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Clearly emerging in Ambrose is the relationship between the dove and the Holy Spirit, who brings peace of heart and tranquility of soul De mysteriis 11. In the Expositio evangelii secundum Lucam 2,92, using christological and pneumatological interpretation, Ambrose invites Christians to live as the dove: Why as the dove? Because the grace of baptism requires simplicity, that we be as simple as doves. Tampa/St. Petersburg Subway Map The grace of baptism requires peace, which the dove, in the ancient prefiguration, brought to the ark which alone remained immune from the flood.
But the one who has now been marked out to descend in the form of a dove, has taught me that in that branch, in that ark, were the symbols of peace and of the church, since precisely in the midst of the flood of the world the Holy Spirit brings a fruitful peace to the church. Augustine, who uses the word dove at least 181 times in his writings, shows a strong dependence on Ambrose, not only in moral interpretation, encouraging the virtues in the life of Christians, but esp. dogmatically. In fact Augustine, following his teacher, brings into full light the significance of the dove in relation to trinitarian theology, starting from the narrative of Jesus’ baptism, which concludes with the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove in specie columbae. The identification of the dove with the Holy Spirit is so strong that at times Augustine calls it a dove. In this sense the dove is invoked to teach the faithful openness of heart, and to accept true peace in columba vera pax, unity in columba unitas and simplicity simplex ut columba.