"... because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world"
On Good Friday, the Church focuses on Christ's suffering on the cross, through which He saved the world.
Through the centuries, the cross has always been the symbol of our Faith, a symbol that we reverence. The cross is found at the top of Catholic churches and those of some other Christian denominations. The cross marks most Christian graves and is the form of some monuments to those who fought defending our country.
For centuries Christians, both Catholic and Orthodox, have signed themselves with the sign of the cross -- saying at the same time "In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
At the Sacrament of Baptism, the minister, the parents and godparents trace the sign of the cross on the forehead of the person to be baptized, which Sacrament initiates him as a Christian and calls him to perfection as sharer in Christ's being priest, prophet and king.
I think that if there is anything that should be in common with all Christians of any denomination, it should be reverence for the cross. It is from the cross that Jesus our Savior delivered His last greatest sermon. It is the cross that He carried from the courts of judgement to His death. Without the cross, there would be no resurrection.
Wearing the cross is something that identifies a person as one who believes in Christ. For Christ is associated with the cross. And if we want to be associated with Christ, we should also value the cross.
The cross identifies a follower of Christ. He said, "If anyone wants to follow Me, he should deny himself, carry his cross and follow Me."
Not only popes and bishops use the cross (in the form of a crosier) to identify their office. Many Catholics have the cross hanging around their necks either inside or outside their shirts. This is to remind them of their Christian identity and of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Making the sign of the cross to bless themselves has been the practice of members of the Church for many centuries. The saints and the early Christians were known to make this sign on themselves to invoke the help of the Blessed Trinity. The cross is known to be the terror of devils. Exorcists use the cross to drive evil spirits from those possessed.
Unfortunately, the practice of blessing oneself with the sign of the cross was eventually met with disfavor and even disdain from some of those who later profess to be Christians, and avoidance by those who used to do it before as Catholics.
But all the more we should keep this beautiful practice of our faith. We should keep the symbol of our redemption in our homes, in our person. The cross does not belong only in churches and church steeples. It belongs in your heart. Because if Christ is in your heart, His cross is also there.
Let us keep our practice of making the sign of the cross even outside our homes and churches. Let us not be ashamed of starting our grace before meals with the sign of the cross even when we are eating in public.
We should love the cross as a main symbol of our Faith and of our love for Christ, and the Father, and the Holy Spirit! #
"But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." Galatians 6:14
"Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." Luke 9:26