Why We Make the Sign Of The Cross
Making the sign of the Cross is part of worship throughout the Christian Church. In the Western Church, including the Church of England it is usually made with the right hand.
You begin by:
Touching your forehead - at the mention of the Father; Bring your hand down to the lower middle of your chest at the mention of the Son; and the left shoulder on the word "Holy" and the right shoulder on the word "Spirit."
The Sign of the Cross “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."
The Sign of the Cross expresses blessing. It symbolizes God’s blessing, and God embracing us with blessings. In the sign we express our belief in God from whom all our blessings flow and embrace our good God with mind and heart and all of our strength.
We also recall in particular the blessing of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We trace a cross on ourselves, for his death on the Cross and outpouring of love for us. The Sign of the Cross is a reminder of his love, a love found not only in the past, but here and now, as we make this sign upon ourselves; for the love of Jesus Christ abides forever.
The Sign of the Cross is also actually a prayer itself and should be said with reverence.
The Sign of the Cross can be made at almost any time and is usually made either in response to it being traced over us, in blessing by a priest, or at significant points in worship and prayer.
We also have a Stoup (the small dish of ‘Holy Water’ at the entrance of the Church and when entering or leaving the Church you should dip a finger in and make the sign of the Cross with the water. This will remind you of your Baptism and Confirmation in which you were signed with the sign of the Cross.
There are nine points within the Eucharist at which the sign of the Cross is commonly made upon yourself. They are:
At the words, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.”
At the words of the absolution.
At the beginning of the Gospel reading (the way of making the sign of the Cross at the beginning of the Gospel differs slightly from the usual way. It is made with the thumb and consists of three Crosses in one. A small cross is traced on the forehead, and on the lips and finally over the chest. This reminds us that we are redeemed in all parts, mind, spirit and body.)
At the end of the prayer for the dead in the intercessions
During the Prayer of Consecration when the Consecrated Host is raised, and
When the Chalice is raised.
At Holy Communion; before receiving the Host, and
Before receiving the Chalice
When the priest pronounces the final blessing.