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The mandorla surrounding Christ usually shows concentric bands of shading which get darker toward the center, rather than lighter. It is painted in this way so as to communicate to us, pictorially, the fact that we must pass through stages of increasing mystery in order to encounter the person of Jesus Christ.
But perhaps most importantly, through baptism Jesus sets in motion God’s saving plan to renew all things according to the Divine Will. To “make all things new,” means to restore all things to the way God meant for them to be, including our human nature.
Sacred number in art: St Matthew’s tells us there are 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 from David until the Babylonian exile and 14 from the Babylonian exile to Christ. Matthew wrote in Aramaic. In this language, the characters of the alphabet are also used for numbers. This allows for every name to characterized both in letters and numbers. When the letters that comprise the name David are treated as numbers and added together it creates the number 14. This numerical symbolism emphasizes the fact that Christ in a king in the line of David, as prophesied.
We are surrounded by the goodness of God and yet we are often blind to it. God constantly reaches out to us, longing for us to return to Him, but we have become deaf. All too often the Light of Christ no longer penetrates our hearts.
Christian symbolism stimulates our sense of the the pattern of interconnectivity of all things that are created so that we can then make that connection to the invisible and uncreated God. Atheist and believer alike can respond to it.