Dante - Paradiso - Purification by Light
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Dante – The Divine Comedy – Paradiso XIII and XIV
'What he needs, although he does not tell you
Either in words nor, yet, in his thoughts,
Is to get to the root of another truth.
Tell him whether the light with which
Your substance flowers now, will remain with you
Eternally in the manner it is with you now;
If it does remain, tell him how,
When you are made visible again,
It can happen without troubling your sight'
Answer: 'As long as this festivity
Of paradise shall last, so long our love
Will shed around us such rays as clothe us
Its brightness is proportionate to its warmth,
The warmth to the vision, and that depends
On how much grace it has beyond its worth.
When our flesh, then glorified and holy
Is put on us once more, our persons will be
In greater perfection as being complete at last;
Because there will be an accession of that light
Which is freely given us by the highest good,
Light which enables us to see him;
In this way the vision must grow clearer,
And the warmth produced by it must grow too,
As well as the rays which shine out of it.
But, like charcoal which gives out a flame
And yet glows more brightly than the flame itself
So that it keeps its outline and appearance,
So the radiance which surrounds us now
Will be outshone by the brilliance of the flesh
Which now lies buried in the earth;
Nor will so much light weary us at all;
For the organs of the body will be strong
To everything able to give us pleasure'.