On Making The Sign of the Cross

When I make the Sign of the Cross it reminds me of many spiritual truths.

"In the name of "... I ask in His name, as He commanded.

"the Father"...God the Father, the 1st person of the Blessed Trinity should be on my mind, at the top of the Cross, a heavenly Father above.

" and the Son"...God the Son, the 2nd person of the Blessed Trinity should be near my heart. He descended from heaven, incarnated into Jesus Christ for my salvation. He is where the Cross touches the earth, directly from the Father above.

"and the Holy Spirit"...God the Holy Ghost, the 3rd person of the Blessed Trinity completes the Cross. Taking it from one side of me, one shoulder, to the other - across, like an all-encompassing embrace. I am now horizontally and vertically consumed by God's Sacrificial Love.

That's how it feels to me and what I think of as I try to reverently and deliberately make this sacramental.

In doing so I remember the Cross, I honor the Cross. Isn't it the LEAST I can do? I believe in the Blessed Trinity, which it professes...I believe Christ suffered and died on the Cross to redeem us, which it traces... and He asked us to pray in His name, which it speaks aloud. So it is a privileged obligation to make the sign of the cross, never something to be ashamed of. It speaks of my belief in and the truths of the faith.

When I see others make it, it gives me comfort. I'd venture that many would have a memory of seeing the sign of the cross made in a moment and it brought them relief or peace. Seeing the Holy Father make it, eyes shining with love, comes to mind.

Making the sign of the cross is an ancient tradition.

"the marking of a little cross seems to be the most ancient. We have positive evidence in the early Fathers that such a practice was familiar to Christians in the second century. "In all our travels and movements", says Tertullian (De cor. Mil., iii), "in all our coming in and going out, in putting of our shoes, at the bath, at the table, in lighting our candles, in lying down, in sitting down, whatever employment occupieth us, we mark our foreheads with the sign of the cross". On the other hand this must soon have passed into a gesture of benediction, as many quotations from the Fathers in the fourth century would show. Thus St. Cyril of Jerusalem in his "Catecheses" (xiii, 36) remarks: "let us then not be ashamed to confess the Crucified. Be the cross our seal, made with boldness by our fingers on our brow and in every thing; over the bread we eat and the cups we drink, in our comings and in goings; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we awake; when we are travelling, and when we are at rest".

The Sign of the Cross reminds us of the Blessed Trinity and that God the Son died on the Cross. It revives our faith with belief in the Unity and Trinity of God and the Incarnation and Redemption. It strengthens our hope by recalling that all blessings come through the Cross and by fostering a habit of seeking aid through the Cross. Finally, it nourishes our charity symbolized by fortitude in acting as soldiers of Christ and Patience in disciples of Christ.

From EWTN - "The uses of this sacred sign in the Catholic Church are practically without limit:

According to many our Lord and the Apostles used it. Many affirm that our Lord blessed the Apostles with the sign of the cross on the day of His Ascension. Certainly the early Christians used it constantly.

It is used in all the public worship of our Church:

The sign of the cross in some form or other is made about 54 times during Holy Mass.

It is used frequently in the Divine Office or daily prayer of the priest.

It is used in all blessings bestowed by bishop and priest.

It is used in all the sacraments: 14 times in Baptism; 17 times in Extreme Unction. Yes, even in the semi-darkness of the confessional the priest makes the sign of the cross over you.

It is used in everything blessed for the service of God—altars, linens, holy water, etc.

It is used frequently in personal devotions:

In the morning and evening to seek God's help.

Before and after prayer, against distractions.

Before and after meals, asking God's blessing.

In dangers of soul, like temptation and occasions of sin.

In dangers of body like storms, sickness, travel.

Before our chief actions and undertakings, to make them pleasing to God and to obtain God's help in performing them properly.

The Enchiridion of Indulgences of 1968 which states at grant 55: "A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful, who devoutly sign themselves with the sign of the cross, while saying the customary words: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. "] [For more on Roman Catholic Indulgences see the page on our site.]

This holy symbol of our salvation, then, should be frequently used by us. It teaches us our true dignity. It reminds us that we are the brethren of Jesus Christ. In making the sign of the cross we become partakers in the wonderful history of our faith, and companions of the glorious saints of our Church. We are soldiers, and this is our weapon. The cross of our Redeemer has vanquished death, has overthrown the dominion of Satan. Let us, then, re-echo the words of St. Paul: "God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."

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