Paradiso Canto 22




Kathy Storm is a former Professor of Psychology and Director of Teaching, Learning, and Faith Integration at Whitworth University. She was also the Vice President of Student Life.

Questions for Reflection

  • Dante meetings St. Benedict in this canto. Who was St. Benedict and what for of contemplation does he represent to Dante? What should be the fruit of contemplation?
  • Both Peter Damian and Benedict were monastics. By giving us monastics as the chief images of contemplation, is Dante restricting the contemplative life to those who take religious vows? Is contemplation unfeasible for secular Christians? Could Dante the Pilgrim’s journey through the Comedy be a form of contemplation for non-religion (non-monastic) Christians?
  • What does Benedict mean when he says that few Christians in Dante’s day raise their feet to step on even the lowest rung of the ladder (22.73ff)? Is this similar or different from our own day?
  • What constellation does Dante enter as he ascends to the realm of the fixed stars (22.110-117)? Why might this be personally important to Dante (recall Brunetto Latini’s advice in Inferno 15).?
  • What does Dante see as he turns back to contemplate the distance he has traveled since leaving the dark wood (22.124-147)? How does this change in physical perspective yield a change in Dante’s intellectual understanding (22.133ff)? Why does Dante smile?


  • Dr. Kathy Storm
  • Whitworth University
  • Run Time 11:35