why do we make the sign of the cross

It’s something that keeps cropping up in Christian Worship. In those days, Christians made the sign of the cross (Redemption) with three fingers (Trinity) on their foreheads. It … Through the tradition of the triple cross, we are asking the Lord to bless our minds and our hearts that they will be open to hear the Gospel, so we might proclaim through our lips the good news of Jesus to all the world. Not merely saying, “amen” but sending the holy prayer before the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in declaration and action. There are slight differences in how it is made between the various rites of the Church, but they are all legitimate. Surprisingly, though, there is nothing in the rubrics about the laypeople making this sign. At Mass, why do we make the Sign of the Cross on our foreheads, lips and hearts right before the Gospel? Making the Sign of the Cross may be the most common of all actions that Catholics do. We just have to open the door. [1] X Research source [2] X Research source We are also acknowledging that baptism joined us to the Body of Christ and equipped us for our role of collaborating with the Lord in His work of rescuing all people from sin and death. Crossing oneself is an act of sanctification.. Our souls, our bodies, and our lives are sanctified—set … The Sign of the Cross is a profession of faith in God as He has revealed himself. The Sign of the Cross and Our Baptism. Follow this tradition in Latin Rite and Protestant churches. This sign declares that, through our baptism, we belong to God. After moving from top to bottom they move from left to right. The sign of the cross speaks and confesses. Because this is the natural way of writing. So, let us recognize the power of what we do when we pray, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” It is a powerful prayer, a sacramental of the Church. The practice of crossing one’s self is an ancient practice and is derived from such passages as Deuteronomy 6:8, Ezekiel 9:4, Revelation 7:3, 9:4, and 14:1. Surprisingly, though, there is nothing in the rubrics about the laypeople making this sign. Why? This sign declares that, through our baptism, we belong to God. Pray. Prayers may also be made by gestures. Gospel means "good news." The sign of the cross sets us apart from other men. Answer: The right hand, probably in part due to the fact that most people are right-handed, is traditionally the hand of blessing and greeting in many cultural settings, a convention found in Scripture and Tradition. Words often accompany the sign of the cross, but they are not essential. Second, powerful symbolic gestures, when examined up close, say more than one thing. If we use an open hand with all five fingers extended, we express an openness to Christ and symbolize his five wounds. St. Augustine (d. 430) mentioned and described it many times in his sermons and letters. When we make this sign of the cross, in any form, it’s an outward act to profess our inward faith in the Trinity. Along this thought, this gesture has been used since the earliest times of the Church to … Because the sign of the cross has been so associated with this Trinitarian formula, when we sign ourselves, we are also marking ourselves as orthodox Christians who worship and love the Triune God. Making the sign of the cross, or blessing oneself or crossing oneself, is a ritual blessing made by members of some branches of Christianity. Those who are in holy orders bless by making the sign of the cross in the air toward the persons or things to be blessed, but layfolk bless others only by using their finger, usually the thumb. As this invocation is made, an increasing number of Lutherans trace the sign of the cross over their bodies from forehead to lower chest, then from shoulder to shoulder and back to the heart; and others trace a small cross on their foreheads. In a way, when we combine this gesture with a vocal prayer, we make two prayers. Historically, the sign has also been viewed as representing the trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Why do we use our right hand instead of our left hand to make the sign of the cross? The reason for making a cross during this period of the Mass is to highlight the importance of the Word of … They said, it will bring God’s blessings into the one who receives that sign—or makes the sign of the cross, it will bring God’s blessing in their life. I've found that the sign of the cross is a way to put to death self-indulgence — those big problems we have, the stubborn things we can't get rid of. Answer: The right hand, probably in part due to the fact that most people are right-handed, is traditionally the hand of blessing and greeting in many cultural settings, a convention found in Scripture and Tradition. It is a Prayer we say - when words fail us (example in times of an emergency - and i need a result - quick!!). Not merely saying, “amen” but sending the holy prayer before the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in declaration and action. Some athletes make the sign during competition on the field. Answered by Fr. Sign of Grace, Sign of Glory. At baptism the Lord claimed us as His own by marking us with the Sign of the Cross. Words often accompany the sign of the cross, but they are not essential. When we sign ourselves we are declaring that in baptism we died sacramentally with Christ on the cross and rose to a new life with Him (see Rom 6:3-4 and Gal 2:20). It still works the same way for us. Technically, the sign of the cross is a sacramental, a sacred sign instituted by the Church which prepares a person to receive grace and which sanctifies a moment or circumstance. So, let us recognize the power of what we do when we pray, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” In the name of the Father Because we are both body and soul (a human being is not one or the other; a human being is both! After moving from top to bottom they move from left to right. Jeremy Driscoll O.S.B, writes, “A solemn and more meaningful beginning cannot be imagined.” 1 In thinking of the actual sign of the cross itself Fr. First-century Christians began making the Sign of the Cross as a reminder and renewal of what happened to them when they were baptized. Why do we have to make the Sign of the Cross physically? The gestures remind our bodies as the words remind our minds of what we believe and what we are doing. –the sign made with the right hand to the forehead. When we sign ourselves we are declaring that in baptism we died sacramentally with Christ on the cross and rose to a new life with him (see Rom 6:3-4 and Gal 2:20). By making it, we profess the central truths of our faith: that God became one of us, with a human body and soul; that he died on the cross to save us; and that our own bodies and souls share in the same power of the Savior whereby we are freed from sin and death and brought to the resurrection and the life of heaven. As far as I know, bishops (and priests) in the Roman Empire have always made the sign of the cross as a blessing over the people by writing the sign of the cross in the air. The signum crucis, the sign of the cross, is powerful because it marks us as children of God who have thrown off the slavery of Satan and embraced the Cross of Christ as the way to salvation.The Cross destroyed death and hell, and through it, Jesus redeemed the world. The prayer remains the same. From the first Easter morning through the present, the Sign of the Cross makes the devil cower and flee. The reader is exactly right, however: Eastern Catholics (and Eastern Orthodox) make the Sign of the Cross by touching their right shoulder first. Filipino worshippers wave palm fronds in front of crucifix during Palm Sunday Mass March 25 in Manila, Philippines. By make the sign of the cross, we acknowledge that he has redeemed us, and that through baptism we have … We begin and end our prayers with the Sign of the Cross, perhaps not realizing that the sign is … By making it, we profess the central truths of our faith: that God became one of us, with a human body and soul; that he died on the cross to save us; and that our own bodies and souls share in the … Now, all religions have gestures that express a devout attitude before the divine or heavenly beings they invoke, but the gesture that is most expressly Christian, and used only by Christians, is the sign of the cross. Mass is a service filled with prayers, tradition, and remembrance of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In his book “What Happens at Mass,” Fr. The use of three fingers became popular in the 9th century. The Sign of the Cross and Our Baptism. Anyway, I hope that helps newbies and even oldies who had never thought about why we do that. Jesus promised us that suffering would be a normal part of a disciple’s life (see Lk 9:23-24). – S.M. Why do we make the sign of the cross at Mass after the procession, entrance chant, and the veneration of the Altar? The sign of the cross can be made in any position, but is commonly paired with the act of genuflection (kneeling on one knee as a sign of respect). This kind of spiritual attack involves not only an increasingly common psychological pathology, but also illustrates that our minds and bodies are connected. It is also wrong to believe that the sign of the cross is something magic that protects you from harm. The sign of the cross is made by touching the hand to one’s forehead, then to the chest and then to each shoulder. But, more importantly, the sign is also an offensive weapon, helping us reclaim with Christ all that Satan lost at the cross. This is shown by the fact that the earliest mentions of the sign of the cross speak of it as an already established custom and simply encourage the faithful to make it correctly. Words often accompany the sign of the cross, but they are not essential. It announces our cooperation with Jesus in the indomitable advance of the kingdom of God against the kingdom of darkness. If we use an open hand with all five fingers extended, we express an openness to Christ and symbolize his five wounds. The making