May 26, 2006 at 11:10 pm #1258
This action of tracing the sign of the cross has roots deep within the Bible itself. Passages such as Ezekiel 9:4, Exodus 13:9, and Revelation 7:3, 9:4, 14:1 remaid us that the tracing of a “sign” or “seal” on the forehead was one way of showing that the person was set apart by God for special protection or blessings.
This gesture also is vividly reminiscent of the Lord’s command to Moses that the doorpost and lintels of each family’s home should be marked with the blood of the slain Passover lamb as a sign of God’s protection for that household.Similarly,when Catholics make the sign of the cross,they are invoking the grace and protection of the Lamb of God.May 27, 2006 at 5:44 am #6301
And how long shall we draw the saw to and fro through this line, when we have an ancient practice, which by anticipation has made for us the state, i.e., of the question? If no passage of Scripture has prescribed it, assuredly custom, which without doubt flowed from tradition, has confirmed it. For how can anything come into use, if it has not first been handed down?; At every forward step and movement, at every going in and out, when we put on our clothes and shoes, when we bathe, when we sit at table, when we light the lamps, on couch, on seat, in all the ordinary actions of daily life, we trace upon the forehead the sign.
Tertullian, [i:2ce4m4mz]De Coronis Militas[/i:2ce4m4mz] III
“Let us then not be ashamed to confess the Crucified. Be the cross our seal, made with boldness by our fingers on our brow and in every thing; over the bread we eat and the cups we drink, in our comings and in goings; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we awake; when we are travelling, and when we are at rest.”
St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catecheses 13:36
“The sign of the cross is made with three fingers, because the signing is done together with the invocation of the Trinity. This is how it is done: from above to below, and from the right to the left, because Christ descended from the heavens to the earth, and from the Jews (right) he passed to the Gentiles (left). Others, however, make the sign of the cross from the left to the right, because from misery (left) we must cross over to glory (right), just as Christ crossed over from death to life, and from Hades to Paradise.”
Pope Innocent IIIMay 29, 2006 at 3:36 pm #6310
It’s a personal blessing we give oursleves. It’s also rich in tradition.
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