Paradiso Canto XXIV

Paradiso 24

‘This is the beginning, this the living spark
that swells into a living flame
and shines within me like a star in heaven.’

vv. 145-147

St. Peter examines Dante concerning Faith, and approves his answer.

Beatrice calls out a greeting to the souls in the Fixed Stars and asks them to answer Dante’s questions. The souls, as a show of goodwill, whirl about like comets. One, which stands out for its exceptional brightness, is recognized by Beatrice as Peter. She invites him to question Dante about the virtue of faith. “What is this faith?” Saint Peter asks. Dante replies with a quote from Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews: “Faith is substantial to the things we hope, / the evidence of things we do not see.” Peter, however, will not let Dante off so easily. He next asks Dante why Paul used the words substance and evidence to describe faith. Faith, Dante deftly responds, is the substance of things hoped for because it is the sole means by which the living can participate in the “deep mysteries” of Heaven. It is evidence, he adds, inasmuch as it provides the basis for theological reasoning. Peter congratulates Dante on his understanding and then asks where Dante’s faith comes from. From the Bible, answers Dante: “The rain … of the Holy Ghost that flows / between the leathered texts, both old and new.” Why trust the Bible? Peter retorts. Dante cites the miracles recorded there as proof of the strength of the Christian faith. To this Peter objects that the miracles, being asserted in the Bible itself, cannot be cited as proof of its accuracy. Dante replies it would, paradoxically, be even more miraculous if Christianity had flourished without any real miracles to sustain it. As the choir of saints cheers Dante on, Peter tells him: “Say what you believe, / and say what source first gave this faith to you.” Dante replies with a brief creed in which he professes belief in “one true God, / sole and eternal” and in the “three eternal persons” of the Trinity. It is his extreme statement of Faith in a canto devoted to that, and certified by Saint Peter himself.

Riassunto in inglese tratto da

Canto adopted by Antica Trattoria “Al Gallo 1909”

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