The flag, symbol of patriotism, rays red and white emanating from the Heart
of Jesus, symbol of God’s merciful love,
blue sky, morning star are both symbols of Mary’s mantle of protection
and her ability to guide us safely to the port of salvation. Symbols are physical and material signs that
have a profound spiritual reality hidden behind them.
One of the clearest symbols of
Catholicism is the sign of the cross:
“In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Amen.
How frequently this gesture is done, but how easy to fall into a mere
mechanical and perfunctory gesture, almost losing real meaning!
When was the last time you stopped to
reflect on the profound meaning of the sign of the cross??? Maybe never!
Maybe nobody ever explained the sign of the cross to you!!!! Religiosity
without catechetical explanation degenerates into superstition! Hippies wearing Rosaries, Psychic Readers
with smoke and incense, Bus drivers displaying both images of Mary and indecent
pictures, side by side--- all of this points to religiosity without education,
The sign of the cross is done with
the right hand, palm fully open; then the hand to the forehead, down to the
chest and crossing over to the left shoulder—a wide sweep, and finally the
crossing to the right shoulder, and then the folding of the hands. The words accompanying the gesture are: “In
the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Amen
There are two basic spiritual truths
embodied in the Sign of the Cross. The First, is the profession of the most
profound mystery of the Christian-Catholic faith--- the MOST BLESSED TRINTIY! The sign mentions the three Persons of the
Blessed Trinity--- the Father, who is the Creator, the Son, who is the Redeemer
and Savior, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, who is the Sanctifier.
Every time the sign of the cross is
made, implicitly we should be reminded of our Baptism, when through the pouring
of water and the expression of the words of the Trinity, we became Sons of God,
Brothers to Jesus Christ, and intimate Friends of the Holy Spirit, all
combined—temples of the Blessed Trinity! As Pope St. Leo the Great remarked
with profound reverence--- “Christians recognize your dignity!”
Furthermore, the Sign of the cross
calls to mind the love that Jesus has for all of humanity, but in particular
for you and me. The cross! The body is signed by the cross! Jesus willingly underwent his agony, to the
point of shedding every drop of His Precious Blood for your salvation and mine!
Every time we make the sign of the cross we should be thankful for Jesus’
sacrifice of total self-giving and once again recognize our dignity. We were not saved/ redeemed by silver nor
gold, nor the blood of animals but by the Blood of the Lamb of God who takes
away the sins of the world!
Therefore, upon making the sign of
the cross we should call to mind the Mystery of the most Blessed Trinity and
Good Friday—Jesus’ death on the cross(the outpouring of His Precious
Blood). As St. Ignatius of Loyola
insists on reminding us that this was done for me individually.
When, then, should we make the Sign
of the Cross? ANYTIME! ANYWHERE!
However, there are specific “prime-times” that we should sign ourselves!
UPON AWAKENING! Our first gesture that we should make upon awaking
is the sign of the cross and then Our Morning Offering.
MEAL-TIME! Meals should be blessed, thanked, consumed
with grateful hearts; however, the meal-blessing is always preceded by the Sign
of the Cross!
PARENTS BLESS YOUR CHILDREN! Parents should get into the habit of blessing
their children—if possible even with Holy Water. When? Sending them off to school, putting them to
bed. Parents, as primary educators of
their children, can and should bless their children!
With the Rosary beads, preceded by the cross, this powerful Marian
prayer starts with the sign of the cross, and should end with the sign of the
TEMPTATIONS! Life is a battle field from birth till death! Once an elderly nun told St. Faustina that
old age does not excuse anybody from the battle! Until our dying breath we are
soldiers in the army of Christ. Assaults from the devil can be conquered by
quick recourse to fervent prayer, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary
and by the sign of the cross! Once an
enemy of St. Benedict tried to poison him, offering him a cup! The saint blessed the cup and it shattered
into bits and pieces, saving the saint from poisoning!
TRIPS! Taking off on trips should always involve
inviting Jesus, Mary and Joseph, as well as the Archangel St. Raphael. However,
travelers’ prayers should start with the Sign of the cross!
EXORCISMS. Of course any former exorcism includes
prayers to St. Joseph, St Michael the Archangel, St. Benedict, the Blessed
Virgin Mary, the Holy Name of Jesus and many times the SIGN OF THE CROSS! Mortal fear and panic seizes the devil upon
the invocation of the Blessed Trinity in the Sign of the Cross!
ANY PRAYER/PRAYERS AT ANY TIME! Needless to say, all prayers should start
with the Sign of the Cross. This means
any time, any place, and any circumstance!
Remember this catholic symbol!
HOLY MASS! In the context of Holy Mass the sign of the
cross is frequently used! Just to mention a few: the greeting is Trinitarian
with the sign of the cross. Before
listening to the proclamation of the Holy Gospel, the priest as well as the
people, with their thumb, cross their forehead, lips and heart, with a small
sign of the cross Why? So that the Word
of God would be in our minds, lips, but especially in our hearts and lived out
to the full by fruits of holiness! Before the Consecration, the priest blesses
the Bread and wine with the sign of the cross.
Finally at the end of the Mass, the dismissal is concluded with the
blessing of the Blessed Trinity!
10. FUNERALS! Finally, leaving this world and travelling to
the next, the body is blest with Holy Water with the sign of the cross!
In conclusion, easily we can fall
into a mechanical religiosity, in which we simply do the motions and forget the
profound meaning behind the sacred actions.
Next time you make the sign of the cross, remember that by Baptism you were transformed into a living
Icon of the Blessed Trinity and that you were saved by the Blood that Jesus
shed for you and for me on the Sacred Cross.
“In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Amen!