Crossing yourself, that is, the sign of the cross.
Not only when beginning or completing prayer.
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”.
At home, in church or on the road, and also in the cemetery. Although increasingly often discretely so as not to attract attention. The cross – a sign of faith in Christ. The One who died for us, rose from the dead for us and who will come some day to judge the living and the dead. A sign for Christians, reminding us that we are redeemed by the precious blood of the Son of God. And at the same time a sign reminding us that each of us will at some time have to carry a cross. A cross of physical suffering, a cross of spiritual suffering. Sometimes also the one most strongly associated with the meaning of Christ’s passion: the cross of faithfulness to God. Though wanting it to be otherwise, simpler, convenient; if you are a disciple of the Crucified One, obedient unto death, you can’t run away from faithfulness to God, to transfer it to a later date when conditions will be better – when fidelity will not cost as much . . .
In a gesture for prayer, I make the sign of the cross.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
It means I profess my faith: I am a Christian.
It means I accept the obligations arising from being Christian.
It means that I want that everything I do would be pleasing to God.
So, I begin prayer with: “now Lord, I turn to You”. So, I complete prayer with: “I want to remain faithful to You”. And I trace this sign on myself when I need help and when I commend myself to God: “I am Your child, I am Your disciple, be with me, guide me, help me when I weaken”. . . .
I begin the sign of the cross by first touching my forehead, then my breast and next my shoulders: left and right. It is a request and an obligation as well: I want to think in God’s way, I want to feel in God’s way, I want to act in God’s way.
I want to think in God’s way because I know that the Gospels is only way that allows me to look at the world and the problems that bother us. In a world where everything passes nothing makes sense, it’s a help to see what has value in eternity.
I want to feel in God’s way and not succumb to the temptation to treat the commandments as a burden. I want God’s law of love to become my law and my love.
I want to act in God’s way so that everything I do is good. I don’t want to take for myself, I don’t want to hurt anyone, I don’t want to put my hands to works of wickedness. Let my hands serve as the hands of Jesus in this world, the hands which were nailed to the cross . . .
Yes, this is what I want. Amen.