Sign of the cross

Over in the non-catholic forum,someone named “contemplative” gave an example on how to properly do the sign of the cross.
It was beautiful!

I was wondering…is it ok for me to do it even though I am not catholic?
And, is there a prayer that goes with it?
Also, the poster right after the one I am referring to said that the left shoulder should be touched first.What is the right way to do it?
I do not know how to make a link to that forum but it is there if you wish to look at it.
Thanks.
Allie

[quote=allisonP]Over in the non-catholic forum,someone named “contemplative” gave an example on how to properly do the sign of the cross.
It was beautiful!

I was wondering…is it ok for me to do it even though I am not catholic?
And, is there a prayer that goes with it?
Also, the poster right after the one I am referring to said that the left shoulder should be touched first.What is the right way to do it?
I do not know how to make a link to that forum but it is there if you wish to look at it.
Thanks.
Allie
[/quote]

Any Christian who wants to initiate a prayer or act by conforming their body with their spirit and mind and do so in the name of the great I AM (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is encouraged to do so.

The way which is most common at least in this Roman Rite diocese (and I believe universally in the U.S.) is using the right hand to touch the forehead and say “In the name of the Father”, touch the breast bone and say “Son”, touch the left shoulder and say “Holy”, touch the right shoulder and say “Spirit”. I think that our Eastern Orthodox brethren touch shoulders vice versa.

Some people then touch their lips to conclude the blessing as usually the Sign of the Cross is followed by saying (or thinking) words. My sister momentarily puts her hands in the orans position and glances to Heaven. Personally, I bring both my hands together and momentarily clasp them in “prayer position.”

Yup, Orion.

Also, some hold the fingers to represent the Holy Trinity & the two-fold nature of Christ (there is more than one “right” way). The most common is to pinch the thumb, forefinger and middle finger together at the tips, folding the ring and little fingers in toward the palm.

[quote=allisonP]Over in the non-catholic forum,someone named “contemplative” gave an example on how to properly do the sign of the cross.
It was beautiful!

I was wondering…is it ok for me to do it even though I am not catholic?
[/quote]

Yes!

And, is there a prayer that goes with it?

In the name of the Father (touch head), and of the Son (touch heart), and of the Holy (touch shoulder) Spirit (touch other shoulder)

Also, the poster right after the one I am referring to said that the left shoulder should be touched first.What is the right way to do it?

In the Western Church we go left right. In the Eastern Church it is right left. I believe right left is the older form.

The sign of the cross is a prayer and sign that reminds us of the Cross. Of course you (and anyone who desires to pray this simple and profound spiritual prayer) may do it–Catholic or not!

In fact, if memory serves me Episcopals make the sign of the cross, as do some Lutherans and of course the Orthodox have a form of the sign of the cross that they do.

The standard Latin rite sign of the cross is to use your right hand (I tell my children to connect their thumb, pointer and middle finger in a little triad to remind them of the Trinity), begin by touching your forehead (“In the name of the Father. . .), then touch the center of your chest (”. . .and of the Son. . ."), then cross to your left shoulder and then your right (“and of the Holy Spirit. Amen”).

I haven’t read the post your are speaking of, but I am so pleased that this special and simple prayer has impressed you! It is truly one of our most beautiful Christian prayers because it reminds us of our God, the Cross, and it serves as a witness through our actions!

It is one of the very first prayers I teach my children along with the name “Jesus.” To cross your self and to be able to call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ are two of our most powerful prayers!

One of the things I love most about it is the Amen, or “I belive” in the end. I love that Catholics in general, start our prayers and end them praising the Trinity!

But I shouldn’t have said Catholics because there are a growing number of non-Catholics like you who are discovering the beauty, depth and mystery to the “simple” sign of the cross. Please, use it!

Your sister in Christ,
Maria

Hi Alison,

Welcome to the forums! Glad you are here!

If you do choose to make the sign of the cross you will be in good company. It was probably a very early custom among those who followed Christ.

