"Outsing myriad lamps, One Sun I knew
Which kindled all the rest ...
And through the living radiance there shone
The shining Substance, bright, and to such end
Full in my face, my vision was undone."
(Canto XXIII. 28-33)

Now Beatrice fixed he gaze on the high noon point of the sky and bids Dante to do the same. He beholds "myriad lamps", that is millions of saints and for a split second Christ human Essence which blinds him and he sees him no more. Beatrice explains the mission of Christ.

"Herein the wisdom and the power see
That opened between heaven and earth the road
Long yearned for and awaited for ardently."
(Canto XXIII. 37-39)

With a masterful stroke Dante sum up the mystery of Christ, the wisdom and power of God, the way to heaven for mankind which long desired to apprehend the meaning of life.

Now Dante's vision has been strengthened so that he is able to behold the smile of radiance of Beatrice. She asks Dante, Why are you so enamored of my face so that you will not look at the garden bright lights bathe in the light of Christ?

"There blooms the Rose wherein God's Word was adorned
With flesh, and there the lilies blow whose scent
Wooed man to take the road that runs aright."
(Canto XXIII. 73-75)

Mary is called the Mystical Rose in the Litany because she blossomed with fragrance of grace in God's sight. The "lilies below" point to the apostles and saints who drew men to Christ by their preaching and holiness of life. Dane continues--



"The sound of that sweet flower's name, whose praise
Morning and eve I sing, my whole soul drew,
And on that fire of fires led me to gaze.

When, imaged upon both mine eyes, I knew
the size and brilliance of that living star,
Who, as on Earth, in Heaven rules anew."
(Canto XXIII. 88-93)

The brilliant star which Dante sees is Mary. In the Litany she is called the "Morning Star" because with her birth the long awaited Savior appeared on the horizon of human history. She is also called the "Star of the Sea" because countless sailors turned to her in prayer for protection during their perilous journeys. She "rules anew" on earth who recognized her who mediates divine favors through her Son and in heavens she is recognized and honored by angels and saints as Queen of Heaven.

"So I saw those white radiances move
and reaching upward, after Mary clinging...
singing Regina Caeli with such dulcet sound
Within me still the joy of it is ringing."
(Canto XXIII. 124-127)

Regina Caeli (Keyboard rendition by Bro. Renatus Foldenauer, CSC)

Queen of heaven, rejoice! Alleluia.
For He whom thou did merit to bear, Alleluia,
Has arisen, as He said, Alleluia.
Pray for us to God. Alleluia.

Canto XXIV: Heaven of Fixed Stars, Dante's Faith