In Spiritual Direction from Dante: Yearning for Paradise, the Oratorian Father Paul Pearson provides a detailed but accessible spiritual commentary on the last volume of Dante’s masterpiece, the Divine Comedy. Fr. Pearson takes readers step-by-step through the text, explaining the spiritual lessons Dante intends his readers to learn. These lessons are particularly important, both in Dante’s day and in our own, due to the watered-down image of heavenly bliss the world offers us.
Dante’s Paradiso corrects this misunderstanding, showing the faithful a paradise that is more real and more fulfilling than anything we have experienced here on earth or even dreamt of. Father Pearson’s text is an indispensable companion to the poem for both the scholar and the neophyte. It brings Dante’s poem and its lessons into our modern context so that readers will discover that:
• Our true individuality is not obliterated in heaven, but is allowed to continue, and is fostered and highlighted.
• Even as we struggle now, we are never alone—everyone in heaven is interested and involved in our salvation.
• The human unity we strive for here (often unsuccessfully) is a shining fact there, with each person rejoicing in every other person’s joys and working together for the salvation of those still striving for heaven. There we are finally understood fully and appreciated.
• All our human desires are fulfilled in heaven, not abandoned.
Fr. Pearson, having already guided readers through the realms of hell and purgatory in this 3-part series, now brings before our eyes the saints and angels, the Virgin Mary, and the Blessed Trinity! But Spiritual Direction from Dante: Yearning for Paradise is more than a guide to the last book of Dante’s Divine Comedy. It is an introduction and an invitation to eternal happiness, an invitation that is just as compelling as it was 700 years ago when Dante wrote his masterpiece.