The Sign of the Cross
May 29th, 1994
Brother John Raymond
Today we honor the Holy Trinity. How many of us have said a
prayer in their honor? Well, I think everybody has - but they may
not realize it. What do I mean? Did you ever make the Sign of the
Cross? If so you have prayed to the Holy Trinity. As we make the
Sign of the Cross we pray, "In the Name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit." Don't take this action to lightly - it
really is a prayer. We are calling down God's grace. There is power
and grace in invoking the Name of God. When we call on the Holy
Trinity's Name They are attentive to us, just like when we call
someone else's name. That is why we are told, "You shall not take
the Lord's Name in vain." St. Peter said to the lame beggar outside
the Temple, "In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise and
walk." (Acts 3, 6) The man walked through the power of invoking the
Name of Jesus. Jesus was silent before the Sanhedrin until Caiphas,
the high priest, said, "I adjure You by the living God that You tell
us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God." (Mt. 26, 63) In
other words Caiphas invoked the Name of God and Jesus answered him.
The Name of God was invoked and Jesus responded (grace flowed).
The Jews had such reverence for the Name of God "Yahweh" that
they would never use it. Instead they used other Names for God such
as "Shaddai." (This is similar to the sign of respect that children
give to their parents by not calling them by their proper names.
Instead they call their parents Dad and Mom.)
Also, the Sign of the Cross is a profession of faith in the Holy
Trinity. We should be conscientious of what we are doing. Touch your
forehead, chest, left and right shoulder slowly while reverently and
meaningfully pronouncing this short prayer to the Holy Trinity.
Usually we begin other prayers with the Sign of the Cross. Yet, the
Sign of the Cross itself is already the beginning of prayer and not
just the means to another prayer. During the apparitions of Our Lady
of Lourdes to St. Bernadette Soubirous Our Lady made the Sign of the
Cross, which Bernadette imitated. The people watching were edified
and awed by the slow and reverential motion of Bernadette in making
The Sign of the Cross recalls the Love of the Trinity for us. We
have been redeemed by the cross we make on ourselves. The Father
sent the Son Who was incarnated through the power of the Holy Spirit
enveloping the Virgin Mary. All Three Persons willed and cooperated
in our salvation. (Another incarnation takes place at every Holy
Mass.) As our hand traces a path from our head (the Father sent) to
the chest (the Son) and across our shoulders (by the overshadowing
of the Holy Spirit) we can recall this Mystery.
Another meditation over the Sign of the Cross recalls the
doctrine of the Trinity which says that the Son (chest) proceeds
from the Father (head), and the Holy Spirit (across the shoulders
between head and chest) spirates from the love between the Father
and the Son.
I find it a great witness when a professional baseball player
before going to bat makes the Sign of the Cross. (He has good reason
to invoke God's Name not only to help him get a hit but to protect
him from being hit by a hundred-mile-an-hour fastball.) The Sign of
the Cross is a witness to others - don't be afraid to witness in
public. Some people make the Sign of the Cross before they begin to
drive somewhere. They are asking for God's protection and I'm sure
He gives it. The Sign of the Cross is a prayer to the Holy Trinity
that can precede and end any action. Also it can be used to ward off
Let us on this day of Holy Trinity Sunday learn to appreciate and
use more often this short and powerful prayer to the Holy Trinity.
"In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen."