Indeed, The Sign of the Cross is a simple expression yet a powerful gesture of faith for both Catholic and Orthodox Christians.
It’s something we do when we go into a church, after we receive Communion, before meals, and anytime we pray. However, what precisely are we doing when we make the Sign of the Cross?
Beneath are reasons why the sign of the cross is important:
– It prepares us to open Ourselves to Grace.
As a sacramental, the Sign of the Cross helps us in receiving God’s blessing and disposes us to coact with His grace, with respect to Ghezzi.
– It Purifies Our Day
As a deed done throughout the salient moments of each day, the Sign of the Cross purifies our day. “At every step we take, at every going in and out, when we put on our clothes and shoes, when we bathe, when we sit at table, when we light the lamps, on couch, on seat, in all the ordinary actions of daily life, we trace upon the forehead the sign,” expressed Tertullian .
– It helps us to give our entire self to Christ
While moving our hands from our foreheads to our hearts and then both shoulders, we are requesting God’s blessing for our mind, our passions and desires, our very bodies. In other words, the Sign of the Cross commits us, body and soul, mind and heart, to Christ.“Let it take in your whole being—body, soul, mind, will, thoughts, feelings, your doing and not-doing—and by signing it with the cross strengthen and purify the whole in the strength of Christ, in the name of the triune God,” said twentieth-century theologian Romano Guardini.
– It helps us to remember the Incarnation
Our movement is downward, from our foreheads to our chest “because Christ descended from the heavens to the earth.” Pope Innocent III explained in his admonition on making the Sign of the Cross. Holding two fingers together—either the thumb with the ring finger or with index finger—also shows the two natures of Christ.
– It brings to our remembrance the Passion of Our Lord
Basically, in tracing out the outlines of a cross on ourselves, we are recalling Christ’s crucifixion. This remembrance intensifies if we keep our right-hand open, using all five fingers to make the sign— equivalent to the Five Wounds of Christ.
– It confirms our belief in the Trinity
Whenever we invoke the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we are affirming our belief in a triune God. This is also strengthened by using three fingers to make the sign, according to Pope Innocent III.
– It helps us to fix our attention to God in Prayer
Most often, one of the temptations we face during prayer is to communicate to God as we would talk to our buddy or a sort of cosmic genie by conceiving him like one of them. When this occurs, our prayer becomes more about us than an experience with the living God. The Sign of the Cross instantly focuses us on the true God, according to Ghezzi: “When we invoke the Trinity, we fix our attention on the God who made us, not on the God we have made. We fling our images aside and address our prayers to God as he has revealed himself to be: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
– Validates the procession of Son and Spirit
In first raising our hand to our forehead we recall that the Father is the first person in the Trinity. In bringing down our hand we “express that the Son comes from the Father.” And, in ending with the Holy Spirit, we show that the Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son, according to Francis de Sales.
– Revoke the curse
The Sign of the Cross recalls the forgiveness of sins and the revoking of the Fall by passing “from the left side of the curse to the right of blessing,” according to de Sales. The motion from left to right also shows our future passage from present misery to future glory just as Christ “crossed over from death to life and from Hades to Paradise,” Pope Innocent II expresses.