I would like a little feedback from the folk on here. I know in some Eastern Churches(Orthodox and Catholic) they make the sign of the cross over the food they are about to eat. I did this once and it felt natural and proper to do. But I haven’t done it since just because I wasn’t sure if this is an appropriate practice for laity in the Latin Church. So does anybody else do this? And would you think it’s okay?
No, I understand it is not proper for someone who has not received the Sacrament of Holy Orders to trace a cross over the food. That would look like a blessing. However, a lay faithful does not bless. We only invoke God’s blessing over ourselves and the food we are about to receive. We should, instead, sign ourselves.
And signing ourselves is blessing ourselves. The signing of the Cross is a blessing, as we invoke the Name of God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) as a blessing. Anyone can invoke God for blessing. The blessing of the priest or bishop is a Liturgical blessing. Of course when we bless our food it is not the same kind of blessing a priest or bishop can give, but nonetheless we invoke God through our prayers to bless the food we received. Nothing wrong with that. And making a sign of the Cross on the food is just another way of invocation.
Signing ourselves is invoking God’s blessing on ourselves, because a lay faithful has no authority to bless.
And indeed there is nothing wrong in invoking God’s blessing on our food, but just like it is not proper for a lay faithful to wear the vestment of a priest, it is better to avoid gestures that convey the wrong meaning: making a sign of the cross over the food, for us, is not another way of invocation.
The Shorter Book of Blessings of the Roman Ritual, in the Order for the Blessing before and after Meals, clearly specifies:
the one presiding then signs himself or herself with the sign of the cross (a priest or a deacon also makes the sign of the cross over the food)
Even if we simply say the prayer “Bless us, o Lord, and these, your gifts…”, a lay faithful in the Latin Church should only sign himself.
That sounds like a contradiction, Holy Orders set apart the Priest to be able to administer the sacraments that the Church has commanded them to do.
Blessing is not a sacrament as such it is the invocation of the protection and help of God onto our daily life. In fact in the OT it was something that the yes the priest did but also the head of the family.
In Spanish and Latin American culture (not all countries) there is a tradition that when young kids see an elder (visiting aunt/uncle/grandparents) pay them respect by asking for their blessing, and it is very beatiful to see the younglin cross his arms and wait for the blessing. In this we see a clear reference to the passage where Jesus blessed the children.
Also in some European countries there is a tradition that when bread was made in the house (either by mother or grandmother) and before putting the dough in the oven a Cross shaped cut would be made and a simple blessing (naming the Trinity) would be said.
This tradition has been lost nowdays with the advent of commercial bakeries
unfortunately. Also and maybe as a result of this bread was never trown out.
There is nothing wrong with that, we should all be giving blessings (in the sense we ask GOD" to help and protect us every moment of our lifes.
Would not make you feel a little better when a fellow human asks you for your blessing? Certanly it makes me feel humble.
When you say “blessing is an invocation” you are referring to invocative blessing. Someone who received the Sacrament of Holy Orders has instead a greater authority: that to perform constitutive blessings - which are sacramentals.
From this article:
In an invocative blessing, the minister implores the divine favor of God to grant some spiritual or temporal good without any change of condition, such as when a parent blessed a child. This blessing is also a recognition of God’s goodness in bestowing this “blessing” upon us, such as when we offer a blessing for our food at meal time.
A constitutive blessing, invoked by a bishop, priest or deacon, signifies the permanent sanctification and dedication of a person or thing for some sacred purpose. Here the person or object takes on a sacred character and would not be returned to non-sacred or profane use. For example, when religious Sisters or Brothers profess final vows, they are blessed, indicating a permanent change in their lives. Or, when a chalice is blessed, it becomes a sacred vessel dedicated solely to sacred usage.
So while - again - there is nothing wrong with a lay faithful invoking God’s blessing, we should not act in ways that suggest we are actually giving a blessing.
Hmm. Please keep the responses coming.
A layperson can’t bless as a priest blesses but certainly we all can bless. As Christians we have the light of Christ in us and Christ works through us, no reason why Christ’s blessings cannot go through us.
I don’t know one way or the other about crossing our food. I personally don’t see any harm in it. However, I think the prayer that is said along with it is more important.
Yes, crossing over food is very commendable, and common in many cultures, and ought not cause anyone else any confusion or confoundedness as to whether they are priests or not.
I was recently told by a pretty orthodox priest that making the sign of the cross over people or objects is a gesture that should be reserved for the priest. I’m talking about the same gesture that the priest uses at the final blessing during Mass, as opposed to what we, the laity, do during that blessing.