The Divine Comedy: Week 42, Thinking and Dancing With God

As Dante moves upward through the heavenly spheres, each heaven associated with a celestial body, he encounters various saints.

In the fourth sphere, associated with the Sun, the Pilgrim meets some of the great theologians and philosophers of the faith. The Pilgrim meets Thomas Aquinas, Peter Lombard, Gratian, Boethius, Bede and even King Solomon.

Again, in Paradise the souls of the blessed appear to the Pilgrim as lights. Upon reaching the fourth heaven, the souls of the theologians swirl around and encircle the Pilgrim and Beatrice like ladies in a ballroom dance: 
When singing, circling, all those blazing suns [the souls of the theologians]
had wheeled around the two of us [the Pilgrim and Beatrice] three times
like stars that circle close to the fixed poles,

they stopped like ladies still in dancing mood,
who pause in silence listening to catch
the rhythm of the new notes of the dance.
First of all, I love the whimsy of comparing these great intellects to ladies swirling, wheeling, and dancing at a ball. For me, it captures the romance of theology, how all our heavy thinking about God--all the twirling, whirling thoughts we have--is an expression of our romantic, love affair with God.

Second, I love the imagery of theological reflection as being a silent pause in the dance where we listen to "catch the rhythm of the new notes of the dance."

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