The Meaning of the Dove as a Catholic Christian Symbol
Catholic Christian symbolism in art provides a clear graphic illustration which represents people or items of religious significance. What is the definition and the meaning of the Dove? The dove is a symbol of innocence, gentleness, and affection; also, in art and in the Scriptures, the typical symbol of the Holy Ghost. God sent his spirit in the form of a dove to gather mankind into his church. The meanings of the colors of the dove are:
Red Dove - because Christ redeemed man with his blood
Speckled Dove symbolising the diversity of the twelve prophets
White Dove symbolising innocence, gentleness and peace
A dove returned to Noah with an olive branch to let him know that the flood waters had abated, and that the Great Flood of God's judgment was over:
Gen. 8:10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth.
Reference to the Dove Christian Symbol in the Bible
The Easton Bible Dictionary provides the following definition, meaning and emblem for the Dove Christian Symbol in the Bible.
Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
John 1:32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
In their wild state doves generally build their nests in the clefts of rocks, but when domesticated "dove-cots" are prepared for them (Cant. 2:14; Jer. 48:28; Isa. 60:8).
The dove was placed on the standards of the Assyrians and Babylonians in honour, it is supposed, of Semiramis (Jer. 25:38; Vulg., "fierceness of the dove;" comp. Jer. 46:16; 50:16).
Doves and turtle-doves were the only birds that could be offered in sacrifice, as they were clean according to the Mosaic law (Ge. 15:9; Lev. 5:7; 12:6; Luke 2:24).
The dove was the harbinger of peace to Noah (Gen. 8:8, 10). It is often mentioned as the emblem of purity (Ps. 68:13).
It is a symbol of the Holy Spirit (Gen. 1:2; Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32); also of tender and devoted affection (Cant. 1:15; 2:14).
David in his distress wished that he had the wings of a dove, that he might fly away and be at rest (Ps. 55:6-8).
There is a species of dove found at Damascus "whose feathers, all except the wings, are literally as yellow as gold" (68:13).
The definition and the meaning of Symbols or Icon in early religious art forms. A Catholic sign or icon, such as the Dove Christian Symbol, is an object, character, figure, or color used to represent abstract ideas or concepts - a picture that represents an idea. A religious icon, such as the Dove Christian Symbol, is an image or symbolic representation with sacred significance. The meanings, origins and ancient traditions surrounding Christian symbols date back to early times when the majority of ordinary people were not able to read or write and printing was unknown. Many were 'borrowed' or drawn from early pre-Christian traditions.