The Cross of Our Faith
Catholicism: What We Do pt. 3
One of the first things Catholics, as well as Anglicans, Orthodox Christians and some Protestants, do when entering a church is make the Sign of the Cross. When I cross myself I am conscious that I am in the present of God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For many of us, making the Sign of the Cross is as automatic as folding our hands when we pray. I wonder how many of us take this gesture for granted.
Professing Our Faith
In ancient times, death by the cross was shameful. Christians were persecuted in the time of the early church so I could imagine that signs of their faith, like a cross, were not publically displayed. (Crucifixion was banned by Emperor Constantine the Great in the 4th century). St. Cyril of Jerusalem, who was a highly respected theologian and bishop in the early church, wrote, “Let us not be ashamed to profess the Crucified One; let us confidently seal our forehead with our fingers, let us make the Sign of the Cross on everything, on the bread we eat and over the cup we drink. Let us make this sign as we come and go, before sleeping, when we lie down and when we arise, while traveling and while resting” (Catechetical Lecture 13, On the words “crucified and buried”). For Cyril, it was important to make the Sign of the Cross as a profession of faith.
Many people believe that religion is a private matter. It certainly is a personal matter, but I believe it’s important for us to proudly express our faith. As we come and go in our daily lives, in everything we do and everywhere we go, let’s do it in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.