During the retreat I gave this past weekend, I spoke in one of my talks about what it signifies when we make the sign of the cross. At one level, it signifies our belief in the Trinity. But, I suggested, it also signifies that we choose to follow Jesus fully and completely – all the way to the cross, something that has consequences for how we live our lives.
At the end of the retreat, one of the women gave me a card from her parish’s recent Lenten mission. The card read:
I accept the Sign of the Cross
…on my forehead – to learn to follow Jesus;
…on my ears – that I may hear the voice of God;
…on my eyes – that I may see the glory of God;
…on my lips – that I may respond to the word of God;
…on my heart – that Christ may dwell there by faith;
…on my shoulders – that I may bear the gentle yoke of Christ;
…on my hands – that Christ may be known in my work;
…on my feet – that I may walk in the way of Christ.
I Make the Sign of the Cross, the promise of eternal life to all who are faithful to Christ.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
I share this, in part, as a reminder that we ought to think seriously about what we do when we make the sing of the cross. I fear that we often do it almost automatically, a quick swipe of our hands from somewhere in the area of our forehead, to somewhere in the area of our chest, to a swing from shoulder to shoulder, with no thought to our action.
Signing ourselves with the cross means something. What does it mean to you?