Making the Sign of the Cross


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  • April 11, 2013

    What Kind Of God Is Your God? Tell Us. The Sign of the Cross is the sign of the most Holy Trinity. It is a powerful sign. Like the most Holy Mass, it is a living and breathing monument to the radical, love driven sacrifice of one of themselves, Jesus, the Son of God, for us. The saying of it makes a connection between earth and heaven through which a close encounter takes place between you and them. Invoke it often. Keep it ever before you as you make your escape on the "highway of holiness" through the hostile desert from slavery under the yoke of pharaoh to freedom with God in the promised land. When you are asked to describe your God, use the Sign of the Cross to explain the most Holy Trinity to your interrogator. Come, let us relearn the meaning of this simple prayer --- that is all too often perfunctorily prayed --- by praying it meaningfully together. Name the Father and point to the head of Jesus crowned with thorns. Say that God is the King of Kings who let us torture and kill him and then forgave us to prove to us that his generous love for us is beyond our wildest imagination. Name the Son and point to the feet of Jesus pierced by a nail. Say that God trod the earth, not above us as God, but with us as one of us - an equal to us in our humanity - a partner with us in our suffering. Name the Holy Spirit and point to the right and left arms of Jesus pierced by nails. Say that despite all of the evils we have done to Him, the arms of God still remain open wide and ready to embrace us in a great bear hug of overwhelming love if we would but turn to Him and start the journey home to Him. Say Amen and fold your hands together to form the point of the spear that pierced the side of Jesus to confirm that our heinous crime against God was lethal. Say that God wants nothing from us other than that we reap and enjoy the rich harvest that comes from our earnest contemplation of His radical, love driven sacrifice for us. You may be too busy to go to Mass or Confession. But what is your excuse for not making a meaningful Sign of the Cross? The rule of reciprocity is this: Show God your faith and God will show you His divinity. In order to straighten out our relationships with our brothers and sisters, it is necessary first to straighten out our relationship with God.

  • Leo HumphreysOctober 25, 2010 Why do we use our RIGHT hand when making the sign of the cross?

  • Hope HarderSeptember 16, 2010

    As a convert, I have always found beauty and comfort from making the Sign of the Cross. I loved this article and am making copies of it to share with some of my fellow Catholics with whom I work. As an academician, I was impressed with the scholarship and research in the article but I was much more impressed with the obvious love and veneration the author had for the act of making the Sign of the Cross. I hope Catholic Digest will publish more articles by the author.

  • patrick kSeptember 14, 2010

    Great article and a welcome reminder.

  • Polly WojnaroskiSeptember 12, 2010

    I truly appreciated this article since I was baptized and raised in the Byzantine Catholic Church and learned to make the sign of the cross in the manner described for the Eastern Church. I still have to remind myself on occasion in my Roman Catholic Parish of St. Bruno, Whittier, CA to sign from left shoulder to right!!! All those years of religiious education - wonderful training in my Faith at St. Mary's, Johnstown, PA are deeply embedded. Thanks for a wonderful and enlightening article on the Sign of the Cross.

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