The Cross of the Faithful
The cross is the one symbol that is instantly identifiable as being truly Christian. In the two millennia since Christ was crucified, the sign of the cross has proliferated all over the world marking things sacred.
From apostolic times it was seen as a mystery and incorporated into daily life. Christ tells us to take up our cross daily and follow Him (Luke 14:27), teaching us to draw power from His suffering and His passion and carry on patiently, knowing that the crucifixion always leads to the resurrection.
Furthermore, St. Cyril of Jerusalem writing in the 4th Century tells us: “Let us not then be ashamed to confess the Crucified. Be the cross our seal made with boldness by our fingers on our brow and on everything, over the bread we eat and the cups we drink, in our comings in and goings out, before our sleep, when we lie down and when we awake, when we are traveling and when we are at rest.” (Catecheses 13.36). Thus it is a sacred sign which not only sanctifies us and the objects we make the sign over, but also allows us to witness to our faith, and to our Lord who sanctified the Holy Cross with His precious blood and defeated death by His death on it.
Moreover, it is also a powerful sign of our salvation because it proclaims the second coming of Christ in power and glory. Referred to as the sign of the Son of Man, the Precious Cross will appear in the heavens just before the eternal and Final Judgement (Matthew 24:30). Therefore it is the unveiling of Paradise to the faithful and a fearful sight to Satan and his followers.
When we make the sign of the cross it must be coupled with faith and understanding and always completed with reverence. It becomes sacramental if we make it with the right hand by touching the forehead, showing our belief, then the chest, showing our love, then across the shoulders (right to left), showing our readiness to bear our cross. In uniting our thumb, index and middle finger, we also profess our belief in the Holy Trinity, one God united in three Divine Persons.
With these thoughts, let us never fear to make the sign of the cross when it is required and how it is required, for in so doing many have been able to work miracles, cure diseases, avoid deception, discern danger, defeat enemies, protect property and ward off the evil one. Make it in prayer and thanksgiving, to bless and to sanctify, in time of need or danger, when ill or on route, make it over the heart in time of temptation, but never in haste or carelessly. Respect it in every form for it is the cross of the faithful.
Source: Lychnos August/September 2019 edition