For Trinity Sunday: the Sign of the Cross

“This morning, mass began with something that most of us probably take for granted, and hardly think about. We do it so often.

It’s the sign of the cross.

In the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

It’s not just a gesture that we use to punctuate prayer. It’s not just a sign of our Catholicity.

It is a re-statement of our baptism.

The words a priest said over each of us as water was poured over our heads…the first words that made us members of the Body of Christ. Those words we speak again, and in effect, re-Christen ourselves. We brand ourselves with God in His three persons. And whatever we do or say after is in the name of the father…and the son…and the Holy Spirit.

We become icons of the Blessed Trinity.

What an incredible gift.

What an incredible responsibility.

Just think of what that simple gesture means.

We touch our heads for the Father – the one whose mere idea, whose smallest thought, created us. This is where we began, in the mind of God.

We touch our hearts for the Son – the one whose unceasing love took him to the cross, and the one who taught us, as well, how to love through his own Sacred Heart.

We touch our shoulders for the Holy Spirit – the one who gives us strength, and who carries us on His shoulders — on His wings if you will – and who enables us to be God’s arms, working on earth.

When we make the sign of the cross, and pray the sign of the cross with those words, we make of ourselves an offering, and a prayer. We embody what the Trinity represents. And we seek to bring that with our lives and with our actions to all those we meet. We do it in the name of God – all that He is, all that He does.

We do it in the name of the Trinity.”

From my homily for Trinity Sunday, 2008

  • http://byzantinediaspora.com S Braunlich

    It is interesting to note that in the Byzantine Catholic world the sign is so important that even the way you hold your hand is ordered to the Trinity. You always tuck the ring and pinkie into the palm (signifying Christ as God and Man) and bring the other fingers together to a point (showing the Trinity as three distince persons of one substance).

  • Jennifer

    @S Braunlich – Thank you for the insight in to the hand gesture. My dear mother-in-law always holds her hand that way and now I see new meaning in it.


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