T is for “The Sign of the Cross.” Read all Blogging from A to Z posts here. Oh, and I didn’t forget “S,” just need more time to sort through that particular letter de jour.
I co-host a radio show on Iowa Catholic Radio, and each show begins and ends in prayer. My husband recently provided some excellent and necessary feedback about something I was doing on air. He said it felt like I was murmuring while praying, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” I tuned in to the show’s next airing, listened carefully, and discovered I was indeed murmuring through the sign of the cross.
It sounded as if I was just going through the motions, because … well … I WAS just going through the motions. It was time for me to critically think about those ordinary words accompanied by a simple action. What do those words and actions truly mean? It’s quite profound when we break it down.
In making the sign of the cross, we are expressing the central event of our Christian faith — the body that was crucified on the cross touches my body and shapes it now. By our actions, we are drawing our bodies into the body that hung on the cross. By our words, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” we recall our baptism. Those are the words, the verbal formula, with which a person is baptized. From the moment of baptism, we are called to live out the responsibilities of our baptismal call. When we make the sign of the cross and pronounce the holy name of God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — we remind ourselves of our Baptism.
** When we touch our head and say “In the name of the Father,” we unite our will to the Father’s will.
** When we cross down through our heart and say “and of the Son,” we unite our heart to the Son’s sacred heart.
** When we touch each shoulder and say “and of the Holy Spirit,” we unite our actions to the Holy Spirit’s actions.
** And then when we complete the sign of the cross, if we truly believe this is certain and firmly established, we must respond with a bold Amen! Because when we say Amen, we seal the deal; we agree and ratify what we just said and did. We again and again and again accept our Baptism, restating our believe in the holy name of God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
If I ever murmur through the sign of the cross again, on air or anywhere else, you have explicit permission to remind me of this blog post. AMEN!