“In this particular historical moment, marked by many shadows, by situations that degrade humanity, by a lack of trust and prospects for the future, the figure of Dante, prophet of hope and witness of the human desire for happiness, can still give us words and examples that give impetus to our journey “. The Apostolic Letter is published today Inaccessible light that Pope Francis dedicates to Dante Alighieri on the seventh centenary of his death. March 25, which Dante traditionally considers the starting day of the journey of the Comedy, it is also the day on which the Church celebrates the Annunciation to Mary, the Pope recalls, “when in Florence the year according to the Incarnation“, The Incarnation which is” the true inspirational center and essential nucleus of the whole poem “, writes:” Therefore, in this circumstance, the voice of the Church which is associated with the unanimous commemoration of man and poet Dante Alighieri. Much better than many others, he was able to express, with the beauty of poetry, the depth of the mystery of God and of love.. His poem, the highest expression of human genius, is the fruit of a new and profound inspiration, of which the Poet is aware when he speaks of it as the “sacred poem / to which he has placed his hand and heaven and earth”.
Francis’ tone is solemn: “With this Apostolic Letter, I too wish to approach the life and work of the illustrious Poet, showing both its relevance and its perenniality, in order to to grasp those warnings and reflections that are still essential today for all humanity, not just for believers. Dante’s work, in fact, is an integral part of our culture, it refers us to the Christian roots of Europe and the West, it represents the patrimony of ideals and values that even today the Church and civil society propose as the basis of human coexistence, in which we can and must all recognize ourselves as brothers ”. The Pope recalls the texts on Dante of his predecessors, in particular the pencilcica The Supreme Preclara of Benedict XV (1921) and the apostolic letter Highest singing of Paul VI (1965), and recalls that “Dante’s prophetic mission also includes the denunciation and criticism of those believers, both Popes and simple faithful, who betray adherence to Christ and transform the Church into an instrument for their own interests, forgetting the spirit of the Beatitudes and charity towards the little ones and the poor and idolizing power and wealth “, quoting canto XXII of the Paradiso: «Although the Church looks, everything / belongs to the people who ask for God; / not from relatives or anything uglier ».
But “through the words of San Pier Damiani, San Benedetto and San Pietro, the Poet, while denouncing the corruption of some sectors of the Church, it becomes the spokesperson for a profound renewal and invokes Providence to favor it and make it possible“. In the long text, it is particularly interesting that the Pope points out “The deep harmony between San Francesco and Dante”, to the point of writing: i «The first, together with his followers, left the cloister, went among the people, through the streets of villages and cities, preaching to the people, stopping in the houses; the second made the choice, incomprehensible at the time, of using everyone’s language for the great poem of the afterlife and populating his story with well-known and lesser-known characters, but completely equal in dignity to the powerful of the earth ». And still «another trait unites the two characters: openness to the beauty and value of the creatural world, mirror and” vestige “of its Creator».
Central is the idea of the journey, the Comedy “Represents the paradigm of every authentic journey”: “Dante, reflecting deeply on his personal situation of exile, of radical uncertainty, of fragility, of continuous mobility, transforms it, sublimating it, into a paradigm of the human condition, which presents itself as a journey, interior before being exterior, which it never stops until it reaches its goal », Francis considers. “We thus come across two fundamental themes of all Dante’s work: the starting point of every existential itinerary, desire, inherent in the human soul, and the point of arrival, happiness, given by the vision of Love who is God. ” And so “The Supreme Poet, despite experiencing dramatic, sad and distressing events, never resigns himself, does not succumb, does not accept to suppress the yearning for fullness and happiness that is in his heart, much less resigns himself to yielding to injustice, hypocrisy, the arrogance of power, the selfishness that makes our world “the flowerbed that makes us so ferocious”. Dante in exile “thus stands as the messenger of a new existence, the prophet of a new humanity that yearns for peace and happiness”. And it traces “a path that is not illusory or utopian but realistic and possible, in which everyone can enter, because God’s mercy always offers the possibility to change, to convert, to find oneself and find the way to happiness”. Here Francesco quotes the figure of Manfredi, citing the third of the Purgatory: «Horrible were my sins; / but infinite goodness has such great arms, / that it takes what is addressed to it “, and points out:” It almost seems to see the figure of the father in the Gospel parable, with open arms ready to welcome the prodigal son who at He comes back”.
Among other things, in the Comedy, “The presence of women appears significant”, Francis reflects: «At the beginning of the tiring itinerary, Virgil, the first guide, comforts and encourages Dante to continue because three women intercede for him and will guide him: Mary, the Mother of God, figure of charity; Beatrice, symbol of hope; Saint Lucia, image of faith. Thus, with moving words, Beatrice introduces herself: «I am Beatrice who will make you go; / vegno of the place to return to desire; / love moved me, which makes me speak ». So all that remains is to read it and reread it.
The Pope thanks “the teachers who are capable of communicating Dante’s message with passion, of introducing the cultural, religious and moral treasure contained in his works”, but adds: “This heritage, however, needs to be made accessible beyond school and university classrooms.” Hence the appeal to the “Christian communities” and the encouragement “in a particular way, to artists” to give “voice, face and heart, shape, color and sound to Dante’s poetry, along the path of beauty, which he walked masterfully, and thus communicate the deepest truths and spread, with the languages of art, messages of peace, freedom, fraternity ».
In this lies its relevance: “Dante – let us try to be interpreters of his voice – does not ask us today to be simply read, commented on, studied, analyzed. Rather, he asks us to be listened to, to be somehow imitated, to make us his traveling companions, because even today he wants to show us what the itinerary towards happiness is, the right way to fully live our humanity, overcoming the dark woods in which we lose orientation and dignity … If Dante tells all this – and he does it in admirable way – using the language of the people, the one that everyone could understand, elevating it to a universal language, it is because it has an important message to transmit to us, a word that wants to touch our hearts and our minds, destined to transform and change us already now, in this life. His is a message that can and must make us fully aware of what we are and of what we live day by day in the inner and continuous tension towards happiness, towards the fullness of existence, towards the ultimate homeland where we will be in full communion with God, infinite and eternal Love. Even if Dante is a man of his time and has different sensibilities from ours on some issues, his humanism is still valid and current and can certainly be a point of reference for what we want to build in our time ».
March 25, 2021 (change March 25, 2021 | 13:59)