Is It Okay To Do The Sign Of The Cross With The Left Hand – Especially For Left-Handed Kids?
Do you know why Catholics have a history of shunning left-handedness? It is not scientific, but the left hand was associated with the devil, so people who were left-handed were guilty by association as if their handedness was a sign that they were evil. We can not say outrightly that this is wrong, but definitely, Jesus doesn’t particularly mind which hand anyone uses for anything, contrary to the efforts of many and some old nuns.
The very word “left” comes from the old English word “Lyft” which means “weak, worthless”. In Latin, the word “sinister” originally meant “left” until it took on the meanings of “evil” or “unlucky”. The list of devil associations with the left hand is numerous. For instance, it was known that Satan used his left hand to ‘baptize’. Witches greet Satan with the left hand. Notice that according to tradition, the good thief was crucified to Jesus’ right hand and the unrepentant one was crucified to his left. Why was it that thief at Jesus’ left the “bad one”?
Also, for this reason, depictions of the crucifixion of Jesus often show Jesus’ head inclined or tilted to the right, showing his acceptance of the Penitent thief or “Good thief” as popularly known.
In most cultures, the left hand is used to as what is referred to as “cleansing of oneself”, so the left hand was considered unclean. It is not a sign of courtesy, even today, to offer someone your left hand in greeting and friendship. Neither is it right to give or accept something with the left hand. These cultural roots are old and deep and no wonder why people and old nuns fought to ‘cure’ lefties.
In ancient times, even the Christians and religious believed that the left-handed ones were cursed. Perhaps they believed all of that in a “Jesus vs. the devil” sort of way, but it was a superstition, and going around whacking the knuckles of left-handed kids because “they might be left-handed because of the devil” was superstitious.
After all is said, it is good to encourage kids to use their right hands when making the sign of the cross.
When the “Pledge of Allegiance” is said, don’t you instruct them to place their right hand over their hearts? Do they shake hands with other people using their left hands?
Maybe, the real reason we shake hands with our right hands is that shaking with the right allows one to protect oneself by having the shield ready in the left hand. Or maybe, you actually shake hands with the right hand to prove you do not have a sword in your hand, as warriors used their dominant arm for the sword, and the less-dominant for the shield. Whatever the reasons might be, I am sure it has more to do with the left hand being literally unclean in so many cultures. But we shake with the right hand and that’s just the way it’s done. The same way, the Sign of the Cross is made with the right hand, and that’s also how it’s done.
The Roman Catholics, touch their heads, their hearts, their left shoulders and then their right shoulders when doing the Sign Of The Cross. Do not pass up the opportunity to teach little kids left from right by using the Sign of the Cross.
Left hand is “sinister” in the latin. Right hand, “dexter”. It’s accepted tradition to make the sign of the cross with your right. Perhaps why the Warrior Nun show got cancelled, huh?