1. One is associated with the oneness of nature in God; also one divine person in Christ; one true Church founded by Christ; and there is one mortal life, one baptism, one death, and after death one judgment before eternity.
Scripture — The Shema: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone” (Dt 6:4).
2. Two represents the two distinct natures in Christ, human and divine; the two covenants of God with the human race, the Old and the New; there are two basic commandments, to love God and one’s neighbor as oneself; and the final separation on the Last Day into two groups, the saved and the lost.
Scripture — The children of Israel were forbidden to collect manna on the Sabbath and therefore were permitted to collect a double portion of manna on Friday (see Ex 16:5).
3. Three is the number of persons in the Trinity; Christ spent three days in the tomb and rose from the dead on the third day.
Scripture — The theological virtues are faith, hope and charity (see 1 Cor 13).
4. Four evangelists wrote the Gospels; the heavenly City of God is perfectly square, with all its dimensions a multiple of four; and there are four cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude.
Scripture — Four rivers flowed out of Eden (see Gn 2:10).
5. Five is derived from the Greek words forming the acrostic phrase “Jesus Christ, God’s Son Savior,” and taking the first letter in Greek from each word forms the Greek word for “fish”: Iota, Chi, Theta, Epsilon, Sigma = (ichthys) “FISH,” which became a symbol for Christ and a secret symbol for identifying Christians.
Scripture — Jesus feeds the five thousand (see Mt 14:13-21).
6. Six is associated with the days of creation, signifying completion and symbolizing the principal attributes of God — namely, his power, majesty, wisdom, love, mercy and justice.
Scripture — Jesus suffered on the Cross for six hours from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (see Mk 15:25-33).
7. Seven is the symbolic number of charity, grace and the Holy Spirit. It is the term that stands for perfection. There are seven sacraments, seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, seven deadly sins, seven joys and seven sorrows of Our Lady.
Scripture — Seven devils left Mary Magdalene, signifying the totality of her previous possession by Satan (see Lk 8:2).
8. Eight is seen as the number for joy and the Resurrection. There are eight beatitudes, and Christ rose from the grave on the eighth day after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, symbolized in the octagonal shape of many baptismal fonts.
Scripture — There are seven or eight Beatitudes, depending on how one counts them (see Mt 5:1-12).
9. Nine is the angelic number since the Bible speaks of the nine choirs of angels. It is also the typical number of devotional prayer, such as in a novena.
Scripture — It was the ninth hour in Jewish time (3 p.m.) when Jesus gave up His life on the cross (see Mt 27:46).
10. Ten stands for the Ten Commandments that Christ confirmed for His followers; it is the basic multiple for fullness, and any number multiplied by ten (or tens) represents the highest or greatest possible.
Scripture — Jesus heals the ten lepers (see Lk 17:11-19).