Friday, October 20, 2006

The sign of the Cross...

I love making the sign of the Cross every day at Mass and before meals, and prayers. It's like our "brand" that God has given us. I never did this as a protestant, and don't know of any other religions where it is done, unless the Eastern Orthodox. I love to make the sign because the devil just hates it! He received his death blow when Jesus was cruicified, and died on the Cross. When we make the sign of the cross on ourselves, we can rejoice in knowing ''we are Gods!" Of course, we must make sure we are living in His grace, but what a wonderul way to say, "I love you" to our Lord and to say, "Take that!" to our enemy, the Father of Lies!

Praying in words and signs:
The Sign of the Cross

by Victor Hoagland, C.P.
based on the New Catholic Catechism 1077-1109;
see also:
The Sign of the Cross - for children

Christian prayer is modeled after the prayer of Jesus. Like his, it should come from the heart. When he prayed Jesus used words and signs and sometimes cries, as expressions of his heart. And so do we when we pray; our hearts too look for an outward voice.

The words and signs that Jesus used when he prayed often came from his own Jewish tradition, from what he learned in his family and from others. As for ourselves, we turn to our Christian tradition for guidance in prayer. We believe it is a tradition inspired by the Holy Spirit, and it is also an outgrowth of the Jewish tradition of prayer that nourished Jesus himself.

The Christian tradition of prayer has a wisdom all its own, with many different forms and expressions. Some basic prayers of our Christian tradition, however, have a special place. The Sign of the Cross is one example.

In the Catholic church and other Christian churches the Sign of the Cross is an important part of personal and public prayer. It originated in the earliest days of Christianity and so it is centuries old. It is the first sign made on us at Baptism and the last sign made as we pass to our future life. It's a vital part of liturgical prayer and the sacraments. With the Sign of the Cross we begin and end our prayers.

A Blessing of the Triune God

We call it a blessing. We say we "bless ourselves." Tracing with our hand the figure of the cross on our forehead, our breast, our shoulders, we bless ourselves: Spacer

In the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

The Sign of the Cross expresses blessing. It symbolizes God blessing us, God embracing us with blessings. And in this same sign we express our belief in God from whom all our blessings flow. In the Sign of the Cross we embrace our good God with mind and heart and all of our strength.

God blesses. The Jewish scriptures describe God as, above all, the One who blesses. God blessed Noah and saved the world from the flood. God blessed Abraham and Sara with blessings more than the stars in the sky. God blessed the Jewish people, redeeming them from the slavery of Egypt. Life itself and all creation are God's gifts.

And so the Jewish tradition of prayer always approaches God as One who blesses. "I will bless the Lord at all times," the psalmist prays. As we are blessed by God, so we bless the Lord in return.

No comments: