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Sign of the Cross
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Author:  ledaub1 [ Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Sign of the Cross

Could someone explain the correct way to do this? A link (especially to a site with pictures) would be ideal.

I read that the thumb and 1st 2 fingers should be touching each other while the ring and pinkie finger should point away from the body (tucked in towards the hand)and from the forehead to the solar plexus to the left and right shoulders. However, on Sunday I noticed that no one did it exactly that way. I saw whole hands used and whole hands in which only the middle finger touched the body.

I also noticed that some did it while genuflecting and some didn't. Which is correct?

Any help would be appreciated.

Author:  Custos [ Mon Jul 16, 2007 9:14 pm ]
Post subject: 

I have always done it using my whole hand, and not holding the fingers in any particular posture. When I dip my fingers in the font, usually only the tips of the three longest fingers get wet -- you should not go more than first-knuckle deep, if that, in the font!!

I then touch my (now wet) fingertips to my forehad while saying (to myself) "In the name of the Father..."
I move them to about where the bottom of my sternum would be as I say "...and of the Son.."

I move them towards my left shoulder (I usually "hit" halfway between the outside of the shoulder and the center line of my body, and about halfway between the top of the shoulder and the pocket on a dress shirt...) while saying "...and of the Holy..": I usually get to the point of contact with the shoulder while saying "Holy".

I now move them to the corresponding point on my right shoulder (yes, it is a bit awkward; yes, if anyone took a photo of you at that precise moment as your right hand touched your right shoulder you would look "gay") while saying "... Spirit. Amen."

You will now have a wet spot on your forehead and your necktie, and two wet spots on your shirt. Don't worry, they dry quickly. :wink:

I used to bless myself (i.e., make the sign of the cross; I have never heard a Catholic say "cross myself") when I genuflected, but now that my knees are shot I have to grab the bench-end of a pew with my right hand to haul myself back up -- and so I usually don't anymore when I am just getting in or out of a pew.

It is an Italian and Spanish/Hispanic custom to kiss the thumb after making the sign of the cross -- there is apparetly a reason for doing this, but for me this falls into the category of We Never Did This Where I Came From.

Author:  Rashbold [ Mon Jul 16, 2007 9:15 pm ]
Post subject:  This might help

From NewAdvent, Sign of the Cross: "The cross was originally traced by Christians with the thumb or finger on their own foreheads. This practice is attested by numberless allusions in Patristic literature, and it was clearly associated in idea with certain references in Scripture, notably Ezech., ix, 4 (of the mark of the letter Tau); Ex., xvii, 9-14; and especially Apoc., vii 3; ix, 4; xiv, 1. Hardly less early in date is the custom of marking a cross on objects -- already Tertullian speaks of the Christian woman "signing" her bed (cum lectulum tuum signas, "Ad uxor.", ii, 5) before retiring to rest-and we soon hear also of the sign of the cross being traced on the lips (Jerome, "Epitaph. Paulæ") and on the heart (Prudentius, "Cathem.", vi, 129)

Unfortunately, no pictures. Sorry. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13785a.htm

What I remember hearing from a friend of mine, a Greek orthodox priest, actually, was that the larger cross, traced from the brow to the chest and then the shoulders, likely arose from the Nestorian heresy, if I remeber him correctly. Two fingers were used when signing the Cross, to indicate the dual natures of Jesus Christ, and a larger motion was adopted to accomodate. The practice moved to three fingers being pressed together, these symbolizing the Holy Trinity, while the other two turned in towards one's palm denote the dual nature of Jesus Christ. The Greeks, however move from right to left, whereas in the Western Churches we move from left to right.

Beyond that, however, I'm not sure of precisely the proper practice. Hope that was some help, though. :)

Author:  Peregrinator [ Tue Jul 17, 2007 8:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sign of the Cross

ledaub1 wrote:
I read that the thumb and 1st 2 fingers should be touching each other while the ring and pinkie finger should point away from the body (tucked in towards the hand)and from the forehead to the solar plexus to the left and right shoulders. However, on Sunday I noticed that no one did it exactly that way. I saw whole hands used and whole hands in which only the middle finger touched the body.

