Quotes: The Sign of the Cross

Statue honoring Elizabeth Ann Seton in New York City's St. Patrick's Cathedral. Seton was the first American to be named a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.

Statue honoring Elizabeth Ann Seton in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Seton was the first American to be named a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.

Galatians 2:19b-20 (NRSV)
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Three quotes from Elizabeth Ann Seaton
The bright and glorious cross which we now drag alone through the mud and dirt, how beautiful and lovely it will appear when we shall find that it opens the door of our eternal happiness for us. Follow on with courage!

If you find that there are any obstacles in your way — and doubtless you find many, as every Christian does, in the fulfillment of duty — still persevere with yet more earnestness, and rejoice to bear your share in the cross, which is our passport and seal to the kingdom of our Redeemer.

on making the sign of the cross for the first time: I was cold with the awful impression my first making it gave me — the sign of the cross of Christ on me! Deepest thoughts came with it of I know not what earnest desires to be closely united with Him who died on it. Oh, that last day when it is to be borne in triumph!

Prayer from the Sarum Primer (1538)
with motions in keeping with the spirit of the prayer
God be in my head and in my understanding
draw a small cross on your forehead with your finger
God be in my eyes and in my looking
draw a small cross next to one eye and then the other
God be in my mouth and in my speaking
draw a small cross on your lips
God be in my heart and in my thinking
draw a small cross over your heart
God be at my end and at my departing.
place both arms at your sides, palms facing front

Christian saints are often pictured gazing empathetically at the cross. Why? Because it is a soul-shattering image of the willing suffering of God in solidarity with every single “shedding of blood since the foundation of the world” (Luke 11:50). It is the only half-satisfying answer to the whole human tragedy. But it does not satisfy the rational mind, only the empty and seeking soul. After true gazing, the cross becomes a two-way mirror. We see our own suffering, the suffering of the world, and God’s suffering as all one and the same. – Richard Rohr

Jesus’ wounded body is an icon for what we are all doing to one another and to the world. Jesus’ resurrected body is an icon of God’s promise, response, and victory over these crucifixions. The two images contain the whole transformative message of the Gospel. – Richard Rohr

All God’s plans have the mark of the cross on them,
and all His plans have death to self in them.
– E. M. Bounds

The summation of the life of Jesus in the symbol and the sign of the cross is not meant so much as an act of “taking up” the cross, as it is of “taking the cross inside.” The direction of the sign of the cross is inward, which suggests embracing and internalizing the life of Jesus. Nevertheless, this inward direction suggests that, starting with the historical events of the life of Jesus, we live these events here and now, appropriating them outside time and space, as we become one with the timeless Christ.
Andreas Andreopoulos, The Sign of the Cross

Never leave your house without making the sign of the cross. It will be to you a staff, a weapon, an impregnable fortress. Neither man nor demon will dare to attack you, seeing you covered with such powerful armor. Let this sign teach you that you are a soldier, ready to combat against the demons, and ready to fight for the cross of justice. Are you ignorant of what the cross has done? It has vanquished death, destroyed sin, emptied hell, dethroned Satan, and restored the universe. Would you then doubt its power?
John Chrysostom

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