I went to Catholic school when I was younger, but I havn’t been spirtually in touch since. I’m getting back into it now, and from what I remember:
Touch forhead with right hand thumb and index finger is in the name of the father, then it’s to your heart in the name of the son, then left to right shoulder is in the name of the holy spirit, followed by Amen.
I don’t remember if it’s right &:gt: left or the other way around… Also i’ve seen people kiss their hands afterwards, I was never taught that, what does it mean?
I havn’t been in church in a while, and I want to go again. How does it work? When I was younger I’ve always had a church group to go with. Thanks!
The Catholic Sign of the Cross is absolutely ancient, rooted not only in the Old Testament but the New (Apocalypse speaks of those who have the sign of God in their foreheads — and those who have the sign of the Beast in their foreheads). When Catholics undergo the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Bishop (sometimes a priest) seals the sign on our foreheads with holy chrism.
Crossing one’s self recalls this seal, and the invocation that is said while making this holy sign calls on our God — the Father, His Son, and the Holy Ghost — and is a sign of our of belief: it is both a ":mini-creed": that asserts our belief in the Triune God, and a prayer that invokes Him. The use of holy water when making this sign, such as we do when we enter a church, also recalls our Baptism and should bring to mind that we are born again of water and Spirit, thanks be to God.
Because of what the Sign indicates — the very Cross of our salvation — Satan hates it, and our using it makes demons flee. Make the Sign in times of temptation and confusion for great spiritual benefit!
The Sign of the Cross is made thus: First choose your style:
Option A. With your right hand, touch the thumb and ring finger together, and hold your index finger and middle finger together to signify the two natures of Christ. This is the most typical Western Catholic practice.
Option B. Hold your thumb and index finger of your right hand together to signify the two natures of Christ
Option C. Hold your thumb, index finger, middle finger of your right hand together (signifying the Trinity) while tucking the ring finger and pinky finger (signifying the two natures of Christ) toward your palm. This is the typically Eastern Catholic practice.
Option D: Hold your right hand open with all 5 fingers — representing the 5 Wounds of Christ — together and very slightly curved, and thumb slightly tucked into palm
touch the forehead as you say (or pray mentally) ":In nomine Patris": (":In the name of the Father":)
touch the breastbone or top of the belly as you say ":et Filii": (":and of the Son":)
touch the left shoulder, then right shoulder, as you say ":et Spiritus Sancti": (":and of the Holy Ghost":). Note that some people end the Sign by crossing the thumb over the index finger to make a cross, and then kissing the thumb as a way of ":kissing the Cross.":
An optional prayer to pray after signing yourself in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is this one, said to be favored by St. Benedict:
By the Sign of the Cross, deliver me from my enemies, O Lord.
Eastern Catholics (and Orthodox) go from right shoulder to left and end sometimes by touching their right side, above the hip, to symbolize Christ’s being pierced by the sword.
Good question. Not all Catholics make the sign of the cross the same way.
Ideally, you should touch your forehead then somewhere around your navel area, not the heart. Then shoulder to shoulder. But most folks just look like they’re brushing a fly from their nose.
Eastern Rite Catholics, such as the Byzantine, cross right to left – the opposite of Western Rite Catholics, such as Roman.
When you enter a church you’ll spot the holy water font. Dip a finger and bless yourself. Before entering your pew, you genuflect towards the tabernacle as a sign of respect the Real Presense of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
You might want to get a paperback missal to help you along. If you’re a western rite Catholic, such as roman, they’ll have them at the pews. Most easter rites don’t use them much because their liturgy isn’t changing every 5 years like ours has been.
It’s completely fine to sit through a few masses until you get the hang of it. Don’t do the standing and sitting. Just kick back. Please note that since the liturgy HAS changed and is due for more changes, things are often different from church to church. Back in 2005 they changed the liturgy so the entire congregation should stand before the ":lavabo": – where the priest washes his hands. We should all be standing before he begins with ":Pray brothers and sisters…": So too, in 2005 it changed that we should all be kneeling THROUGH the Great Amen. But most folks are still standing up for it.
So don’t sweat it if things feel funky for a bit. Or if half your church is doing one thing and half the other. It’s OK to church hop until you find one you are very comfortable in.
Oregon Catholic Press or Magnificat are both places to get subscriptions to paperback missals if you’d like to try getting up to speed. Magnificat is the most popular because it’s pocket sized with daily prayers and reflections.
You might want to sign up for the Adoremus Bulletin. It will keep you updated on changes in the liturgy.
