by Dante Alighieri
Paradiso Education Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Canto.Line). We used Allen Mandelbaum's translation.
[Beatrice]: "From this you see that blessedness depends
upon the act of vision, not upon
the act of love – which is a consequence;
the measure of their vision lies in merit
produced by grace and then by will to goodness." (Par. XXVIII, 109-113)
Not only is true vision the basis of a good education, it is also the basis upon which God chooses how much of His love ("blessedness") one deserves. A man can only improve his vision by making himself more virtuous. If someone can willfully make herself more virtuous, the portion of grace God gives her automatically increases. In turn, one's vision becomes sharper and, seeing more of God's light, attracts more of His love.
Where I expected her, another answered:
I thought I should see Beatrice, and saw
an elder dressed like those who are in glory.
His gracious gladness filled his eyes, suffused
his cheeks; his manner had that kindliness
which suits a tender father. "Where is she?"
I asked him instantly. And he replied:
"That all your longings may be satisfied,
Beatrice urged me from my place. If you
look up and to the circle that is third
from that rank which is highest, you will see
her on the throne her merits have assigned her." (Par. XXXI, 58-69)
Echoing a lesson Dante learned in Purgatory, Dante's mentor disappears suddenly only to be replaced by a more worthy figure. As a student, Dante must quickly adjust to the pain of losing a beloved teacher and ready himself to absorb the wisdom of this new one. In this case, St. Bernard replaces Beatrice. Because he is a devotee to the Virgin Mary, he is the perfect replacement.