by Dante Alighieri
Paradiso Love Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Canto.Line). We used Allen Mandelbaum's translation.
[Piccarda]: "Brother, the power of love appeases our
will so – we only long for what we have;
we do not thirst for greater blessedness.
Should we desire a higher sphere than ours,
then our desires would be discordant with
the will of Him who has assigned us here,
but you'll see no such discord in these spheres;
to live in love is – here – necessity,
if you think on love's nature carefully. (Par. III, 70-78)
Even though Piccarda is in the lowest Heaven, she does not hold that against God. This shows that God's placement of his blessed in their respective Heavens is proper and just; he gives only as much love to these souls as they want and deserve, and they are content with it.
[Beatrice to Dante]: "Indeed I see that in your intellect
now shines the never-ending light; once seen,
that light, alone and always, kindles love;
and if a lesser thing allure your love,
it is a vestige of that light which – though
imperfectly – gleams through that lesser thing." (Par. V, 7-12)
Dante's "intellect…shines [with] the never-ending light…[that] kindles love" because Dante's mind, like all things, is made by God and has been made pure by his journey through Hell and Purgatory. If, at this point, "a lesser thing allure[s] your love" or if you love something over God, this is a sign of imperfect love. This "lesser thing" also "gleams" with an imperfect light to attract Dante's baser desires.
[Beatrice]: "The greatest gift the magnanimity
of God, as He created, gave, the gift
most suited to His goodness, gift that He
most prizes, was the freedom of the will;
those beings that have intellect – all these
and none but these – received and do receive
this gift: thus you may draw, as consequence,
the high worth of a vow, when what is pledged
with your consent encounters God's consent;
for when a pact is drawn between a man
and God, then through free will, a man gives up
what I have called his treasure, his free will." (Par. V, 19-30)
Free will – which makes sin possible – was given to man out of God's love and compassion. This puts man's promises into perspective. Because God gave man free will, when someone makes a vow to God, she willingly renounces that free will and essentially gives her life up to God. Thus, breaking one's vow is seen as an offense against God, because it means one impudently snatches back what he has willingly given up – his free will.