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The Sign Of The Cross

The Catholic Sign of the Cross is absolutely ancient, rooted not only in the Old
Testament but the New (Apocalypse speaks of those who have the sign of God
in their foreheads -- and those who have the sign of the Beast in their
foreheads). When Catholics undergo the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Bishop
(sometimes a priest) seals the sign on our foreheads with holy chrism. St. John
of Damascus wrote

This was given to us as a sign on our forehead, just as the circumcision was
given to Israel: for by it we believers are separated and distinguished from
unbelievers.

Crossing one's self recalls this seal, and the invocation that is said while making
this holy sign calls on our God -- the Father, His Son, and the Holy Ghost -- and
is a sign of our of belief; it is both a "mini-creed" that asserts our belief in the
Triune God, and a prayer that invokes Him. The use of holy water when making
this sign, such as we do when we enter a church, also recalls our Baptism and
should bring to mind that we are born again of water and Spirit, thanks be to
God.

Because of what the Sign indicates -- the very Cross of our salvation -- Satan
hates it, and our using it makes demons flee. Make the Sign in times of
temptation and confusion for great spiritual benefit!

Witness to the ancient practice:"

And the Lord said to him: Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of
Jerusalem: and mark Thau upon the foreheads of the men that sigh, and mourn
for all the abominations that are committed in the midst thereof." (Ezechiel 9:4)

Compare those words with the words of St. Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem (d. A.D.
386)


"Let us, therefore, not be ashamed of the Cross of Christ; but though another
hide it, do thou openly seal it upon thy forehead, that the devils may behold the
royal sign and flee trembling far away. Make then this sign at eating and
drinking, at sitting, at lying down, at rising up, at speaking, at walking: in a word,
at every act. "


With the Sign, we send a visible sign to the world and follow the advice of St.
Ephrem of Syria (died A.D. 373):


"Mark all your actions with the sign of the life giving Cross. Do not go out from
"the door of your house till you have signed yourself with the Cross. Do not
neglect that sign whether in eating or drinking or going to sleep, or in the home
or going on a journey. There is no habit to be compared with it. Let it be a
protecting wall round all your conduct, and teach it to your children that they
may earnestly learn the custom."


How to make the sign of the Cross.

Option A. Hold your index finger and middle finger of your right hand together to
signify the two natures of Christ, and tuck your thumb slightly towards the palm
of your hand. This is the most typical Western Catholic practice.


Option B. Hold your thumb and index finger of your right hand together to
signify the two natures of Christ


Option C. Hold your thumb, index finger, middle finger of your right hand
together (signifying the Trinity) while tucking the ring finger and pinky finger
(signifying the two natures of Christ) toward your palm. This is the typically
Eastern Catholic practice.


Option D: Hold your right hand open with all 5 fingers -- representing the 5
Wounds of Christ -- together and very slightly curved, and thumb slightly tucked
into palm

Then:

Touch the forehead as you say (or pray mentally) "In nomine Patris" ("In the
name of the Father")

Touch the breastbone or top of the belly as you say "et Filii" ("and of the Son")

Touch the left shoulder, then right shoulder, as you say "et Spiritus Sancti"
("and of the Holy Ghost"). Note that some people end the Sign by crossing the
thumb over the index finger to make a cross, and then kissing the thumb as a
way of "kissing the Cross."


When should you make the sign of the Cross.


Catholics should begin and end their prayers with the Sign of the Cross and
should cross themselves when passing a church to honor Jesus in the
Tabernacle, upon entering a church, and after receiving Communion. The sign is
made, too, in times of trouble or fear (e.g., when receiving bad news, in times of
temptation, when hearing an ambulance or fire truck go by), when passing a
cemetery, when seeing a Crucifix -- any time one wishes to honor and invoke
God.


More Signs of the Cross.

There are other signs of the Cross that Catholics make, too. One is made by
tracing a small Cross with the thumb of the right hand on people and things.
This sign is especially used by parents when blessing children by tracing the
sign on the children's foreheads..1 Sometimes the sign is traced on a book of
Sacred Scripture and then kissed before reading. The sign is also carved onto
loaves of bread before cutting, etc.


Another sign is the large sign made in the air by bishops and priests when
blessing persons or material objects. This sign is also made by parents when
blessing a group of children, made over beds before children climb into them at
night, etc.


Yet another is the series of three small Crosses made by the thumb of the right
hand -- one small Cross on the forehead, one small Cross on the lips, and one
small Cross on the breast -- just before the Gospel reading at Mass. The sign on
the forehead is to show that we believe the Gospel, the sign on the lips is to
show that we respect the Gospel and desire to spread the Good News, and the
sign on our breast is to show that we love the Gospel and want it kept in our
hearts. 2


Make the Sign of the Cross and make it often! Teach it to your children -- even
the tiniest of children. If they're infants, take their hand and make the
movements for them! Making the Sign should feel as natural as breathing...

http://traditionalromancatholicism.org/S...cross.html
Yes, indeed, there is hardly ever, if ever, a wrong time to cross yourself.

Whenever a funeral passes, whenever passing by a church, whenever mentioning your deceased mother, first thing in the morning, last thing at night, at grace.....anytime at all.
This is truly one  of the most beautiful practices of Catholicism.  I am a convert from the Baptist faith and I remember being awestruck by the Sign of the Cross as a child.  Altho I am the only convert in my family, almost all my  relatives, especially the younger ones make the Sign. 
(08-18-2011, 10:08 PM)denise Wrote: [ -> ]This is truly one  of the most beautiful practices of Catholicism.  I am a convert from the Baptist faith and I remember being awestruck by the Sign of the Cross as a child.  Altho I am the only convert in my family, almost all my  relatives, especially the younger ones make the Sign. 

Wow they do? That’s pretty awesome! When I have dinner with my family and I make the sign of the cross when they say grace I always feel really weird.
(08-18-2011, 10:10 PM)kayla_veronica Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-18-2011, 10:08 PM)denise Wrote: [ -> ]This is truly one  of the most beautiful practices of Catholicism.  I am a convert from the Baptist faith and I remember being awestruck by the Sign of the Cross as a child.  Altho I am the only convert in my family, almost all my  relatives, especially the younger ones make the Sign. 

Wow they do? That’s pretty awesome! When I have dinner with my family and I make the sign of the cross when they say grace I always feel really weird.

Is your family not Catholic?
(08-18-2011, 10:21 PM)acatholiclife Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-18-2011, 10:10 PM)kayla_veronica Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-18-2011, 10:08 PM)denise Wrote: [ -> ]This is truly one  of the most beautiful practices of Catholicism.  I am a convert from the Baptist faith and I remember being awestruck by the Sign of the Cross as a child.  Altho I am the only convert in my family, almost all my  relatives, especially the younger ones make the Sign. 

Wow they do? That’s pretty awesome! When I have dinner with my family and I make the sign of the cross when they say grace I always feel really weird.

Is your family not Catholic?

Lutheran. I am a convert.
The first prayer every Catholic should learn.
What a wonderful post, Cindy.  Thank you.  We've had people come up to us in restaraunts after watching us make the Sign of the Cross for grace before the meal, and tell us how wonderful it is to see young people pray in public.  You should never be embarrassed to show your Faith in public.  You never know who you're going to touch.

I understand about family though.  My Uncle and Aunt are "Christian"  Rolling eyes  and made fun of me for doing it in front of them after they said their "grace".  That's ok though, I did it twice, once r e a l slow just to show them how it's done.  LOL  A cousin later told me she liked mine better.
Thank you for this! Great post!
You are welcome!
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