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YEAR 2021: Seven hundredth of the death of Dante Alighieri

3/25/2021
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The year 2021 is the year of the celebrations of Dante. In fact, there will be 700 years since the death of the poet Dante Alighieri, on the occasion of which there will be initiatives throughout the country and the world. At present, in fact, there is no nation in the world where Dante does not have his lovers. Evidently, in his work, as well as undoubted and unparalleled aesthetic results, there is also the modernity of a thought that, in many ways, we feel very close.

Dante was born in Florence in 1265. He was a poet, a man of letters, a politician, a scholar of philosophy and a theologian. His artistic activity, thanks to which he is considered the father of the Italian language, ranges from the poetic production (the so-called Rime, rhymes), to the philosophical one (Il Convivio,The Banquet"), from the political treatise (De Monarchia) to the literary linguistic one (De vulgari eloquentia, "On the Eloquence in the Vernacular").

The Commedia is the work that has given Dante an imperishable fame.  It is the description of the mystical journey he would have made in the three realms of the underworld. In fact, thanks to this work the poet has left an indelible imprint in the collective imagination over the centuries, regarding the state of souls in Hell, Purgatory and Paradise.

Therefore, the program for the Dante Year includes scientific initiatives, study days and conferences, but also wide-ranging cultural projects dedicated to a vast public: exhibitions, shows, concerts, theatrical and cinematographic productions, cycles of meetings.

In addition to the Accademia della Crusca, other important institutions will be present, even a Dante Commission has been established at the Vatican for the same purposes. The "Luisa Piccarreta Association" also wishes to pay homage to the great poet by virtue of the fact that his vast literary, poetic and political work is scattered with a high number of explicit and implicit biblical references and frequent Christological analogies. We will try, therefore, to grasp possible points of encounter with some themes present in Luisa Piccarreta's writings.

So, Dante was born in Florence, probably at the end of May 1265; exactly six centuries later, in April 1865, Luisa, the little daughter of the Divine Will, was born in Corato. I like to imagine these two souls meeting in a dimension beyond time and space, while they discuss some topics of Christian doctrine.

But in order to understand some similarities or differences in the thought of both, it is necessary to make some historical reference to Dante's life. Before being a poet and philosopher Dante was a "communal" man, Florence was going through a very serious crisis; while the power of the empire was vacant, Pope Boniface VIII was trying to extend his dominion from Rome to Tuscany.

Dante was a white Guelph. In 1303 he was appointed city prior, so he worked hard to strengthen the municipal order and therefore opposed the aims of the Pope. In 1301 there was a sudden reversal of the political reality of Florence. Dante, as an unwise administrator of his fortune, was exiled.

From 1304 he was completely alone: as a vagabond, he wandered through the various parts of Italy. During his exile, he was welcomed in the courts of magnanimous lords who gave him hospitality in order to gain prestige. The spectacle of discord and violence, of oppression and corruption in every region of Italy crossed by him, led him to meditate on" the cause that has made the world guilty " and at the same time authorized him to feel invested with the prophetic mission to show men a way of redemption from aberration.

Thus Dante's doctrinaire works originated, but above all around 1307 the grandiose conception of the Commedia was born. In this work Dante imagines himself and declares himself as predestined by God to a mystical journey. In front of him there is the ugly spectacle of so many errors and failures, there is the squalor of a precipitous ruin of ancient values, the emperor has forgotten his most important function of guaranteeing justice and peace to his subjects, the Church has lost the sense of its mission of charity. The world has become ugly from the anxiety of "subdued gains" which generates other vices: "pride in excess", envy and arrogance.

The pilgrimage to the underworld, in which evil is analyzed, the horrendous corruption of the world, the path by which, through expiation, you reach the glory of Paradise, however, want to be the journey of an individual redemption and at the same time of a universal redemption. Dante is led to a new intelligence, to an eagerness to know the truth and fulfillment in the contemplation of what is Divine.

Luisa too, like Dante, feels that " has become guilty " because the creature runs almost madly on the path of evil, comes to degrade below the beasts and adds guilt to guilt, committing enormous sacrileges, murders, suicides, duels, frauds, cruelty, betrayals. So Luisa is also led to contemplate what is Divine, especially in the Hours of Christ's Passion, in which Jesus manifests the excesses and follies of God's love. Luisa contemplates Jesus who suffers atrocious pains to mitigate the just indignation of God and offers Him her love to restore the many bitternesses, coldness, inconsistencies and ingratitudes of creatures, participating herself in the redemptive pain of the Passion.

In the next articles each time a theme will be presented that can be inferred from Dante's work. We will try to understand the correlation with what can be inferred from Luisa's writings.

Antonietta Abbattista
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