The sign of the cross is closely tied to baptism. Jesus told the apostles, вЂњGo therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy SpiritвЂќ (Mt 28:19).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that when Catholics are baptized вЂњthe sign of the cross, on the threshold of the celebration, marks with the imprint of Christ the one who is going to belong to him and signifies the grace of the Redemption Christ won for us by his crossвЂќ (CCC 1235).
Thereafter, each time we make the sign of the cross we remember that we belong to Christ.
The Christian begins his day, his prayers, and his activities with the sign of the cross: вЂњIn the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.вЂќ The baptized person dedicates the day to the glory of God and calls on the SaviorвЂ™s grace which lets him act in the Spirit as a child of the Father. The sign of the cross strengthens us in temptations and difficulties. (CCC 2157)
Head, heart, left, right — yes, that’s how it’s done.
In some cultures, after making the sign of the Cross a person will make an ":X": with his thumb over his forefinger and bring it to his lips in a quick gesture of love and respect, but it’s not done everywhere and it’s fine if you omit that part.
Regarding which shoulder to touch first, it is left-to-right in the Latin Rite, and right-to-left in the Eastern Rites and the Orthodox Church. Both ways are acceptable, but in the Catholic Church (except Eastern Rite) left-to-right is normally done.
When pronouncing a blessing (as the priest does during Mass) it is reversed so that from the recipient’s point of view, the direction is the same as when he crosses himself.
The theological significance of the direction is as follows:
In the Latin Rite, the liturgical emphasis is on God drawing us to Him. This is why our churches usually have such an open and upward-reaching feel with high ceilings, steeples, and so on. This is reflected in the Sign of the Cross, where to go from left to right represents God drawing us out of our wickedness into communion with Him (in Latin, ":left": and ":sinister": are related words).
In the Eastern Rites, the liturgical emphasis is on God coming down to us. This is why Eastern Rite churches tend to be domed, which gives them a surrounding feeling to represent God’s presence descending upon us and surrounding us. To make the Sign of the Cross from right to left represents Jesus descending from the right hand of the Father to become a man and dwell among us.
It’s left to right if you’re Roman Catholic, but right to left if you’re Russian or Greek Orthodox.
Kissing the tips of your fingers afterward is not necessary, but some people do it as a sign of their love for God and Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross.
Welcome back to the Church!
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I open my hand and touch my brow, and say, ":In the name of the Father": Then I touch my heart with my hand, and say, ":and of the Son.": I touch my shoulders left and right, and say, ":and of the Holy Spirit": I say, ":Amen.": The prayer of the Sign of the Cross is – A statement of belief in the Holy Trinity – A statement of belief in and thanksgiving for Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross – God blessing us – Us Blessing God (":I will bless the Lord at all times":) – A prayer using your entire body – A Bible quote (Matthew 28:19) With love in Christ.
You’ve got it right: ":In the name of the Father (forehead), and of the Son (heart), and of the Holy Spirit (left shoulder to right shoulder).
The kiss of the hand is simply a gesture of love and affection to God, that we’re entering into prayer, communion with Him, and offering Him a kiss.
By the way, congratulations on coming back. You’ve made God’s heart smile.
I open my hand and touch my brow, and say,
":In the name of the Father":
Then I touch my heart with my hand, and say,
":and of the Son.":
I touch my shoulders left and right, and say,
":and of the Holy Spirit":
The Sign of the Cross is
+ A statement of belief in the Holy Trinity
+ A statement of belief in and thanksgiving for Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross
+ God blessing us
+ Us Blessing God (":I will bless the Lord at all times":)
+ A prayer using your entire body
+ A Bible quote (Matthew 28:19)
With love in Christ.
Touch forehead ":In the Name of the Father…":
Touch Heart ":and of the Son…":
Touch Left Shoulder ":And of the Holy-":
Touch Right Shoulder ":-Spirit. Amen.":
We touch our heads to tell God we will think about Him constantly. We touch our hearts to tell Him we love Him, and ask Him to remain there. We touch our shoulders to tell God we will shoulder the crosses He gives us for His glory.
You hands can be held either all five fingers together to represent the five wounds of Christ, or three down and two up (pointer finger and middle finger up) to represent the Trinity and the two natures of Christ.
The ‘kiss’ afterwards is done by crossing your pointer finger over your thumb to form a ‘mini-cross’. You kiss the cross as if you were kissing the wood of the True Cross, thanking Christ for His suffering and salvific redemption.
It’s a prayer in devotion to the Blessed Trinity, focuses our prayers on sending them to the one true God, unites us to our fellow Catholics, and asks for Blessings and Grace from God.