of the sign of the cross, professing faith both in the redemption of Christ and in the Trinity, was practiced from the earliest centuries. This kind of spiritual attack involves not only an increasingly common psychological pathology, but also illustrates that our minds and bodies are connected. The two fingers symbolized the divine and human natures of Christ. The signum crucis, the sign of the cross, is powerful because it marks us as children of God who have thrown off the slavery of Satan and embraced the Cross of Christ as the way to salvation.The Cross destroyed death and hell, and through it, Jesus redeemed the world. Catholics use the sign of the cross daily in Mass and prayer. God’s children are hidden with Christ in God, and no one can take us from God’s hand. It is the countersign of the Christian. A. The Church Fathers say if you are angry, full of lust, fearful, emotional or grappling with fleshly problems, make the sign when tempted and it will help dispel the problem. If we hold three fingers together while making the sign of the cross, they symbolize the trinity, and the two other fingers together represent Christ’s two natures, that he is fully man and fully divine. Catholics use the sign of the cross daily in Mass and prayer. They said. If a person raises his hand too quickly to cross himself, he risks striking the ciborium or chalice, which could cause an accident with the Eucharist. We are announcing our faith in what God has done — the creation of all things, the redemption of humanity from sin and death, and the establishment of the Church, which offers new life to all. Both actions remind us of the two thieves who were crucified alongside Christ. Q. A mini-creed. There are several reasons why we make the sign of the cross physically. When the devil watched Jesus die on the cross, he mistakenly believed he had won a great victory. Not all prayers are made with words. Driscoll Man is composed of a soul and a body. Sometimes Catholics may make a quick Sign of the Cross when receiving bad news, or when sirens pass, as a way of praying for those involved. Praying the sign of the cross is so common that we often rush through it without thinking much about it. Christians, like followers of all other religions, practically always pray by the position of the body—say, kneeling or standing—and of the arms and hands—for example, praying with hands outstretched or folded in front. The sign of the cross is also made during prayer, often on two knees, but it can also be performed standing up, or even lying down, as … The Sign of the Cross is a profession of faith in God as He has revealed himself. By make the sign of the cross, we acknowledge that he has redeemed us, and that through baptism we have … That much alone would be enough to transform us spiritually, wouldn’t it? As such the body is united in the prayer of the soul though a physical action. When used in this way,the large Sign of the Cross is made in the air. Some may make the sign as they drive past a cemetery as a quick prayer for the dead who are buried there. Notes: There are slight variations of the triple sign of the cross which are less complicated. The sign of the cross sets us apart from other men. Narrator: As often as we make the sign of the cross, repeating at the same time these words: [On-screen graphic] An indulgence of 100 days is granted for making the sign of the cross and saying the words. By the 6th century, people were using the first two fingers, held together to make a large Sign of the Cross, touching the forehead, chest, and shoulders. They said, it’s a good sign. Our protection is not the cross, but the Name of God which is a strong tower and the righteous run into it and are saved. Third, make the sign to declare that you belong to Christ as His disciple and will obey Him. We make the Sign of the Cross, we sit attentively to the Word, we stand at attention for the Gospel, we bow during a section of Creed, we kneel during the Consecration, and so on. Now, when we sign ourselves, we are affirming our loyalty to Him. and of the Holy Spirit. We need to do better as Catholics and not presume that everyone knows, even our own children, everything that we are doing. In a way, when we combine this gesture with a vocal prayer, we make two prayers. Both actions remind us of the two thieves who were crucified alongside Christ. and of the Son Laypersons as well as clergy can use it to bless others. At the same time, however, it comforts us with the realization that Jesus, who endured the Crucifixion for us, now joins us in our suffering and supports us. The gestures remind our bodies as the words remind our minds of what we believe and what we are doing. Second, mark yourself remembering that you died with Christ in baptism. The sign of the cross represents the victory of Jesus Christ over death. But, more importantly, the sign is also an offensive weapon, helping us reclaim with Christ all that Satan lost at the cross. Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search, Helping Catholics know & love the Lord and his Church. The reason for making a cross during this period of the Mass is to highlight the importance of the Word of … Basil the Great tells us that the apostles themselves taught the sign of the cross. Many also touch their right shoulder up higher than their left shoulder. The mystical aspect aside, tracing the sign of the cross is neither right nor wrong and can be positive if it serves to remind a person of the cross of Christ and/or the trinity. Why do we make the sign of the cross at Mass after the procession, entrance chant, and the veneration of the Altar? The same word named a shepherd’s brand on his sheep, a general’s tattoo on his soldiers, a householder’s mark on his servants, and the Lord’s mark on His disciples. We are asking the Lord to renew in us those baptismal graces. This “lay blessing” is common in Catholic cultures, made by parents on their children before bed or before going out or on a trip. Making the triple Sign of the Cross like this before the Gospel is a longstanding tradition. When we make the sign of the cross, what we are doing is A) remembering our Baptism; B) Remembering Jesus’ death for our sins; C) Confessing to the world that I am not ashamed to be known as a disciple of Jesus; and D) Holding up the cross of Christ as the central core of my identity. As this invocation is made, an increasing number of Lutherans trace the sign of the cross over their bodies from forehead to lower chest, then from shoulder to shoulder and back to the heart; and others trace a small cross on their foreheads. As Hispanic Catholics say when they make the sign of the cross, “By the sign of the holy cross, from our enemies, deliver us, O Lord!”. First, sign yourself professing your faith in God. Making the triple Sign of the Cross like this before the Gospel is a longstanding tradition. We don’t see in the New Testament that any of our Lord Jesus’ disciples made the sign of the Cross or taught others to do so. When He was still on the earth, Lord Jesus talked and taught the people about the Cross the following: From want of reflection, we fail to attach to the Sign of the Cross the importance that it … Along this thought, this gesture has been used since the earliest times of the Church to … Instead, the Lord surprised him with an ignominious defeat (see 1 Cor 2:8). By tracing the cross on our bodies, we are denying that we belong to ourselves and declaring that we belong to Him alone (see Lk 9:23). It is a prayer to God and He knows exactly what we need. We make the Sign of the Cross, we sit attentively to the Word, we stand at attention for the Gospel, we bow during a section of Creed, we kneel during the Consecration, and so on. Why do we make the Sign of the Cross? Others raise the index and middle fingers together, symbolizing Christ's divine and human natures. Driscoll Catholics occasionally make the Sign of the Cross casually, just as a nice gesture for commencing and ending their prayers. Before making the sign of the cross it is better for the communicant to wait a second for some distance to open up between himself and the minister. 1. We are not angels or simply spirits), we pray with both. If we hold three fingers together while making the sign of the cross, they symbolize the trinity, and the two other fingers together represent Christ’s two natures, that he is fully man and fully divine. If we do not respect this connection, we are open to all kinds of dangers — psychological, physiological, and spiritual. Yes, the sign of the cross is the salute of the true follower of Christ whether he is conqueror or conquered, whether he is German, Chinese, American or Australian. Making the Sign of the Cross expresses our decision to crucify these desires of the flesh and to live by the Spirit. Scripture, the Church Fathers and saints, and Catholic teaching offer six perspectives on the Sign of the Cross that reveal why making it opens us to life-transforming graces. Through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His substitutionary death on the cross, salvation is extended as a free gift to all of humanity. Finally, make the sign to crucify your flesh and to put on Christ and His behaviors. Jeremy Driscoll O.S.B, writes, “A solemn and more meaningful beginning cannot be imagined.” 1 In thinking of the actual sign of the cross itself Fr. The sign of the cross was made simply with the fingers (the index or the thumb) on the forehead or lips or breast (as Latin-rite Catholics do at the beginning of the Gospel lesson) or with the whole hand over the torso. A: The rubrics don’t call for the faithful to cross themselves after receiving Communion. The reader is exactly right, however: Eastern Catholics (and Eastern Orthodox) make the Sign of the Cross by touching their right shoulder first. Making the triple Sign of the Cross like this before the Gospel is a longstanding tradition. This blessing is made by the tracing of an upright cross or + across the body with the right hand, often accompanied by spoken or mental recitation of the trinitarian formula: "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. An indulgence of 300 days for making the sign of the cross, with holy water. In a way, when we combine this gesture with a vocal prayer, we make two prayers. This method is more common in the Western Catholic Church, and in Protestant traditions that support the sign of the cross, including most Anglican and Lutheran churches. Fourth, sign yourself to embrace whatever suffering comes and to celebrate your suffering with Christ for the Church. It would be great if this custom could be revived. The thumb is often bent to touch the ring finger in the two-finger position. If we do not respect this connection, we are open to all kinds of dangers — psychological, physiological, and spiritual. Why do we use our right hand instead of our left hand to make the sign of the cross? It is also used as an improvised prayer to ward off evil or to bless oneself in a time of prayer or need. Bert Ghezzi is the author of numerous books, most recently “The Sign of the Cross: Recovering the Power of the Ancient Prayer” (Loyola, 2006). Man is composed of a soul and a body. A. But when we learn to take this act seriously, signing ourselves often with faith and reverence, remarkable results can take place. What is the sign of the cross, and why do we make it? Catholics often make the Sign of the Cross casually, just as a nice gesture for beginning and ending their prayers. On one level, then, making the sign is a defensive move, declaring our inviolability to the devil’s influence. As such the body is united in the prayer of the soul though a physical action. The first, most simple reason is it a Prayer. There are several reasons why we make the sign of the cross physically. It is a prayer to God and He knows exactly what we need. Why do we make the Sign of the Cross? Many other hand shapes are also in use. So when we mark our bodies with the sign, we are embracing whatever pain comes as a consequence of our faith in Christ. Edward McIlmail, LC. In particular, it is the special salute of the Catholic. We also use it, in both large and small versions, to bless others or things, such as a rosary. Every time we listen to the Gospel Jesus is knocking at the door of our heart, waiting to get in. From the first Easter morning through the present, the Sign of the Cross makes the devil cower and flee. Right now, you can imprint in your heart these six truths about the Sign of the Cross by making it six times, each time applying one of the perspectives. Like tossing off a dirty shirt or blouse, making the sign indicates our stripping ourselves of our evil inclinations and clothing ourselves with the behaviors of Christ (see Col 3:5-15). Should we make the sign of the cross after receiving the Blessed Sacrament? In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. The use of the sign … Go through these six signings often in your morning prayer — and watch the grace flow through this ancient sacramental in the days to come. Many also touch their right shoulder up higher than their left shoulder. Sign of Grace, Sign of Glory. Many worshippers make the sign of the cross with an open hand, their five fingers reminding them of the five wounds of Christ. Unfortunately, such is not always the case, and many people simply go through the motions of the ritual of signing themselves without a knowledge of why they do it. When we make this sign of the cross, in any form, it’s an outward act to profess our inward faith in the Trinity. The sign of the cross is a marker of belief in the Triune God. I notice, however, that many Catholics do make the sign of the cross at that time. On one level, then, making the sign is a defensive move, declaring our inviolability to the devil’s influence. What does the Bible have to say about the sign of the cross? We find ourselves doing measurably better in our Christian life: praying with more passion, resisting our bad inclinations more effectively, and relating to others more kindly. The shape of the sign is a reminder of the cross of Christ. Amen. Christians who practice making the sign of the cross believe it is an acknowledgment of God’s … The first, most simple reason is it a Prayer. The sign of the cross is used in several Christian traditions, but it is most prominent in Catholic and Orthodox tradition. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila questioned the actions of "kings who use violence" to intimidate the weak as he led Palm Sunday observances that opened Holy Week. There is nothing superstitious or rote about making the sign of the cross. Catholics occasionally make the Sign of the Cross casually, just as a nice gesture for commencing and ending their prayers. But when we learn to take this act seriously, signing ourselves often with faith and reverence, remarkable results can take place. Why do we have to make the Sign of the Cross physically? Signing ourselves also announces another significant truth: with St. Paul, we are celebrating that our afflictions as members of the body of Christ contribute to the Lord’s saving work of perfecting the