So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Swatting flies? Praying the Sign of the Cross?

Make the Sign of the Cross with the reverence due the reality of Christ's death on our behalf and His majestic resurrection from the dead.

Observe at Mass the buffet of attempts to make the Sign of the Cross. For some, the Sign is almost an annoyance to be completed as rapidly as possible. Others routinely omit it completely. Still others swat the air as if brushing aside fruit flies. There is useful information to be gleaned from the making of the Sign about the status of faith in a parish if priests are sharp enough to observe the manner in which people make the Sign. Catholics are, after all, a people of signs. We, like our non-Catholic eastern brethren, wear signs as we wear clothing, or at least we used to. Believe in sacramental signs, that is.

The Sign of the Cross is a defence against evil influences. Demons flee at the Sign of the Cross.

The Sign of the Cross centres the mind on the reality of the Cross, and immerses the heart in the love of God made manifest that day on Calvary. The Sign is a sign of trust in God's mercy. The Sign reminds us that we need the grace of God to live the Holy Gospel.

The Sign of the Cross, made reverently, becomes a reminder of hope. A reverently made Sign is itself a sign to a society which has lost hope and desperately needs to reclaim its orientation to and in Christ.

Do not just make the Sign of the Cross, pray it, and pray it slowly as you recall Jesus hanging on that tree with His arms outstretched ready to embrace all who trust in His mercy.

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