Things We Do When We Make the Sign of the Cross

  1. Pray. We begin and end our prayers with the Sign of the Cross, perhaps not realizing that the sign is itself a prayer. 
  2. Sanctify the day. As an act repeated throughout the key moments of each day, the Sign of the Cross sanctifies our day. 
  3. Commit the whole self to Christ. In moving our hands from our foreheads to our hearts and then both shoulders, we are asking God’s blessing for our mind, our passions and desires, our very bodies. 
  4. Recall the Incarnation. Our movement is downward, from our foreheads to our chest “because Christ descended from the heavens to the earth.
  5. Remember the Passion of Our Lord. Fundamentally, in tracing out the outlines of a cross on ourselves, we are remembering Christ’s crucifixion.
  6.  Affirm the Trinity. In invoking the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we are affirming our belief in a triune God. 
  7. Affirm the procession of Son and Spirit. In first lifting our hand to our forehead we recall that the Father is the first person in the Trinity.
  8.  Ask for support in our suffering. In crossing our shoulders, we ask God “to support us—to shoulder us—in our suffering.
  9. Ward off the devil. The Sign of the Cross is one of the very weapons we use in that battle with the devil. 
  10.  Seal ourselves in the Spirit.
  11. Witness to others. As a gesture often made in public, the Sign of the Cross is a simple way to witness our faith to others.