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The Importance of Symbol

Theology is often formulated in concepts. For sustaining our spiritual lives, however, it is symbols which really nourish us. Concepts can be a way of our identifying a whole body of information, but symbols stimulate our imagination. They create entire worlds for us, weaving memory, thought, and feeling together. Concepts have a role to play in spirituality, to help us define the limits of our thinking and to relate our spirituality as a body of ideas to other spiritualities. Thus, concepts are useful in relating Precious Blood spirituality to a spirituality of the heart of Jesus, for example, or to liberation theology. But we find ourselves returning to symbols, since they create the space not only for our imagination and feelings, but also the space for relating to the rest of our experience as members of a congregation devoted to the blood of Christ, and in the apostolates we undertake.

This presentation will explore four basic symbols of Precious Blood spirituality. They are: covenant, cross, cup, and the Lamb. All of these are rooted in the Scriptures, and evoke a wide range of meanings and memories. Each symbol will be presented as to its basic meanings as presented in the Scriptures, and then some of the meanings it has for us today, both in our personal and communal lives in community, and also these connect with the work we do for the sake of the Church and the Reign of God.

Spirituality and Theology: