You can identify the Catholics in a room by noticing those who make a gesture known as the Sign of the Cross before they pray. St. Francis de Sales explains:
The Christian first lifts his hand toward his head while saying, “In the name of the Father,” in order to show that the Father is the first person of the Blessed Trinity and the principal and origin of the others. Then, he moves his hand downward toward the stomach while saying, “and of the Son,” in order to show that the Son proceeds from the Father, who sent Him here below into the Virgin’s womb. Finally, he pulls his hand across from the left shoulder to the right while saying, “and of the Holy Spirit,” in order to show that the Holy Spirit, being the third person of the Blessed Trinity, proceeds from the Father and from the Son and is their bond of love and charity, and that it is by His grace that we enjoy the effects of the Passion.
When making the Sign of the Cross, therefore, we confess three great mysteries: the Trinity, the Passion, and the remission of sins.1
The Sign of the Cross has been used in prayer since the earliest days of the Church. Circa 386, St. Cyril of Jerusalem stated, “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 and in our goings out; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we awake; when we are traveling, and when we are at rest.”
Originally posted 2019-05-19 15:42:06.