Church in holiness (see Col 1:24). Mass is a service filled with prayers, tradition, and remembrance of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So, no matter how strongly we are tempted, we can use the Sign of the Cross to activate our freedom in Christ and conquer even our besetting sins. First-century Christians began making the sign of the cross as a reminder and renewal of what happened to them when they were baptized. So, let us recognize the power of what we do when we pray, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” It affords us powerful protection against the demons and our own weak nature. All may make the sign of the cross, the sign marked at baptism, as the presiding minister begins. We all make this holy sign, but how many of us give any thought to the mysteries it signifies! It is thus that the ox and the horse browse on the sweet flowers hidden in the meadow grass, unconscious that they are there. It serves as an abbreviated form of the Apostles’ Creed. Fifth, make the Sign of the Cross as a defense against the devil and as an offensive advance of God’s kingdom against him. Making the sign of the cross says something, and when it is done in public (for example, at the blessing before meals in a public place) it is also an act of faith. Now, all religions have gestures that express a devout attitude before the divine or heavenly beings they invoke, but the gesture that is most expressly Christian, and used only by Christians, is the sign of the cross. Making the sign is our taking up the cross and following Him (Lk 9:23). (CNS photo/Romeo Ranoco, Reuters) See TAGLE-PALM-SUNDAY March 27, 2018. on Six Reasons Why We Make the Sign of the Cross, Servant of God Julia Greeley: A patron for living a life of mercy toward others, Theological Anthropology 101: The Church’s View on Gender Ideology, Biblical guidelines to Christian cheerfulness, Hearing God Speak: Using the Daily Examen. But when we learn to take this act seriously, signing ourselves frequently with faith and reverence, remarkable results can take place. Touching our forehead, breast and shoulders (and in some cultures, our lips as well), we declare our belief in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As far as I know, bishops (and priests) in the Roman Empire have always made the sign of the cross as a blessing over the people by writing the sign of the cross in the air. But there is much, much more. All may make the sign of the cross, the sign marked at baptism, as the presiding minister begins. We make it when we begin and end our prayers; we make it when we enter and leave a church; we start each Mass with it; we may even make it when we hear the Holy Name of Jesus taken in vain and when we pass a Catholic church where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the tabernacle. WHY WE MAKE THE SIGN OF THE CROSS. Surprisingly, though, there is nothing in the rubrics about the laypeople making this sign. Nowhere in the Bible, God teaches us that we should make the sign of the cross. We use it to call God's blessing upon us. It still works the same way for us. Joining together 2 fingers and thumb we touch first our forehead, then move down to the bottom of the chest, back up and over to the left shoulder, across to the right shoulder. When we sign ourselves we are making ourselves aware of God’s presence and opening ourselves to His action in our lives. The Church Fathers used the same word for the Sign of the Cross that the ancient world employed to indicate ownership. Technically, the sign of the cross is a sacramental, a sacred sign instituted by the Church which prepares a person to receive grace and which sanctifies a moment or circumstance. Or what is the Church’s teaching on this subject? Signing ourselves recognizes that we are Christ’s sheep and can count on His care; His soldiers, commissioned to work with Him in advancing His kingdom on earth; and His servants, dedicated to doing whatever He tells us. The Sign of the Cross is primarily a blessing. At Mass, why do we make the Sign of the Cross on our foreheads, lips and hearts right before the Gospel? In the New Testament, the word fleshsums up all the evil inclinations of our old nature that persist in us even after we die with Christ in baptism (see Gal 5:16-22). Tomkin learns a very special way to keep Christ close to him throughout the day—THE SIGN OF THE CROSS. The Sign of the Cross, after all, is not merely a pious gesture. Once we grasp them, we can make the gesture with more faith and experience its great blessings. St. It is a Prayer we say - when words fail us (example in times of an emergency - and i need a result - quick!!). The Church Fathers taught that the Sign of the Cross diffused the force of powerful temptations such as anger and lust. Amen." A. Before we look at why the cross may be made at these places, first a word on how to make the sign of the cross. At Mass, why do we make the Sign of the Cross on our foreheads, lips and hearts right before the Gospel?

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