Paradiso Canto XXXIII

Paradiso 33

Here my exalted vision lost its power.
But now my will and my desire, like wheels revolving
with an even motion, were turning with
the Love that moves the sun and all the other stars.

vv. 142-145

Prayer to the Virgin. – The Beatific Vision. – The Ultimate Salvation.

Saint Bernard says his marvellous well-known prayer to the Virgin. After celebrating the highest and humblest creature of all, as well as appreciating her being a mediator between God and man, he invokes her protection of Dante. Having experienced all the different conditions of the souls during his trip, the Poet is almost ready to see the face of God, provided that the Virgin scatters every cloud of his mortality. The Saint concludes his invocation by asking Mary to preserve Dante’s purity of heart and the entire host of Heaven, including Beatrice, folds hands in a silent prayer. The Virgin embraces his supplication with approving eyes. She then raises her eyes towards the everlasting light of God. Saint Bernard, smiling, signals for Dante to look up as well, then he disappears. By now Dante no longer needs any encouragement: his soul is ready for the divine contemplation. After asserting that he has almost no recollection of that vision, the Poet discloses that he saw the divine essence as an intense Light. Deep inside it everything that is scattered in the universe appears to be unified into a harmonious whole, bound by Love. Although what he saw is too great and words fall short, Dante describes the moment his eyes see the mystery of the Trinity presented in the form of three circles of equal size but in different colours. A human figure appears in the second circle, that is the Son. On the edge of facing the mystery of the Incarnation, Dante sees a flash of light and the Divine Grace lets him understand. His imagination ultimately seems to weaken. However, the Divine Love has by now satisfied his thirst for knowledge, moving it like a wheel that rotates uniformly and harmoniously.

Tomba di Dante a Ravenna

The love of God, which causes the everlasting harmonic motion of the Stars, directs the Poet’s will and desire, by now completely satisfied. This is what Dante recalls at the end of his journey.
May it anticipate the meaning his last earthly abode had, which is where he started his celestial journey and ended his life on earth – the alpha of eternity following the omega of his life, the resting place of his mortal body. This place, which Ravenna has cherished as sacred for centuries, seals his journey. We hope that those who have come this far will remember the Supreme Poet forever, as well as the city that, piously, has been preserving and honouring both his spiritual and physical memory.

Traduzione a cura della classe 5aC A.S.20/21 del Liceo Scientifico A. Oriani di Ravenna

Canto adopted by Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Ravenna

For further information on Tomba di Dante

View Dante’s itinerary on the map

Available Resources

Reading of the Canto