Blog Archives

Canto 33: The Love That Moves the Sun and the Other Stars

By Aaron James Claudio Monteverdi’s 1643 opera The Coronation of Poppea portrays a civilization ruled by a very different kind of love than Dante encounters at the culmination of the Paradiso. Set in first-century Rome, Poppea recounts the reign of

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Canto 31: Earthly Diversity Come to its Fulfillment in the Heavenly Rose

By Sebastian Mahfood In Canto 31 of the Paradiso, Dante’s understanding of the structure of the rose strengthens as he notices that there are two celestial soldieries of the Church Triumphant present before him—the first is seated and includes all

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Canto 29: Heavenly Messengers

By David Wallace With “her eyes fixed / upon the Point whose light [Dante’s] eyes could not bear,” Beatrice explains to the Pilgrim the nature and origin of the angelic hosts of Heaven [line 9]. She perceives Dante’s desire for

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Canto 28: The Eyes of Our Hearts and the Powers of Heaven

By David Wallace With the help of Beatrice the Pilgrim Dante now sees the physical universe from a spiritual point of view. Seeing through each of the celestial spheres, Dante beholds the “Pure Spark of Being” on which depends “all

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Canto 27: Remembering Heaven on Earth

By Colleen Trevissani As Canto 27 opens, we find Dante enjoying the rapturous tones of a celestial choir singing glory to the Holy Trinity. The heavenly song fills him with a joy and bliss that is inebriating. His head is

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Canto 24: The Teacher Questions the Student- What is Faith?

By Jodi Schott Faith…what is faith? It is a strong belief in God and in the revealed truths of sacred Scripture. This is the topic of canto 24 in which St. Peter himself tests Dante like a teacher tests his

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Canto 23: Keeping Focused on the Vision of God

By Fr. Justin Miller Paradiso 23 has been called “Gabriel’s Song.” Gabriel indeed makes an appearance by coming down from heaven like a “little torch” of “Angelic Love” to announce the blessedness of Mary’s womb. Yet, this archangelic messenger plays

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Canto 22: Rebuilding the Monastic Ideal

By Joel Morehouse One of the greatest losses of World War II was the historic monastery of Monte Cassino, destroyed by Allied forces during the early months of 1944. Despite lack of evidence, Allied forces dropped 1,400 tons of heavy

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Canto 21: The Simplest Gift

By Fr. Joe McCaffrey There is a marvelous, wondrous moment in the latter part of this canto. After Dante asks questions that cannot be answered, after Dante wonders why there is no music to be heard in this level so

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Canto 19: A Bit of Perspective

By Shannon Loughlin In Canto 19, Dante stands before the Eagle formed by the light of souls, and wrestles once again with an issue that has plagued him in one way or another throughout his journey: divine justice. In this

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Canto 18: To Love Justice

By Fr. George Heyman Canto 18 opens with Dante sorrowing over his exile from his beloved Florence. However, Beatrice encourages him to take his mind off the bitter prophecy, commenting that she is “close to him who lightens every unjust

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Canto 17: The Martyr’s Courage, the Prophet’s Freedom

By Ron Herzman Location, Location, Location. It is no accident that Canto 17 is the exact center of the Paradiso, with sixteen cantos coming before and sixteen after. It is literally and thematically its center. We are in the Heaven

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Canto 14: Nothing is Lost in Paradise

By Fr. Christopher Seiler If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up

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Canto 13: The Wise Suspend Judgment

By Nicolas Dube To borrow a line from another Dantista, there is an initial question as to whether being awarded Paradiso 13 is an onore or an onere (‘honor’ or ‘onus’). The canto has the reputation of being one of

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Canto 10: The Nature of Wisdom

By Bill Cook Paradiso 10 is the first of four cantos where Dante describes his experience in the Circle of the Sun. Let’s remember that in the Ptolemaic universe, the sun is the middle one of the seven planets (Moon,

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Canto 9: The Harmony of Mercy and Justice

By Caitlin Bootsma In Canto 9, we find ourselves still in the sphere of Venus—a curious place that is in Paradise, though far from its heights. This particular location gives Dante an opportunity to see how justice and mercy are

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Canto 8: The Providence of God Will Provide for Us

By Deacon Tony Amato Above the main doors of my seminary, Theological College, at the Catholic University of America, you will see an inscription in Latin which reads: Providentia Dei nos providebit (‘The Providence of God will provide for us’).

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Canto 7: Divine Mercy and Cur Deus Homo

By Fr. Ryan Erlenbush The seventh canto of the Paradiso contains Dante’s discussion of the redemption of man which was wrought through the incarnation and death of the Son of God. Especially during this Year of Mercy, we have much to

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Canto 6: Not Honor but Service

Manuscript illumination, c. 1450. In service to the Provencal count Raymond Berenguer, Romeo de Villeneuve arranges the marriages of his daughters.   By Fr. Paul Tomasso Dante has proceeded to the second heaven, the planet Mercury, where he meets the

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Canto 5: Trust and Hope

By Fr. Marcus Pollard Of the three realms described in the Divine Comedy, the Paradiso is the most difficult to think about and imagine. In the Inferno, Dante takes us down into the earth where we witness hell’s punishments. The

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