Grace – Literary


Cristina Guarnieri 


Donna, se’ tanto grande e tanto vali,

che qual vuol grazia e a te non ricorre,

sua disïanza vuol volar sans ali.

[Woman, you’re so important and so valuable,

that he who wants grace and does not recur to you,

finds the disillusionment of one who wants to fly without wings].

Dante, Divine Comedy (Paradise XXXIII, 13-15)

Introductory remarks:

From grace to grace, from feminine grace to divine grace. What mystery encapsulates feminine grace? What treasures does it hold? Over the centuries, woman has been celebrated many times by poets, writers, philosophers as the bearer of a grace, a secret, an unspeakable something that makes her the place par excellence of transcendence, of the experience of the infinite. It is enough to think of the incomparable verses of the Mystic Choir that conclude Goethe’s Faust, dedicated to the eternal feminine: “What passes through is but a symbol / the unattainable is accomplished here / what is ineffable here becomes an act / eternal feminine here will draw us”. Or think also of the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, who at the end of his life still wondered about the “enigma of femininity”. In Dante, the mystery of the woman “full of grace” reaches a climax unparalleled in world literature. Beatrice is the one who allows man to trans-humanize, to lean beyond the human. The Virgin Mary is an inescapable reference for those who seek the grace of God. With help of some of the brightest pages of Dante’s Paradise, we will explore the mystery of feminine grace, lofty manifestation of God’s grace.