it was a possum.  Half a mile later I had to stop because a raccoon decided to cross the street.  He took his sweet time, but I was just glad to watch him.  Later that night, while coming back from the gym, on the corner near a wooded stood a deer nibbling on the grass.  Now I could go a whole year and not see a possum or a raccoon, and while deer are now more out in the open it’s not exactly an everyday event to see one.  To see all three of these creatures in one day—the day of St. Francis of Assisi’s feast day—is certainly a grace from above.  Thank you Lord.





Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Comments to Dante's Purgatorio, Cantos XXIV to XXVIII

One of the points I wish to point out in these cantos is the culmination of all the poets in Canto XXVI, where we get more of Dante’s poetic “fathers,” Guido Guinizzelli and Arnaut Daniel.  We have seen quite a few poets up to now.  In Inferno there was Bertran de Born and Brunetto Latini.  Though he was still alive we heard of Dante’s friend and fellow poet, Guido Calvancanti when we met his Guido’s father in Inferno’s sixth circle.  In Limbo, where Virgil resides, we met some of the great Latin poets of Ovid, Horace, and Terrance.  Of course there is Virgil, who has been Dante’s guide.  On the lower regions of purgatory we met Casella, who not exactly a poet, set poetry to music, and we met Sordello, a Troubadour poet from northern Italy.  In the middle regions of the purgatorial terraces we met Statius, an ancient Roman pagan poet, but Dante the author re-writes his biography to now include a Christian conversion.  On the terrace of gluttony we met Date’s friend and cousin-in-law, Forese Donati who as an amateur poet traded farcical poems with Dante.  Forese points out Bonagiunta de Lucca, whose poetry Dante had once criticized.  And now we come to the terrace of lust where Dante meets two masters of love poetry he greatly admired.  The intensity and frequency of poets encountered seem to be accelerating.

What to make of it?  As I’ve mentioned, there are three major themes that are at the center of the Commedia, the journey for the formation of one’s soul to be in harmony with the divine, the proper organization and authority of governing society and the church, and the formation of poetic work and language to reflect the beauty of God’s creation.  I’ve also tried, perhaps not very well, to point out that these three themes are also integrated, though on the surface they may appear disparate.  The secular and church authority are there to shape the lives of the citizens so that they can through their free will attain harmony with God.  Poetry is there to instruct men toward the divine as well as praise God and His creation. 

Since these poets in purgatory are all undergoing their respective corrective penances, it suggests that their poetry failed to live up to the high order of worthiness that would reflect God.  With Statius we know it’s not his poetry but his lack of courage to declare himself a Christian that held him back.  But with Bonagiunta, Guinizzelli, and Arnaut we are dealing with poets of courtly love, though perhaps all in different styles.  Dante too is a poet of courtly love.  This exchange between Dante and Bonagiunta in Canto XXIV is most fascinating.  He asks Dante if he is the one who wrote a particular poem in the New Style.

'But tell me if I see before me
the one who brought forth those new rhymes
begun with Ladies that have intelligence of love.'

And I to him: 'I am one who, when Love
inspires me, take note and, as he dictates
deep within me, so I set it forth.'

'O my brother,' he said, 'now I understand the knot
that kept the Notary, Guittone, and me
on this side of the sweet new style I hear.

'I clearly understand that your pens follow
faithfully whatever Love may dictate,
which, to be sure, was not the case with ours.

'And he who takes the next step sees in this
what separates the one style from the other.'
Then, as though with satisfaction, he was silent. (Purg. XXIV. 49-63)

As Hollander points out in his commentary, these lines are a bit allusive and what they mean is controversial.  Let me give you what I think. 

Uncertain of who is before him, Bonagiunta asks Dante if he is the poet who wrote in the new style, especially that poem beginning with “Ladies that have intelligence of love.”  Dante confirms it and goes on to say he wrote of love that came from deep within him.  Bonagiunta confirms the difference in style and understands that Dante’s pen followed whatever love might dictate.  Bonagiunta wrote of typical courtly love, while Dante’s poetry was more philosophic in nature.

