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Sample Sidebar Module

This is a sample module published to the sidebar_bottom position, using the -sidebar module class suffix. There is also a sidebar_top position below the search.
FAQs

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Question: WHY DO CATHOLICS MAKE THE SIGN OF THE CROSS?

Answer:

 THE SIGN OF THE CROSS

 How often do you do the sign of the Cross? Only at home, in church or in the safety of your privacy? Can you boldly sign yourself with the Cross in public; market place, in the office, at a public/ Interdenominational prayer meeting, at a Restaurant, in the midst of your friends... non-Catholic friends?

St. Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem (d. A.D. 386) says

“ 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.”

These words are reminiscent of the Mosaic injunction in Deuteronomy 6:4-8 where the people were asked to wear the tefillin ("phylacteries") on their foreheads and arms as a sign of their identity and devotion.

The Catholic Sign of the Cross is absolutely ancient, rooted not only in the Old Testament but also the New (Apocalypse speaks of those who have the sign of God in their foreheads -- and those who have the sign of the Beast in their foreheads). When Catholics undergo the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Bishop (sometimes a priest) seals the sign on our foreheads with holy chrism. St. John of Damascus wrote:“This was given to us as a sign on our forehead, just as the circumcision was given to Israel: for by it we believers are separated and distinguished from unbelievers.”

 Crossing one's self recalls this seal, and the invocation that is said while making this holy sign calls on our God -- the Father, His Son, and the Holy Ghost -- and is a sign of our of belief; it is both a "mini-creed" that asserts our belief in the Triune God, and a prayer that invokes Him. The use of holy water when making this sign, such as we do when we enter a church, also recalls our Baptism and should bring to mind that we are born again of water and Spirit, thanks be to God. 



HOW TO MAKE THE SIGN OF THE CROSS


The Sign of the Cross could be made in any of the following ways:

• Option A. With your right hand, touch the thumb and ring finger together and hold your index finger and middle finger together to signify the two natures of Christ. This is the most typical Western Catholic practice.

• Option B. Hold your thumb and index finger of your right hand together to signify the two natures of Christ

• Option C. Hold your thumb, index finger, middle finger of your right hand together (signifying the Trinity) while tucking the ring finger and pinky finger (signifying the two natures of Christ) toward your palm. This is the typically Eastern Catholic practice.

• Option D: Hold your right hand open with all 5 fingers -- representing the 5 Wounds of Christ--together and very slightly curved, and thumb slightly tucked into palm (Nigerian Style?)

Then:

• touch the forehead as you say (or pray mentally) "In nomine Patris" ("In the name of the Father")

• touch the breastbone or top of the belly as you say "et Filii" ("and of the Son")

• touch the left shoulder, then right shoulder, as you say "et Spiritus Sancti" ("and of the Holy Ghost"). Note that some people end the Sign by crossing the thumb over the index finger to make a cross, and then kissing the thumb as a way of "kissing the Cross."

An optional prayer to pray after signing yourself in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is this one, said to be favored by St. Benedict: By the Sign of the Cross, deliver me from my enemies, O Lord.

With the Sign, we send a visible sign to the world and follow the advice of St. Ephrem of Syria (died A.D. 373):

Mark all your actions with the sign of the life-giving Cross. Do not go out from the door of your house till you have signed yourself with the Cross. Do not neglect that sign whether in eating or drinking or going to sleep, or in the home or going on a journey. There is no habit to be compared with it. Let it be a protecting wall round all your conduct, and teach it to your children that they may earnestly learn the custom.

When the Sign is Made

Catholics should begin and end their prayers with the Sign of the Cross and should cross themselves when passing a church to honor Jesus in the Tabernacle, upon entering a church, and after receiving Communion. The sign is made, too, in times of trouble or fear (e.g., when receiving bad news, in times of temptation, when hearing an ambulance or emergency vehicle go by), when passing a cemetery or otherwise recalling the dead, when seeing a Crucifix – as a matter of fact, any time one wishes to honor and invoke God, or ward away evil, fear, and temptation. 


Other Signs of the Cross

There are other signs of the Cross that Catholics make, too. One is made by tracing a small Cross with the thumb of the right hand on people and things. This sign is especially used by parents when blessing children by tracing the sign on the children's foreheads.. Sometimes the sign is traced by the thumb on a book of Sacred Scripture and then kissed before reading. 

Another sign is the large sign made in the air by bishops and priests when blessing persons or when material are blessed.



Yet another is the series of three small Crosses traced by the thumb of the right hand -- one small Cross on the forehead, one small Cross on the lips, and one small Cross on the breast -- just before the Gospel reading at Mass. The sign on the forehead is to show that we believe the Gospel, the sign on the lips is to show that we respect the Gospel and desire to spread the Good News, and the sign on our breast is to show that we love the Gospel and want it kept in our hearts. 



GOOD TO NOTE

Make the Sign of the Cross and make it often! Teach it to your children -- even the smallest of children. If they're infants, take their hands and make the movements for them! Making the Sign should feel as natural as breathing…

A partial indulgence is gained, under the usual conditions, when piously making the Sign of the Cross.

Because of what the Sign indicates -- the very Cross of our salvation -- Satan dreads it, and our using it makes demons flee. Make the Sign in times of temptation and confusion for the great spiritual benefit!


Crossing one's self is a good public witness! Do not be ashamed of it! To be ashamed of the sign of His Cross is to be ashamed of Him!

(Culled from fisheaters.com)

Fr. Julian Egwuatu

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