Skip to comments.Cross, Sign Of
Posted on 04/25/2009 7:06:33 AM PDT by GonzoII
|TALKS ON THE SACRAMENTALS|
|Father Arthur Tonne
|Copyright 1950 Didde Printing Company Emporia, Kansas
(For the whole book, download tlksac.txt/.zip)
Cross, Sign Of
"God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." Galatians, 6:14
In April of 1945 American artillery in the town of Siegburg, Germany, was shelling a nearby village, in which there were about 20 German soldiers. The natives were in constant danger of being hit by bullets from either side. Toward evening of April 12 the people persuaded the German soldiers to cease fire.
Next morning the village priest carried a white flag to the American outpost to inform the commander that the German soldiers had gone and the civilian population had no desire to resist further. Instructions were given to fly white flags from all the houses.
The question uppermost in the minds of the towns-people was: How will the Americans treat us? They had heard terrible tales of cruelty on the part of the Russians. How would these conquerors act?
The Americans began a thorough search for weapons and German soldiers. Two soldiers armed with pistols came to a certain three-room home. They stopped short in the living room before a hand-carved family altar. Into the bedroom they went, to find there a beautiful crucifix.
The soldiers noticed the cross. They stopped, took off their steel helmets, changed their automatics from right hand to left, and respectfully made the sign of the cross. As a member of the family related, the members of that household feared no longer.
Yes, the sign of the cross is the salute of the true follower of Christ whether he is conqueror or conquered, whether he is German, Chinese, American or Australian. It is the countersign of the Christian. In particular, it is the special salute of the Catholic.
The sign of the cross is one of the most important and one of the most frequently used of the sacramentals. It is the sacred sign first taught to the feeble fingers of the child at its mother's knee; it is the sacred sign traced by the faltering fingers of the dying Catholic. From birth to death it is the holy sign, the holy ceremony that continually reminds the Catholic of the source from which all spiritual blessings comethe cross.
The two most common forms of this sacramental are the large sign of the cross made by touching the forehead, the breast, and the left and right shoulders. The cross thus covers the bodyat least the most important membersthe head and heart. The smaller sign of the cross is traced upon the forehead, lips, and breast.
1 Why do we make the sign of the cross?
2. The uses of this sacred sign in the Catholic Church are practically without limit:
Let me quote the instructive words of St. Gaudentius:
"Let the sign of the cross be continually made on the heart, on the mouth, on the forehead, at table, at the bath, in bed, coming in and going out, in joy and sadness, sitting, standing, speaking, walkingin short, in all our actions. Let us make it on our breasts and all our members, that we may be entirely covered with this invincible armor of Christians."
An indulgence of 100 days is granted for making the sign of the cross and saying the words. An indulgence of 300 days for making the sign of the cross, with holy water.
A love and devotion toward this sacred sign is the mark of a true follower of Christ. Just as it identified those two American soldiers as genuine Catholics, so the sign of the cross will identify you. Use it frequently, use it thoughtfully, use it lovingly. It will bring you countless blessings. Amen.
Sacred Music Volume 117, Number 4, Winter 1990
SIGNS AND SYMBOLS: A REFLECTION
(This is reprinted from "Faith," a bi-monthly published in London, England. It was originally given as an address to a youth group at John Fisher School, Purley, Surrey, England.)
(For the entire article download sigsym.txt/.zip) The Sign Of The Cross
The Sign Of The Cross
A logical place to start, since it is a very ancient Christian habit, is to begin and end prayers with the sign of the cross. Yet the only recognizable biblical reference is in Matthew 28:19 when Our Lord tells His apostles, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
The practice of making the sign of the cross dates back to at least the second century. It was said to recall the blood of the lambs marked on Jewish doorposts in Egypt on the night of the Passover (Ex. 12:7) and to foreshadow the seal set on the foreheads of the saints in heaven. One of the earliest references to the sign of the cross is found at the end of the second century in these words of Tertullian: "at every forward step and movement, at every going in and out, when we put on our clothes and shoes...in all the ordinary actions of everyday life, we trace the sign" (of the cross). Whether such diligent self-crossing was generally observed is impossible to tell, but it does illustrate the importance that the early Church attached to the cross. Another important thread is drawn out by Saint Thomas Aquinas who said: "by making use of bodily signs of humility, our desire to submit ourselves to God is aroused."
So, how does the above apply to us in the present day and age? When we make the sign of the cross, it is a reminder of our baptism. It also brings to mind the general vocation that we as Catholics are called to, as illustrated in the rite for adult baptism when the priest signs the recipient with the cross saying:
"Receive the cross of Christ on your forehead. Christ Himself will guard you by this sign of love. Learn to know and follow that cross...Receive the cross on your breast, that by your faith Christ may find a dwelling place in your heart. Receive the sign of the cross on your shoulders so that you take on the sweet yoke of Christ. I sign you in your whole being 'in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit' that you may have life in eternity."
