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The Sign of the Cross

January 8, 2021
Capuchin Retreat

By Fr. Tom Zelinski, OFM Cap.

We are in the beginning of a New Year. It is the custom of Catholics to begin and end many things with the Sign of the Cross. I believe that it is good for us to stop and take a look at things that are very familiar to us. There is a danger that they might become too familiar, and easily passed over.

I suggest that when we make the Sign of the Cross, we do it consciously and deliberately. Sometimes, to see the gesture made by some people, we can apply the joking phrase, “the swatting of flies!”  We must not judge, of course, but we can observe.

At the baptism of a child, parents and godparents are invited to sign the child on the forehead with a Sign of the Cross as a way of welcoming the child into the Church. So we are signed with the Sign of Christ from the beginning. It is also a reminder that our bodies, and not only our spirits, are to live in service of Christ in the world.

In normal times, when we enter the church building, we use holy water and sign ourselves as a reminder of our baptism. And so we ought to consciously and deliberately touch our forehead, our chest, and our shoulders, reminding ourselves that, as Christians, whatever we do, it is done under the Sign of the Cross of Christ.

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