Where do we necessarily use the Sign of the Cross?
The manual sign of the Cross is made in so many situations and is both liturgical and devotional. It is used in:
- Use by new Catechumens at the Rites of Christian Initiation for Adults,
- We use it at Mass when it is done by the Priest on the Gospel of the Bible,
- By the Parishioners when they hear the Word of God at Mass (mark is made on the forehead, the lips, and theheart).
- In extreme unction (the ancient Anointment of the Sick) the sign of the cross was made over the sick organ(s)too.
- It is being made over the lips in the “Domine labia mea aperies” of the Divine Office.
- And over the host and chalice after the words of consecration had been made at the Mass, when transubstantiation takes place to change the host and wine to the body and blood of Christ.
- The sign of the Cross is also made 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 also do the sign of the cross when we hear the Holy Name of Jesus taken in vain.
- And when we walk through a Catholic church where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the tabernacle.
- It is made in the air with the hand, as a blessing for the faithful, which is reserved for the use of ordained clergy, Bishops.
Still, with the horror of the cross and crucifixion, bearing in mind that Jesus died such a death, Christians chose the cross as a symbol to identify themselves with. It seems certain that, at least from the early Christians, the cross does not represent pain, torture, and death. Rather, it symbolizes God’s love for his people and also the new life we are able to have through Him. Leave it to God to change one thing as ugly as the cross into a gorgeous image of affection and life.