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The mystic rose of the blessed: St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Here is the end of Dante's journey in the Comedy. The Poet finally arrives in the Empire. While he is contemplating the mystic rose of the blessed, in which Beatrice has resumed her seat, his last guide introduces himself to him: Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, who in the famous prayer addressed to the Virgin, asks her to intercede with God so that Dante can look into His mind, which is the climax of the work and finale of the Canticle. St. Bernard was in fact known for being an ascetic devoted to contemplation and a refined theorist, although he also distinguished himself for an active militancy in favour of the Crusades, against heresies, and in defense of the Cistercian Order to which he belonged. Also, he was among the first to claim the temporal power as an indispensable character of the Church coessential to its spiritual one. This episode ends the journey “Between forest and stars”: the video project, realized by Federica Toci of "Gobbo e la Giraffa", on the base of the theatrical show co-produced by the Uffizi Galleries and Archètipo a.c. under the direction of Riccardo Massai, which was staged on 6 September 2021 in the Boboli Gardens. The purpose is to merge the performative language - contemporary and at times visionary - with the Dantesque atmospheres that the Gardens can offer.

"Thou Virgin Mother, daughter of thy Son,
Humble and high beyond all other creature,
The limit fixed of the eternal counsel,
Thou art the one who such nobility
To human nature gave, that its Creator
Did not disdain to make himself its creature.
Within thy womb rekindled was the love,
By heat of which in the eternal peace
After such wise this flower has germinated.
Here unto us thou art a noonday torch
Of charity, and below there among mortals
Thou art the living fountain-head of hope.
Lady, thou art so great, and so prevailing,
That he who wishes grace, nor runs to thee,
His aspirations without wings would fly.
Not only thy benignity gives succour
To him who asketh it, but oftentimes
Forerunneth of its own accord the asking.
In thee compassion is, in thee is pity,
In thee magnificence; in thee unites
Whate'er of goodness is in any creature.
Now doth this man, who from the lowest depth
Of the universe as far as here has seen
One after one the spiritual lives,
Supplicate thee through grace for so much power
That with his eyes he may uplift himself
Higher towards the uttermost salvation.
And I, who never burned for my own seeing
More than I do for his, all of my prayers
Proffer to thee, and pray they come not short,
That thou wouldst scatter from him every cloud
Of his mortality so with thy prayers,
That the Chief Pleasure be to him displayed.
Still farther do I pray thee, Queen, who canst
Whate'er thou wilt, that sound thou mayst preserve
After so great a vision his affections.
Let thy protection conquer human movements;
See Beatrice and all the blessed ones
My prayers to second clasp their hands to thee!"

Paradise, XXXIII, 1-39.

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