Monday, October 15, 2007
In the name of the Father
Why don't Protestants make the sign of the cross as Catholics do? It is the sign of our salvation, and expresses two important mysteries of the Christian religion; that of the Blessed Trinity and the Redemption. The sign of the cross is the most common way for Catholics to confess our faith, and by it we can know Catholics from non-Catholics.
When we say, "In the name," we express the truth that there is only one God, and when we say, "of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost," we express the truth that there are three distinct persons in one God. When we make the sign of the cross, we are confessing that we belong to the religion of the crucified Saviour. We are making a clear confession of our faith and by it we are known as being Catholic.
The sign of the cross is a prayer for God's blessing, and the saints used to make it to shield themselves against the temptations of the devil. It should be made slowly and reverently, to show our respect for the sign of our salvation. Nothing in the Church is begun or completed without making the sign of the cross. St John Damascene said, " The sign of the cross is a seal, at sight of which the destroying angel passes on, and does us no harm."
So if we neglect to make the sign of the cross in public, like when we say grace prior to eating, are we being cowardly about expressing our faith? In ancient times, Christians were persecuted for making the sign of the cross, but today it is more a matter of peer pressure or a lack of our own faith that keeps us from making this public profession of our faith. And when we hide our Catholicism by neglecting to publicly make the sign of the cross, we are denying the sign of our salvation, just as the protestants do.