How many times have you made the sign of the cross in your life? If you’re a Catholic, then you’ve probably done it thousands of times every year. Maybe it’s just a rote gesture that permits entry into the pew or kicks off the blessing at dinner. But with the upcoming feast of the Exultation of the Cross, we might do well to take a closer look at what it really means.
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” As we invoke the names of the Persons of the Trinity, we do it not only with our voices, but with a gesture of the body. We literally draw the cross over ourselves, over the head and heart. When it is done mindfully, a sort of imprint is made upon us of this central icon of our faith, which allows the spirit of Christ to permeate every part of our being. It is a confirmation that we are redeemed, spirit, soul and body!
Through the physical suffering and resurrection of Jesus, what was once the instrument of Adam’s sin has now become the dwelling place of God. The triumph of the cross is revealed every time we make that familiar sign. Our bodies are sanctified, along with our souls within them, and what a joy it is to remember that someday, both will be in heaven. We rely on the cross for our eternal welfare, so let us make this sign with gratitude and gusto—as if our lives depended on it. Because, well, they do!