There is no exact finger posture in the West. Most people do it with a cupped hand. But yes, forehead ("In the name of the Father") to chest ("and of the Son") to left shoulder ("and of the Holy") to right ("Ghost. Amen.") is correct.

Quote:
I also noticed that some did it while genuflecting and some didn't. Which is correct?

Either.

Author:  Molly [ Tue Jul 24, 2007 10:22 pm ]
Post subject: 

Custos wrote:
It is an Italian and Spanish/Hispanic custom to kiss the thumb after making the sign of the cross -- there is apparetly a reason for doing this, but for me this falls into the category of We Never Did This Where I Came From.


The thumb that is kissed makes a kind of cross with the index finger.
Therefore, kissing the cross.
iirc

Author:  Charles07 [ Wed Jul 25, 2007 7:58 am ]
Post subject: 

* 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

Then:

* 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."


Image





Image



Image

Author:  lbt [ Wed Jul 25, 2007 4:44 pm ]
Post subject: 

Charles07 wrote:
* * 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.


This option C is common among Orthodox Christians, too. I did watch them make a sign of the cross when I was at Kazan, Tatarstan Republic, Russian Federation.

Author:  Molly [ Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:09 pm ]
Post subject: 

lbt wrote:
Charles07 wrote:
* * 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.


This option C is common among Orthodox Christians, too. I did watch them make a sign of the cross when I was at Kazan, Tatarstan Republic, Russian Federation.


I've adopted this for myself as a personal... devotion? Not sure if that's the proper way to put it, but I hope ykwim.
:)

Author:  Seatuck [ Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:27 am ]
Post subject: 

I do option C as well.

Author:  chuckster121 [ Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:18 am ]
Post subject: 

I too use option C.

Author:  elfdream [ Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sign of the Cross

Quote:
I used to bless myself (i.e., make the sign of the cross; I have never heard a Catholic say "cross myself") when I genuflected, but now that my knees are shot I have to grab the bench-end of a pew with my right hand to haul myself back up -- and so I usually don't anymore when I am just getting in or out of a pew.



I do the same but mine has more to do with balance problems. I grab hold of the pew or I'll topple over. :D

Author:  Peregrinator [ Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sign of the Cross

ledaub1 wrote:
I also noticed that some did it while genuflecting and some didn't. Which is correct?

Either is correct. You don't have to sign yourself when genuflecting but it sure doesn't hurt to do it.

Author:  forumjunkie [ Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re:

Image


I didn't know that Larry Tate was a priest!

Image

Author:  Learner [ Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sign of the Cross

The priest in this picture is doing what I was taught to do by the nuns. We were taught to place our left hand where he has it in the picture. Although I've often thought that the reason the nuns taught this was to make sure we were not putting our left hand in out pocket while making the sign of the cross.

Learner

Author:  tptram [ Sun Apr 27, 2008 12:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sign of the Cross

I also use option C

Tak

Author:  Teacher's Widow [ Wed Apr 30, 2008 11:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sign of the Cross

I've always used option D.

Author:  ExsurgeDomine [ Fri May 16, 2008 10:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sign of the Cross

Learner wrote:
The priest in this picture is doing what I was taught to do by the nuns. We were taught to place our left hand where he has it in the picture. Although I've often thought that the reason the nuns taught this was to make sure we were not putting our left hand in out pocket while making the sign of the cross.

Learner


Do you still place your left hand (as in the picture above) as you enter church for Mass? What about praying at the dinner table? Anything different there or the same things? By the way, are there any special table prayers that you were taught and still pray? I was taught:

'Come Lord Jesus,
Be our guest, and let these Thy gifts to us be blessed. Oh, give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his mercy endures forever.'

Author:  Peregrinator [ Fri May 16, 2008 10:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sign of the Cross

catholicinquirer2008 wrote:
By the way, are there any special table prayers that you were taught and still pray?

Bless us O Lord and these Thy gifts which we are about to receive from Thy bounty.

Author:  Jayne [ Sun May 18, 2008 11:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sign of the Cross

What is genuflecting?

Author:  viking1 [ Sun May 18, 2008 11:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sign of the Cross

kneeling on one foot. Before we go to sit in the pews, you genuflect on your right knee to show respect to Jesus who is in the tabernacle in front of you.

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