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In Paradiso 26, St. John tells the blinded Dante that Beatrice’s gaze has the power to restore his sight. Paradoxically, Beatrice’s gaze does not directly heal the poet; rather, Dante sees anew when the blessed souls sing, Santo, santo, santo! These words and other clues in the canto evoke the biblical theophanies of Isaiah, Paul, and John. Dante’s direct vision of God does not come for another seven cantos; why then does he allude to several theophanies at the significant moment when he regains his vision? Focusing on one source for the Santo verse—the Sanctus in the Mass—I propose that Dante does depict a theophany. He has a revelation of God—as the Mystical Body of Christ—and of himself as a member of it. Dante is united to his own theophany.
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