Every organization typically has a distinctive sign by which its members may be recognized. Our Sign is the sign of the Cross.
The banner under which the soldiers of Christ march is the Cross: “Vexilla regis prodeunt, fulget Crucis mysterium… The banners of the King advance, the mystery of the Cross shines forth.” Our sign is the sign of the Cross.
The catechism of Christian doctrine published in 1912 at the order of Pope St. Pius X teaches us that in the sign of the Cross we express by the words the unity and trinity of God, and by its form the passion and death of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is very useful to make the sign of the Cross, frequently and with devotion, because it is an external act of faith that enlivens the faith within us, triumphs over human respect and temptations, and obtains graces from God. It is always good to make the sign of the Cross, but especially before and after any religious act, before and after meals and sleep, and in the midst of dangers to the soul and the body, the catechism adds.
Many are ignorant of what the sign of the Cross is, its character, its origin, its meaning and its composition. It is often made out of simple habit, without understanding the beauty and the dignity of this sacred sign.
This is why Fr. Leon Roger, chaplain of the Basilica of Notre-Dame des Victoires in Paris, in the early 20th century, included in his Manuel piété et de liturgie [Manual of piety and liturgy] for altar boys and other boys involved with the basilica, a chapter on the sign of the Cross that has now been republished as a work in its own right by Parthenon editions.
In the first part the author recalls the historical origins of the sign of the Cross, examines its elements, words and external gestures, and explains its dogmatic and moral meaning. The second part examines its place in the liturgy of the Church, in the Missal, the Ritual, the Pontifical and the Breviary. The last part emphasizes its power, its effect on souls, the salutary fruits it can obtain, even the miracles it can work.
This book will make the sign of the Cross more loved and will inspire us to make it with greater respect, to repeat it more often and thus to benefit from the precious fruits attached to it.
The holy Curé of Ars explained,
We must make the sign of the Cross with great respect. We begin with the head: it is the head, the creation, the Father; then the heart: love, life, Redemption, the Son; the shoulders: strength, the Holy Ghost. Everything reminds us of the Cross. We are ourselves made in the shape of a cross.
Leon Roger, Le signe de la croix [The Sign of the Cross]
Parthenon editions, 102 pages.
11x17.8 cm, 10 € editions-parthenon.com – Chemin des Buttes Blanches – 91410 Dourdan