Sanctification through Merit and Grace in Canto 28 of Paradiso Beatrice Essay

Sanctification through Merit and Grace in Canto 28 of Paradiso Beatrice Essay

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In Canto 28 of Paradiso Beatrice explains, “the measure of their vision lies in merit, produced by grace,” (112-113). A balance and interplay can be found in the elements “merit” and “grace” because they are an allegory of the entire book in which the whole focus of the sanctification of Dante, and all souls for that matter, is based upon merit and grace.
Beatrice’s representation of God’s grace is reflected by her radiance in that she plays an image of nobility, virtue, the Redeemed Life and, to a certain extent, of God Himself. “[Dante] saw [his] lady filled with so much gladness that, at her joy, the planet grew more bright. And if the planet changed and smiled, what then did [he] – who by [his] very nature [is] given to every sort of change – become,” (Par 5 95-99). The book reveals that the destination of Dante’s journey with Virgil is Beatrice. However, it is not Beatrice herself that they want to reach but her grace with which can only be received after going through the experiences in Hell and Purgatory in order to see the process of sanctity. The amount of brightness Dante sees through her radiance demonstrates how deeply his merits have developed for they show his clarification of everything he doubted about the grace of God and has now finally achieved it.
In the beginning, doubts are seen when Dante does not know that blaming others prevents one from moving forward. This causes him to wonder why some souls are placed in Hell. Moving forward can only be achieved by changing merit. Recognizing that one has sinned and accepting the fact that the sin was committed by his own will helps the soul reach grace. As seen in Inferno, Francesca recognizes that she has sinned for she tells Dante that her “[soul] …...


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...thout the enlightenment of the soul to become a part of the life divine, the higher powers pertaining to God.
Out of ever perplexity Dante faces throughout his journeys in Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, this one of merit and grace is the most significant one. This thought entails what the whole Comedia is about by essentially determining the principal matter of his revolutionary work – each one’s merit produced by God’s grace. His use of “merit” and “grace” brings the reader’s attention to focus on how this determines the measurement of understanding. The tension between merit and grace plays one of the most important roles in the Divine Comedy because it is seen everywhere especially when Dante finally learns to understand each step of his journey. Dante is enlightened on the judgment of souls and he devotes himself to reach grace and, ultimately, sanctity.

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