Canto 10 Paradise: Wisdom

In this realm of heaven, Dante finds himself in the sphere of the Sun. The Sun represents the light of wisdom. The wise are in this sphere, such as Albert of Cologne, Richard of Saint Victor, among others.

The prideful were in Purgatory and the heretics in Hell (in the same cantos 10). Wisdom twisted can become pride. We can see those with a lot of knowledge and expertise as prideful, know-it-alls. Our prejudice may speak that they are arrogant or think they are better than others. In some cases our assumption is false, but there are definitely prideful people who know a lot about the world, a certain subject.

But Wisdom implies humility. The beginning of wisdom is fearing God. Knowing who God is. Worshipping the One who gives us the gift of Wisdom is where is all begins. God is wisdom as it is spoken of in Proverbs.

Those in Hell had great knowledge, but were incorrect in their understanding which bled into the way they lived or worshipped and so worshipped a false god in their knowledge. The proud in Purgatory realized their error and repented. Those in Paradise have great wisdom, though they even made errors in their thinking and actions.

What does this say of ourselves? And what does this say of God?

We are prone to error. We are finite. We do not know everything. Our knowledge of things can lead us to Hell. Knowing to simply know, the knowledge can become an idol, something placed above God. We are proud. When we realize our mistake, there is mercy.

When we know that knowledge comes from the Creator, this is the beginning of wisdom. To worship God and not the gift or the created, this is the right order. To know and worship God first, then all other areas of understanding and discovery comes to light. By God’s light we see all things. Through a glass darkly, but in Paradise, we will begin to understand or know fully all goodness and truth; we will be united with Him.

 

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