Religious language provides both a vehicle for contact with the Holy and protection from its full force which, in the Biblical understanding, no one could completely see and yet live.
Symbols are this kind of necessary language. They allow a sensual-spiritual extension of one's insights, images, and other experiences of the Holy into concrete human forms. These forms function in various ways: they make the experience available again upon recall; they allow one to gain some readiness for and objective distance from particularly painful calls to change; they quicken one's notion of future possibilities when one gives oneself over to conversion; they offer a way to communicate faithfully and mutually with one's comrades as well as with the Holy itself in further encounters.
"Religious Imagination and Liturgical Time,"
University of Dayton Review: Vol. 14:
3, Article 7.
Available at: https://ecommons.udayton.edu/udr/vol14/iss3/7