A FORM OF PREPARATION for prayer, practiced from time immemorial by Roman Catholics and increasingly used by thoughtful non-Catholics, is to make the sign of the cross on oneself as a confession of obedience to the Christian way. This is accomplished by placing the thumb against the first two fingers of the right hand and thoughtfully touching the forehead, the heart, the left side of the chest, and the right side of the chest.
I once heard a nun, who had been a Protestant and a homemaker until she was 40 years old, say that she wished her Protestant friends were not so afraid of this simple gesture of relationship to Christ. Even if she were to leave the Roman Catholic church, she said, she would continue to make the sign of the cross before prayers, for she found the inward dimension of this symbolic action exceedingly helpful.
– John Killinger
From pages 31-32 of Beginning Prayer by John Killinger. Copyright © 2012 by John Killinger. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
Why is this gesture helpful to some Christians? Share your thoughts.
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28, NRSV
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This week we remember: Alice Paul (July 09).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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