Friday, September 14, 2012

The Significance of the Sign of the Cross

What is the significance of the sign of the cross? Well, in the first place, we often place our initials or other personal mark on something to show that it belongs to us. The Cross is the personal mark of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and we mark it on ourselves as a sign that we belong to Him, just as in the book of Revelation, as noted above, the servants of God are sealed or marked on their foreheads as a sign that they are His.

Again, as one preacher has said, if you were telling someone how to make a cross, you might say (at least to an English speaker), "Draw an I and then cross it out." As we make the sign, we first draw a vertical stroke, as if to say to God, "Lord, here am I." Then we cancel it with a horizontal stroke, as if to say, "Help me, Lord, to abandon my self-centeredness and self-will, and to make you the center of my life instead. Fix all my attention and all my desire on you, Lord, that I may forget my self, cancel my self, abandon myself completely to your love and service."


Anglican said...

Someone who has just run across this for the first time might ask, "How do you make the Sign of the Cross?"
There is more than one way.
Can you mix and match?

Bryan Owen said...

Hi Anglican. You are correct that there is more than one way to make the sign of the cross. For a Roman Catholic perspective, see the article entitled "The Sign of the Cross." For an Eastern Orthodox perspective, see "Why do Orthodox Christians 'cross themselves' different than Roman Catholics?"

As for mixing and matching ways of making the sign of the cross, my understanding is that in Eastern Orthodoxy there is only one correct way to do it (see the article linked above), while there is more flexibility within Roman Catholicism (and, of course, within Anglicanism).