“Sacrifice—it appears twice in the usual sense of ‘solemn offer of victims and gifts’ made to godheads. In a broader sense, it refers to any offer, real or symbolic, material or spiritual, made to God: ‘Even as thine own Angels of their will/ Make sacrifice to thee, Hosanna singing, /So many all men make the sacrifice of theirs’ (Purgatorio, Canto XI, 11). In particular, the vow is described as a sacrifice, insofar as its formulation obliges the man, standing before the divinity, to perform or not perform a given action, thus offering to God one’s own freedom of choice. It is Beatrice who clarifies to Dante what the importance of the vow is, as a spontaneous sacrifice and offering to God: ‘closing between God and man the compact, /A sacrifice is of this treasure made’ (Paradiso, Canto V, 29).”
Retrieved from The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists by Simon Njami.