Thursday, 24 November 2011

The Sign of the Cross

Early in my investigations of the Catholic faith, I was very struck by a scene in Brideshead Revisited, when Lord Marchmain is visited in his final hours by a priest, and despite having apparently lost consciousness, finally makes the sign of the cross over himself. It is a wonderful image of an encounter with grace at the point of death.

It was in spring and summer of 2010, when I was devouring the Catechism with great wonder and delight, that I began making the sign of the cross over myself. With my Protestant background, it felt like a transgression, but it began to make a difference. At that time I often rode a motorbike to work, and one cannot help being conscious of the proximity of death when biking. Making the sign of the cross before setting off thus takes on an added significance.

And I felt, in a way I can’t really describe, that as I made the sign, I began to step into a more public witness. I was carrying the cross with me wherever I went. It was becoming part of me.

I want to keep remembering that mystical sense of entering into a new world of faith, not by words and ideas but by a simple gesture. May God preserve me from taking lightly this wonderful gift of the sign of the cross.

(Posted by Anthony Radice - A Tiny Son of Mary)

(Image source: Wikimedia Commons. Author: Vassil Makarinov).

1 comment:

  1. Something nice and unusual struck me the other day whilst visiting a hospital in the UK.

    The hospital has a small chapel. It's a small room really and the only way you can find it is by the word "chapel" on a door in a long corridor with a lot of other doors. The door looks like any other apart from the inscription, and you can easily missing it whilst walking past.

    I was waiting for someone in the corridor and I noticed several people passing by making the Sign of the Cross as they passed that door.

    Very unusual in secular Britain.

    Time was we made the Sign of the Cross when we passed a church ... or before meals ... even in a restaurant in public. Haven't seen that for some time!

    God bless.


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