Let us not underestimate this "sign of love," for when we reverently make the sign of the cross, it is not only a confession of faith. It is also a reminder of the price that Christ paid for our healing and redemption so that we can call God "Abba! Father!" and eventually come into His presence in the glory of the kingdom of heaven.
A HANDBOOK OF CATHOLIC SACRAMENTALS
Published by Our Sunday Visitor Press
The making of the sign of the cross, professing faith both in the redemption of Christ and in the Trinity, was practiced from the earliest centuries. St. Augustine (d. 430) mentioned and described it many times in his sermons and letters. In those days, Christians made the sign of the cross (Redemption) with three fingers (Trinity) on their foreheads. The words "In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost" were added later. In the third century, Tertullian had already reported this touching and beautiful early Christian practice: "In all our undertakingswhen we enter a place or leave it; before we dress; before we bathe; when we take our meals; when we light the lamps in the evening; before we retire at night; when we sit down to read; before each new taskwe trace the sign of the cross on our foreheads" (Weiser, p. 256).
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A perfect preface for your post.
The story doesn't say that.
I’ve never figured out why a sign or gesture that accompanies the words “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” would invoke such vitriol. And, yes, it is taught at the dinner table from the time we are about two, but so are a lot of things.
No hatred, no venom Petronski...Just pointing out some of the false information your religion puts out to persuade people into believing you are the one true church...
Amazing and revealing that you would identify yourself with that profile.
No one believes I am the one true church.
It's because the Sign of the Cross does not fit in their own personal interpretation of Scripture and, you must remember, THEY ARE RIGHT! donchaknow...
Disagreement with such a person is a scam and if you disagree with them, you are in on it [cue sinister music].
Satan hates the cross in all its forms. The Church has known this for a long, long time:
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.
St. Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem (d. A.D. 386)
After these things, I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that they should not blow upon the earth nor upon the sea nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the sign of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying: Hurt not the earth nor the sea nor the trees, till we sign the servants of our God in their foreheads.
Christians in the church age don't need a physical sign...Jesus knows us and we know Him...
Joh 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
But the issue isn't making the sign of the Cross, is it...The issue is your religion claiming that 'true Christians' are known as those you make the sign of the Cross...And that's bunk...
I read this article and thought it would be enjoyed by all Christians. Was I wrong! The sign was used by early Christians and so it does not bother me. I think some need to really ask if they really love Christ or do they just hate those damn katlicks.
Crux sacra sit mihi lux, non draco sit mihi dux.
So you say.
The Sign of the Cross is a physical sign to all the world as well as to ourselves and God.
The issue is your religion claiming that 'true Christians' are known as those you make the sign of the Cross...And that's bunk...
Again, such is your opinion, for what it is worth.
How deliciously appropriate!
As Tertullian wrote, they do this whenever they think of Christ or whenever thanks are made to him. Like fasting, it is a prayerful act, something believers do to honor or, or give gratitude to God.
Praying aloud, singing to God, or reading the Scriptures is no different. Protestants, who lift their hands in the air and sway them back and forth, are doing the same thing as long as it is not something "Catholic."
Public prayer is just as "Pharisaical" as making public signs of the cross. There is no hypocrisy in crossing oneself and it is the most appropriate gesture one can do, at a moment, when one needs to "put on Christ" It is no different than saying "Halleuijah" or "Praise the Lord!"
Arguments by Protestants that it is idolatry are as ridiculous as the rest of the Protestant protests. Their treatment of the Bible is no less "idolatrous."
The Gospels teach humility and, consistent with that, that the expression of faith should not be boisterous and hypocritical. Jesus taught that we should pray in private, dark rooms, not public places. That's why all Orthodox homes have a prayer corner in a remote part fo the house.
Yet the Protesters want public prayers, at football games and schools. Our Congress has a chaplain who leads public prayer. In the military, chaplains lead public prayers at various non-religious ceremonies. Many public events are preceded by a public prayer.
All these things are exactly the opposite of what Christ taught. Public prayer is proper only in church, the true home to every Christian.
If God can hear us in silence and knows what we are thinking, no words need be spoken, no gestures made, and that would include the Cross. But Mark's Great Commission (Ch. 16) mentions signs of true believers, so argments that signs are "idoaltrous" are ubliblical. The Bible if full of signs.
But, most importantly, man is an expressive and artstic being, endowed with talents, so people sing, wave, lift their hands, bow, kneel, prostrate and make signg of the cross in their expression of worship and prayer.
Clearly, the Catholic and Apostolic Church found it much harder to make the sign of a fish that so many Portesters sport on their cars, and found the sign of the cross a more appropriate and relevant symbol of the Christian faith.
It is what the early Church did and it is the unbroken tradition of the one true Church. Protestants in their own misery will invent any other kind of gestures so long as it is not what the Catholic Church does. Truly pathetic but consistent.