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‘ [60] toward, the other draws.] And this is that desire which makes every delight maimed, for no delight is so great in this life that it can take away from the soul this thirst so that desire remain not in the thought.’1 ‘And since it is most natural to wish to be in God, the human soul naturally wills it with all longing. And since its being depends on God and is preserved thereby, it naturally desires and wills to be united with God in order to fortify its being. And since in the goodnesses of human nature is shown some reason for those of the Divine, it follows that the human soul unites itself in a spiritual way with those so much the more strongly and quickly as they appear more perfect, and this appearance happens according as the knowledge of the soul is clear or impeded. And this union is what we call Love, whereby may be known what is within the soul, seeing those it outwardly loves. . . . . And the human soul which is ennobled with the ultimate potency, that is, reason, participates in the Divine nature after the manner of an eternal Intelligence, because the soul is so ennobled and denuded of matter in that sovran potency that the Divine light shines in it as in an angel.’2 This union with God may therefore take place before the warfare of life is over, but is only possible for souls perfettamente naturati, perfectly endowed by nature.3 This depends on the virtue of the generating soul and the concordant influence of the planets. ‘And if it happen that through the purity of the recipient soul, ’

1 Convito, Tr. III. c. 6.

2 Convito, Tr. III. c. 2. By potenzia and potenza Dante means the faculty of receiving influences or impressions. (Paradiso, XIII. 61; XXIX. 34.) Reason is the ‘sovran potency’ because it makes us capable of God.


O thou well-born, unto whom Grace concedes
To see the thrones of the Eternal triumph,
Or ever yet the warfare be abandoned.

Paradiso, V. 115-118.

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Jacopo Di Dante (1)
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