What’s on your coat of arms?

Posted: Tuesday March 19 2013 in Lent

An eight-hundred-year-old tradition sees popes choose a coat of arms. These devices are used to distinguish papal events and are found on print and in stone, commemorating activities and appearances of the pontiffs. If you were to choose some symbols to represent your desires and aspirations, what would be on yours?

A modern variation

Sacred Space’s modern variation

Pope FrancisThe circular device with the IHS has been the seal of the Jesuits since 1541 when Ignatius of Loyola adopted it when he was General of the Society of Jesus. The radiating motif is often referred to as a ‘sunburst’. Many versions also suggest the compass rose – the pattern used  to distinguish the cardinal points of navigation. The IHS refers simply to the name of Jesus although

many Latin constructions are applied to the letters – Jesus Hominum Salvator, Jesus Hierosolymae Salvator, Iesum Habemus Socium, In Hoc Signo spes mea (Jesus the Saviour of men, Jesus Saviour of Jerusalem, In Jesus we have a friend, In this sign, my hope) – and abound in English. The cross surmounts the IHS.

The three nails under the IHS recall the nails in the hands and feet of Jesus, affixing him to the cross. They are sometimes piously applied to the the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience that religious profess.

Sacred Space draws on the radiating image as communicates Gospel message and, like generations of Jesuits, crosses boundaries and explores new frontiers in the spreading of the gospel as the message is taken north, east, west and south as good news.


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