Then in Canto XXVI Dante meets the “father” of that new style, Guido Guinizzelli, and Guido is in the terrace of lust.  Also in Canto XXVI we meet Arnaut Daniel, also undergoing penance in the terrace of lust, and Arnaut is known for writing in the vernacular language.  Dante too is known for writing in his Tuscan Italian, which makes Arnaut also a poetic father.  Both poetic fathers are in the terrace of lust, or perhaps more accurately the terrace of disordered love.

Let’s return to Statius because he was a poet who was able to reach salvation.  Statius considered Virgil his “mama” because he showed him how to write poetry, but it was Virgil’s Eclogue coupled with meeting Christians that led Statius to reach faith.  Pagan philosophy could only go so far.  Indeed in Virgil’s discourse on love to Dante, Virgil was able to outline the philosophic arguments but could not complete the dissertation because philosophy could only go so far and faith was needed to complete the understanding.  The philosophic argument aligns with the Cardinal Virtues while what is needed are what one learns from the Christian Virtues.  Indeed, there is a tension between the limits of the Cardinal Virtues and the Christian Virtues throughout Purgatorio

One other thing to look back to before I pull this all together into a thesis, and that is Dante’s second dream of the Siren.  We see the Siren, through her mellifluent voice and song seducing Dante.  Though she starts out as an ugly creature, she begins to look more beautiful as the seduction takes root.  Her beauty is an illusion that arises out of Dante’s mind. 

So if Dante says to Bonaguinta hat he wrote of love that came from “deep within him,” and this love was based on philosophic learning and therefore limited, can we now surmise that this love, just as the Siren was distorted because he reformulated her image from within himself, was also distorted?  Can we now surmise that his early poetry spoke of a disordered love because it lacked the Christian Virtues of faith, hope and charity?  It is this realization that leads to Dante’s the character’s growth.  The fullness of this realization will occur shortly when he meets Beatrice.

I don’t know if this is the correct reading, but it’s how I read it.


###


Here are some random thoughts on these cantos.

So where is the proper role of the poet shown?  Well, we still have Paradisio, and can consider the beauty and instruction of that last cantica to be the culmination of Dante the poet developing into a divine artist, one that shows humanity the proper way to live with God and to praise God with sublime beauty.  But we do get an early inkling at the beginning of Canto XXVIII where Dante begins to explore Earthly Paradise.

Eager to explore the sacred forest's boundaries
and its depth, now that its thick and verdant foliage
had softened the new day's glare before my eyes,

I left the bank without delay
and wandered oh so slowly through the countryside
that filled the air around with fragrance.

A steady gentle breeze,
no stronger than the softest wind,
caressed and fanned my brow.

It made the trembling boughs
bend eagerly toward the shade
the holy mountain casts at dawn,

yet they were not so much bent down
that small birds in the highest branches
were not still practicing their every craft,

meeting the morning breeze
with songs of joy among the leaves,
which rustled such accompaniment to their rhymes

as builds from branch to branch
throughout the pine wood at the shore of Classe
when Aeolus unleashes his Sirocco.  (Purg. XVIII. 1-21)

Now that he is in earthly paradise the language does get prettier, and it sounds even better in his gorgeous Italian.  What also catches my attention are the bird’s songs of joy, and he links them to poetry by referring to their lines as rhymes.  They are singing in heavenly praise, and this is the role of the poet.  Consider that the only musical note in hell was a demon’s fart and we will see in Paradisio how the heavens themselves create celestial music.  Music gets more sublime as the journey heads toward God.  One can consider the Commedia as a Bildungsroman where Dante the character learns the true nature of poetry.

Do you think it’s an accident that the canto prior to entering the terrace of lust is where Dante the author has Statius describe how sexual intercourse leads to the begetting of people and their souls?  If you’ve learned anything by now, there is nothing that is an accident in this work.  Of course it isn’t.

There are three nights spent on purgatory and each night Dante has a dream.  These dreams occur in the ninth, eighteenth (carrying over into the nineteenth), and the twenty-seventh cantos.  So every ninth canto.  Your annotations probably explain that Dante in real life met Beatrice when he was nine years old, again when he was eighteen, and then completes his great poem of her, La Vita Nuova, at age twenty-seven.  This nine year pattern is part of the intricate and complex numerology of the entire work, which I can’t say I completely understand.  Finally Beatrice first appears to Dante in Canto XXX, a multiple of ten, which is a number of perfection. 

