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I am legitimately curious, since I seem to be the only one at my TLM parish who signs center of forehead, center of lips, and left chest.  Everyone else appears to sign center of forehead, center of lips, and center chest.

Is there a prescribed way to sign? Is one more common? Is the difference anything to do with ethnic groups?
(12-03-2020, 05:45 AM)Pandora Wrote: [ -> ]I am legitimately curious, since I seem to be the only one at my TLM parish who signs center of forehead, center of lips, and left chest.  Everyone else appears to sign center of forehead, center of lips, and center chest.

Is there a prescribed way to sign? Is one more common? Is the difference anything to do with ethnic groups?

The priest is meant to do this in the center of his chest. There is no prescription for the laity to do this, but the custom has become to follow the priest in this.

The gesture comes from the blessing previously used which asks the Lord be on the priest (or deacon's) heart and lips, so the mind, lips and heart are signed.

I imagine the left chest comes from the idea of signing the actual heart which is slightly to the left of center. Slightly, as in the actual center of the heart is a less than 1 inch to the left, with about two-thirds of the heart's mass on the left side, and one-third on the right with the midline of the heart pretty close to center. So if we're being anatomically correct, or if we're being aesthetically persnickety, center makes the most sense, in my book.
(12-03-2020, 06:16 AM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [ -> ]There is no prescription for the laity to do this, but the custom has become to follow the priest in this.

Good to know.  Is this another case of laity mimicking the priest when they really shouldn't?
(12-03-2020, 07:54 AM)jack89 Wrote: [ -> ]
(12-03-2020, 06:16 AM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [ -> ]There is no prescription for the laity to do this, but the custom has become to follow the priest in this.

Good to know.  Is this another case of laity mimicking the priest when they really shouldn't?
Ah!  Good point.  I had a conversation some years ago about not mimicing the orans position of the priest during Our Father or any other prayer.  Perhaps this shouldn't be done?  I'm asking for a friend.  :)
(12-03-2020, 07:54 AM)jack89 Wrote: [ -> ]
(12-03-2020, 06:16 AM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [ -> ]There is no prescription for the laity to do this, but the custom has become to follow the priest in this.

Good to know.  Is this another case of laity mimicking the priest when they really shouldn't?

Would be interesting to know.  Years ago a NO priest told me the laity should only make the “regular” Sign of the Cross twice at Mass, at the beginning and at the blessing at the end, and definitely not after receiving Holy Communion.  I always thought it was a pious practice at the very least, but he was vehemently against it.
In Mexico (I am not sure about other Spanish countries) the make the sign of the triple sign of the cross in a different manner.

The index finger of the right hand is brought down and the thumb is laid over it to form a small cross. Then the three remaining fingers are lined up straight. Then the crossed finger and thumb are used to make three small crosses, similar to three crosses at the Gospel, and then one final "regular" sign of the cross.

While one is doing this, he prays "Por la señal de la santa cruz de enemigos nuestros liberanos Dios Señor Nuestro. En el nombre del Padre y del Hijo y del Espiritu Santo. Amen." Which in English is "By the sign of the holy Cross deliver, our Lord Our God, from our enemies. In the Name... Amen."

This is done going into church, leaving the church, at the reading of the Gospels, or whenever.
(12-03-2020, 07:54 AM)jack89 Wrote: [ -> ]
(12-03-2020, 06:16 AM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [ -> ]There is no prescription for the laity to do this, but the custom has become to follow the priest in this.

Good to know.  Is this another case of laity mimicking the priest when they really shouldn't?

Not sure that's the case. In the older rites there were never rubrics for the laity. The choir of clerics had certain basic rubrics on when to sit and stand, and the laity basically followed these.

I don't see the problem with the laity making gestures that correspond to a part of the Mass which are not odd, or would suggest incorrect things. For instance, the sign of the Cross when being blessed is not necessary, but fine. I don't think the faithful ought to trace signs of the Cross as if they were blessing things when the priest does.

So, back the OP's point. Left chest isn't wrong, because there's nothing wrong with the laity doing reasonable things as they like, but if there is some symbolism here about crossing one's heart, the left chest is not where the heart is. It's either home, one's treasures, or so slightly left of center that center is a better estimate.
I make the gesture before the Gospel crossing myself over my heart, or somewhere in the vicinity of over my heart. I have a distinct early childhood memory (circa late 1960s) of watching my ultra-traditional grandfather make this gesture during Mass.

I assume that this thread is born of innocent curiosity. However, I will caution that it is inappropriate IMHO to be glancing to the left and to the right to spy on how outwardly pious the other parishioners are behaving before the Gospel, or at any other point during Mass. For all I know, I might be the most wretched man in the room.
(12-03-2020, 01:45 PM)Matas Wrote: [ -> ]I make the gesture before the Gospel crossing myself over my heart, or somewhere in the vicinity of over my heart.  I have a distinct early childhood memory (circa late 1960s) of watching my ultra-traditional grandfather make this gesture during Mass.

I assume that this thread is born of innocent curiosity.  However, I will caution that it is appropriate IMHO to be glancing to the left and to the right to spy on how outwardly pious the other parishioners are behaving before the Gospel, or at any other point during Mass.

I believe you meant to say inappropriate re keeping one’s custody of eyes.

This question, as stated in the original post, was borne from genuine curiosity and desire to act in an orthodox manner.

The nature of our vision and how the brain processes images is that we can observe things without focusing on them.  I’m sure all present at Mass would notice a stray cat tip-toeing across the altar rail, even if it occurred while they were focusing on the Host being elevated.  If they don’t, they’re more saintly than any person I’ve ever met.
I have always signed my forehead, lips, and heart. And when my kids where small and one still is, and doesn't understand to do this themselves. I make the sign on their forehead, ears, and heart. In my mind I always ask God to please allow my child to hear the gospel, understand the gospel, and know to believe it. I was never taught to do this, it just felt right. Should I stop doing this to my young daughter while I or my wife hold her during mass?
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