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The Profession of Faith

185

698

The seal

is a symbol close to that of anointing. “The Father has set

his seal” on Christ and also seals us in him.

50

Because this seal indicates

the indelible effect of the anointing with the Holy Spirit in the sacraments

of Baptism, Confirmation, andHoly Orders, the image of the seal (

sphragis

)

has been used in some theological traditions to express the indelible

“character” imprinted by these three unrepeatable sacraments.

699

The hand.

Jesus heals the sick and blesses little children by laying

hands on them.

51

In his name the apostles will do the same.

52

Even more

pointedly, it is by the Apostles’ imposition of hands that the Holy Spirit is

given.

53

The

Letter to the Hebrews

lists the imposition of hands among the

“fundamental elements” of its teaching.

54

The Church has kept this sign of

the all-powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in its sacramental epicleses.

700

The finger.

“It is by the finger of God that [Jesus] cast out de-

mons.”

55

If God’s law was written on tablets of stone “by the finger of

God,” then the “letter from Christ” entrusted to the care of the apostles, is

written “with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on

tablets of human hearts.”

56

The hymn

Veni Creator Spiritus

invokes the

Holy Spirit as the “

finger of the Father’s right hand.

57

701

The dove.

At the end of the flood, whose symbolism refers to

Baptism, a dove released by Noah returns with a fresh olive-tree branch

in its beak as a sign that the earth was again habitable.

58

When Christ

comes up from the water of his baptism, the Holy Spirit, in the form of a

dove, comes down upon him and remains with him.

59

The Spirit comes

down and remains in the purified hearts of the baptized. In certain

churches, the Eucharist is reserved in a metal receptacle in the form of a

dove (

columbarium

) suspended above the altar. Christian iconography

traditionally uses a dove to suggest the Spirit.

50

Jn

6:27; cf.

2 Cor

1:22;

Eph

1:13; 4:30.

51 Cf.

Mk

6:5; 8:23; 10:16.

52 Cf.

Mk

16:18;

Acts

5:12; 14:3.

53 Cf.

Acts

8:17-19; 13:3; 19:6.

54 Cf.

Heb

6:2.

55

Lk

11:20.

56

Ex

31:18;

2 Cor

3:3.

57

LH,

Easter Season after Ascension, Hymn at Vespers:

digitus paternae

dexterae.

58 Cf.

Gen

8:8-12.

59 Cf.

Mt

3:16 and parallels.

1295-1296

1121

292

1288

1300, 1573

1668

2056

1219

535