Let’s compare the three dreams.  The first dream is of an eagle that carries Dante away.  As it turns out when he awoke, St. Lucy had carried him up from Ante-Purgatory to Purgatory proper, where the terraces begin.  The second dream is of the siren who attempts to seduce Dante but St. Lucy appears and has Virgil reveal her true nature, all inside the dream.  The third dream has Leah from the Old Testament appear gathering flowers in a meadow and refers to her sister Rachel staring into a mirror fixed on her own eyes.  Is there any coordinating pattern to these dreams?  Women seem to be at the center of each of them, but it’s hard to find anything else. 

Each of the dreams do have particular motifs that get carried forward outside the dream.  Rachel’s eyes highlights the eyes motif that comes up frequent, especially in these recent cantos.  Beatrice’s eyes are her distinguishing feature, and we will see that when she finally meets Dante she will have them veiled along with the rest of her face.  But it is her eyes that Dante recalls frequently throughout.  It is interesting to note that St. Lucy is the patron saint of eyesight.  As a martyred woman in the fourth century, she had her eyes plucked out.

Matelda in Canto XXVIII is a rather curious character.  She is there only to guide Dante about Earthly paradise.  One would have expected Beatrice here, or, perhaps, St. Lucy, who has been frequently popping up to assist the journey, but Dante the author introduces a new character.  Hollander cites some of the debate on her role.  He says that she represents the unfallen Eve.  Also, just as Leah and Rachel are opposites in the active life and the other in contemplative, Matelda is the active to Beatrice the contemplative.  I’m not entirely convinced by that.  Beatrice has so much more weight in the story, that the balance between active and contemplative would be distorted. 

Finally the tension that Dante the author creates in having Dante the character hang fire from entering the purgatorial fire is immense.  What tension.  Is the fire from the terrace of lust this same fire that one has to pass?  Hollander seems to imply so, but to me that last fire seems separated from the terraces.  This final fire is one that all souls must pass, whether they needed to purify from lust or not.  It seemed that the path up the mountain reached a dead end at this fire, and to go forward one has to pass through it.  This is the only place where Dante the character has to undergo penance throughout the pilgrimage.  He didn’t have to carry that boulder in the terrace of pride or be forced to run in the terrace of sloth.  But here he has to pass this fire, which is another reason why I think it is separate from the terrace of lust.


I should note that this final fire that all have to pass through is the only Catholic dogma (as per 1 Cor 12-15) concerning purgatory in the entire Purgatorio.  The rest is all out of Dante’s imagination.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Dante's Purgatorio Cantos XXIV – XXVIII, Summary

Canto XXIV
The now group of four continue walking on the terrace of gluttony, Virgil and Statius coupled, Dante and Forese coupled.  Dante asks Forese about his sister Piccarda, and he tells him she is now in paradise.  Forese goes on to point out a few other souls, the Troubadour poet Bonagiunta of Lucca, Pope Martin IV, who had an obsession with eating eel, the Ghibelline Ubaldin da la Pile, who was father to Archbishop Ruggieri (who we famously met having his brains eaten in Inferno 33), Archbishop Bonafazio, and a Marchese who was known for his drinking.  But it is the poet Bonagiunta that has Dante’s interest.  He asks Bonagiunta to speak to him, and the poet first mentions a woman, Gentucca, from his home town of Lucca.  He goes on to ask of Dante’s new poetic style.  Bonagiunta has heard of Dante writing on the nature of love, wherever it may lead.  But it is now time to break away from the terrace and all the souls bound to it must move on.  The three pilgrims now together again reach another tree, the tree from which Eva ate.  A voice proclaims the negative examples of gluttony, the centaurs, known for their drunkenness, and the Hebrew soldiers who were excluded from Gideon’s army because they drank like dogs.  Finally they meet the angel of this terrace who wipes away the sixth “p” off Dante’s forehead.