Here is what Cyril of Jerusalem (315 - 386 A.D.) said about it:
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[font=arial, helvetica, verdana, sans-serif][size=2]Let us not then be ashamed to confess the Crucified. Be the Cross our seal made with boldness by our fingers on our brow and in everything; over the bread we eat, and the cups we drink; in our comings in, and goings out; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we awake; when we are in the way and when we are still. Great is that preservative; it is without price, for the poor’s sake; without toil, for the sick, since also its grace is from God. It is the Sign of the faithful, and the dread of evils; for He has triumphed over them in it, having made a shew of them openly; for when they see the Cross, they are reminded of the Crucified; they are afraid of Him, Who hath bruised the heads of the dragon. Despise not the Seal, because of the freeness of the Gift; but for this rather honor thy Benefactor."

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Wow! What do you think?

Also you might want to see Ezekiel 17: 9-14 and Revelation 7:3, 9:4 and 14:1.

God Bless, and welcome again,
VC

After making the sign of the cross, some of us Latino types like to place the thumb and forefinger in the shape of a cross, and kiss it. It’s done fairly quickly, and can look like simply touching your lips (which some people also do - even some of us Latino types). Typically, you’ll see this particular devotional practice in more ethnic communities.

But feel free to do as you wish! We can pray with our bodies (kneeling, bowing, folding hands, crossing yourself), and it is a holy and wholesome practice to do so. You’re welcome to pray however you feel most comfortable!

God Bless,
RyanL

[quote=RyanL]After making the sign of the cross, some of us Latino types like to place the thumb and forefinger in the shape of a cross, and kiss it. It’s done fairly quickly, and can look like simply touching your lips (which some people also do - even some of us Latino types). Typically, you’ll see this particular devotional practice in more ethnic communities.

God Bless,
RyanL
[/quote]

My kids (and now I have found myself;) ) have started to kiss our thumb that has been made into the shape of a cross. My kids have some very good friends who are from Mexico who we go to Mass with all the time. They would always do this and my son asked why. Although they were unable to articulate the reason, another woman, who also did this, was rather startled. She stopped, thought about it and said, “It is like a mental kiss and thank you to Christ for His sacrifice for me.”

Sounds good to me!

But now, although my name may have given you a different mental picture, this nordic, german looking family crosses ourselves and gives a kiss to our thumb. And I have noticed more people in our predominately white Church, (with a growing latino population) doing it also. A lot of people have noticed them doing it when they serve, asked why, and started to do so also!

God Bless,
Maria

Also, some hold the fingers to represent the Holy Trinity & the two-fold nature of Christ (there is more than one “right” way). The most common is to pinch the thumb, forefinger and middle finger together at the tips, folding the ring and little fingers in toward the palm.

Post #50 of the following thread gives a picture and explanation of this:
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=83691

Also, you can briefly meditate on Christ’s Incarnation, Death and Resurrection while making the Sign of the Cross.

Ah yes. . . I do the kiss at the end of the sign of the cross, too! And I too am not a “latino type” :slight_smile: ! My mom got us started doing this especially after we recieve communion. It is a wonderful sign of affection for our Lord and his Cross!

Over in the non-catholic forum,someone named “contemplative” gave an example on how to properly do the sign of the cross.
It was beautiful!

I agree…this way is beautiful. You are safe to do it this way.


**I rediscovered the beauty ot the Sign of the Cross after my recent visit to my first Byzantine Church. I’ve been praying the Sign of the Cross differently ever since. **


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******[font=Arial Narrow]We make the Sign of the Cross by touching: ******

**1. our Head, **
**2. then our Heart, **
**3. then our RIGHT Shoulder **
**4. and then our Left Shoulder. **

Then we make a bow. (We generally always make a bow when crossing ourselves.)

The entire gesture is called a “Reverence”.

We touch the Right Shoulder first (i.e. before the left) in order to symbolise Christ, Who sits at the Right Hand of God. This is the most ancient manner of making the Sign of the Cross, a practice not only used by Byzantine Christians, but also preserved by Church which has retained the most primitive and original liturgical rites - the Great Apostolic Assyrian Church of the East (which uses the Chaldean rite).

http://www.saintelias.com/EtiquetteKK/SignCross/HandCruxSign_illu.jpg**We make the Sign of the Cross with the right hand held thusly: **

1. The first three fingers together (symbolising the Oneness of the 3 Persons of the All-Holy Trinity

**2. The remaining two fingers are tucked down into the palm. **

These 2 remaining fingers represent the 2 Natures of the Christ [Divine and Human]. The placing of these 2 fingers down into the palm symbolises the descent of the Word into our world, i.e. the Holy Incarnation.
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