The apostolic letter of Francis "Candor lucis aeternae" is released for the 7th centenary of the death of "the illustrious Poet", which "in this moment marked by shadows can help us to advance with serenity and courage".
With one of his apostolic letters, Pope Francis wishes "to approach the life and work of the illustrious Poet". Above all to grasp "those reflections which are still essential for all humanity today". These are words that the Pontiff writes in "Candor lucis aeternae", published today, 25 March 2021, on the seventh centenary of Dante Alighieri's death, considered by Bergoglio a "prophet of hope that gives impetus to our journey" and that "in this marked moment from shadows it can help us to advance with serenity and courage."
The Bishop of Rome signs and publishes "Splendor of Eternal Light" on the solemnity of the Annunciation, the day "on which the Liturgy celebrates this ineffable Mystery" which is also "particularly significant for the historical and literary story of the great poet Dante Alighieri, witness of the thirst for the infinite inherent in the heart of man. On this occasion, therefore, I too would like to join the numerous chorus of those who want to honor his memory on the seventh centenary of his death », Francis writes at the beginning of the text, divided into an introduction and nine chapters. With this Document "I too would like to approach the life and work of the illustrious Poet in order to perceive precisely this resonance, manifesting both its relevance and perenniality.
“Therefore, in this circumstance, the voice of the Church cannot be lacking - notes the Pontiff - which is associated with the unanimous commemoration of the man and the 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" (Par. XXV, 1-2). "In the nine chapters of the Letter, Francis dwells extensively on" The words of the Roman Pontiffs of the last century on Dante Alighieri "," The life of Dante Alighieri, paradigm of the human condition "," The mission of the poet , prophet of hope "," Dante singer of human desire ".
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, a witness to the human desire for happiness, can still give us words and examples that give impetus to our journey. It can help us to advance with serenity and courage in the pilgrimage of life and faith that we are all called to make."
Bergoglio defines Dante's work as «an almost infinite mine of knowledge, experiences, considerations in every area of human research: the wealth of figures, narratives, symbols, suggestive and attractive images that Dante offers us certainly arouses admiration. , wonder, gratitude. In him we can almost glimpse a precursor of our multimedia culture."
Dante, the Pope observes, «does not ask us today to be simply read, commented on, studied, analyzed. Rather, he asks us to be listened to, to be in a certain way imitated, to make us his traveling companions, because even today he wants to show us what the path to happiness is, the right way to fully live our humanity, overcoming the woods. dark places in which we lose orientation and dignity ». If Dante tells "all this - and he does it in an admirable way - using the language of the people, the one that everyone could understand, elevating it to a universal language", explains the Pope, "it is because he has an important message to convey to us, a word he wants 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 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 ». Although 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". Therefore, it is "important that Dante's work, taking advantage of the favorable occasion of the Centenary, is made known even more in the most appropriate way, that is, made accessible and attractive not only to students and scholars, but also to all those who, eager to answer inner questions.
The Pope then highlights the «profound harmony between San Francesco and Dante: 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 their homes; 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 ». Another trait unites the two characters: «The openness to the beauty and value of the creatural world, mirror and“ vestige ”of its Creator. How can we fail to recognize in that "praise be your name and your value / from every creature" of Dante's paraphrase to the Our Father (Purg. XI, 4-5) a reference to the Canticle of the creatures of St. Francis? ». In Canto XI of Paradise “this consonance appears in a new aspect, which makes them even more similar. The sanctity and wisdom of Francis stand out precisely because Dante, looking at our earth from heaven, sees the narrow-mindedness of those who trust in earthly goods: "O senseless care of mortals, / how defective sylogisms are / those that make you beat down wings! " (1-3) ". The whole story "or, better, the" wonderful life "of the saint is hinged on his privileged relationship with Madonna Poverty:" But so that I do not proceed too closed, / Francis and Poverty for these lovers / take it now in my widespread talk " (73-75). In the song of St. Francis the salient moments of his life, his trials, and finally the event in which his conformity to Christ, poor and crucified, finds the extreme, are remembered.