Canto XXV
The three poets now move on toward the next terrace but in the in-between discuss the nature of the body and soul.  Dante asks how a soul devoid of body could grow emaciated in that terrace of the gluttony.  Virgil starts to answer but turns to Statius to provide it.  Statius, rather than answer directly, expounds on the entire process of how the body and soul are formed.  He explains how the essence of the male blood is formed and mixed with the essence of the female blood to form a new being with its own animal soul.  At this point God breathes into the being an additional soul, the spirit, which blends with what is there to form a single soul.  When the being dies, he carries both elements of the soul, but the physical one can undergo transformation through the purgatorial penances while the spirit waits for the perfected physical soul to reconstitute herself.  The finally come to the last terrace where a wall of fire stands before them with just a tiny edge for the ledge.  They hear a hymn of clemency being sung and the penitents crying out Virgin Mary's words, "I know not man" and of the Roman goddess of chastity, Diana.  They have come to the terrace of lust.

Canto XXVI
Walking single along the edge, Virgil cautions Dante to be careful.  The sun, now low on the horizon, cast Dante's shadow onto the wall of fire making the flames change shade.  The penitents walking by are amazed by this and one particular soul asks Dante how this could be.  Before Dante responds he notices one group of penitents passing another group, each giving a platonic kiss to a passing person.  After each kiss, one group would shout out "Sodom and Gomorrah" and the other would shout out Pasiphae, the wife of King Minos who lusted after a bull.  The souls gather around Dante to hear him explain, and he tells them that he is still alive.  Dante asks of the significance of the groups kissing, and the soul who first approached him again speaks.  He explains that the group shouting "Sodom" are homosexuals, and he and the others are heterosexuals, both groups trying to cure themselves of their beastly sexual appetites.  The soul introduces himself as Guido Guinzzelli.  Dante is astonished because he knew of Guinizzelli's poetry, and considers him another father figure.  Guinizzelli humbly points out another soul close by, who was even a "better craftsman," Arnaut Daniel, the Provencal Troubadour who wrote in his mother tongue.  As Guinizzelli fades into the fire, Arnaut steps up and for the only time in the entire Divine Comedy speaks in a language other than Italian and asks in his Provencal to pray for him.  He too then fades into the fire.

Canto XXVII
The pilgrims reach an end where they can go no more.  In front was a wall of flame.  An angel could be seen inside the fire and invites them to enter.  All that go on must be “bitten” by this fire.  But Dante freezes.  He is in fear the fire will consume him like the burning of bodies he had once seen.  Virgil implores him.  The fire may torment but it will not cause death.  He implores Dante to test it with his hand, with his sleeve, but no amount of reason can undo the panic Dante feels.  Then Virgil appeals to his desire to see Beatrice, who will be on the other side of the flame.  With the name of Beatrice, Dante begins to soften.  Virgil then steps in, and Dante follows, and Virgil to keep Dante encouraged says, “I can almost see her eyes.”  With hymns being sung, the dazzling light of the fire blinds Dante.  When they come out, the night has set and they settle down on a step to sleep.  He dreams of a woman who tells him she is Leah and that her sister Rachel never leaves a mirror where she is fixated on her own eyes.  When they awake, they continue to the very top most step of purgatory, and there Virgil tells him he can go no further.  Dante can stay there until the one with the “fair eyes” arrives.

Canto XXVIII
Dante now on top of the purgatorial mountain, where a forest is before him, wanders about exploring.  The softest, gentlest breeze caresses him, and about him small birds sing "songs of joy."  Lost in the forest, echoing that very first canto from Inferno where he had lost his way, he stumbles upon a stream with the purest water he has ever seen.  Across the bank and among the blossoms, he notices a pretty lady singing.  He calls out to her to come closer so he can make out her song.  The lady, who we will eventually learn her name as Matelda, turns towards him and approaches the stream so that now Dante can understand her song.  She says she is there to answer all his questions, and she goes on to explain how this was the earthly paradise given to Adam and Eve.  Matelda explains the breeze comes from heaven above, the abundant verdure, and of the fecundity of the holy ground.  She reveals that there are two rivers, this one beside them called Lethe, and has the power to wipe away memories of sin, and another on the other side of the wood, Eunoe, that has the power to return all memories of good to consciousness.