Making the Sign of the Cross
May 27, 2018
When Catholics enter a Church, we customarily dip our hands into the Holy Water font and make the Sign of the Cross. Why do we do this? This gesture can become so automatic that we can forget just how powerful a prayer making the Sign of the Cross can be.
The very act of tracing the cross on our head, heart and shoulders is a very deep act of worship. What we are actually doing is saying a prayer of remembrance. We remember that we were signed with God’s very name at our baptism. When God looks at us, he sees his own name traced on our foreheads. This is a sign of great dignity for us.
In this world, many people value us not for ourselves, but for what we do for them. God, however, is very different: He loves us just as we are! Of course, we are always called to move toward a more complete conversion of life, but the Sign of the Cross that we make reminds us that the Cross of Jesus is our salvation. We have infinite value in God’s eyes because when the Father looks at us he sees the Son he loves, the One who died for us.
Saint Bernadette, the seer of Lourdes, whose body is incorrupt, was known for how slowly and reverently she made the Sign of the Cross. How fast we often tend to do this, and without even thinking! Sometimes the simplest prayers, like making the Sign of the Cross or genuflecting meaningfully, are very powerful prayers indeed. This Cross is the assurance that God loves me. This Cross is my assurance that my own crosses, united to Christ’s Cross, have deep meaning. This Cross is a reminder that life is not meant to be just a comfort zone, but a true adventure whose final end is destined for the glory of heaven for those who love Christ and follow his commandments!