Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Sign of the Cross II

† The Sign of the Cross †
BUT that’s not all! Take a look at what the Church does through the person of the priest at the Altar. Armed with the Omnipotence that was given to Her, She commands not only creatures, but the Creator Himself; not man, but God Himself. At Her voice the Heavens are opened, the Word incarnates and renews all the mysteries of His life, death, and resurrection! Also, in the course of the Action par excellance, that is the Mass, what does the Church do? More than ever, She multiplies the Sign of the Cross; She surrounds Herself with the Sign of the Cross; She walks by means of the Sign of the Cross; She repeats It so frequently that the number could even seem an exaggeration, if it were not deeply mysterious!!! Do you know how many times the priest makes the Sign of the Cross during the Mass? Forty-eight (48) times! I’m wrong, forty-nine (49) times because as long as the Holy Sacrifice is taking place, the priest himself is a living Sign of the Cross. Would the Catholic Church, the great Instructor of nations, the great Teacher of Truth, would She be amused at repeating so frequently in Her most solemn act a useless, superstitious and unimportant sign? If you or your friends think so, then you are guilty of incredulity.

A fourth motive for making the Sign of the Cross as the first Christians did is those people who do not make the Sign of the Cross.
1) The Pagans: Chinese, Indians, Tibetans, savages, adorers of idols, people completely degraded and unhappy. These do not make the Sign of the Cross.
2) Muslims: pigs for sensualism, tigers for cruelty; these do not make the Sign of the Cross.
3) Jews: deeply encrusted in a dense stratum of ridiculous superstitions, living petrification of a decayed race. These do not make the Sign of the Cross.
4) Heretics: (Protestants) - impertinent sect followers, who in their pride and protests, have lost all trace of Truth. Protestants do not make the Sign of the Cross.
5) Bad Catholics: renegades of their baptisms, slaves of human respect, ignorants and arrogants who speak of everything and know nothing, adorers of their bellies, of pleasure, of materials. These do not make the Sign of the Cross.
6) Beasts: Bipeds and quadrupeds of every species; dogs, cats, donkeys, mules, camels, crocodiles, ostriches, hippopotamus. These do not make the Sign of the Cross.

A fifth reason for making the Sign of the Cross is that we are creatures of dust and the Sign of the Cross ennobles us. We are worms of the earth on the cradle, and food of worms in the grave. We are weak, nothing, shamefully confused as any other animal when we are born. However, we are the image of God; we are the crown of creation! God touches our foreheads and imprints the divine sign that ennobles us! It ennobles us because it comes from Heaven! We know that It comes from Heaven because the earth confesses not to have invented It. Go through every country and every century, nowhere will you find a man who claims to have invented the Sign of the Cross, or a Saint who claims to have taught It, or a council that claims to have imposed It! Tertullian says: “Tradition teaches It, practice confirms It, and the Faith observes It.”

A sixth reason to make the Sign of the Cross is that It is a book that instructs our ignorance. Creation, Redemption, Glorification. These three words are necessary to man more than the bread that nourishes him, more than the air he breathes. What doctor will be charged with teaching the indispensable Truth? St. Paul, St. Augustine, St. Thomas, or another great genius of the East or the West? No! These doctors die; here, there’s need of one that will not die. There’s need of a doctor that is everywhere, that speaks a language intelligible to all, to the savage as well as to the civilized man. Who will be this doctor? You have already said it: The Sign of the Cross! This and only this sign fulfills all the required conditions. It does not die; It is everywhere; Its language is universal. An instant is enough for It to teach us Its lesson! An instant is enough for everyone to understand Its lesson. Behold the Sign of the Cross! Behold the duly established catechist of the human race!!!

When we make the Sign of the Cross we say In the Name not in the names, which teaches us that there is an indivisible unity of the Divine Essence. Through these words a boy or a girl knows more than the philosophers of the old paganism ever knew! Pronouncing the word of the Father a new and immense ray of light shines in our intelligence. This Sign of the Cross tells us that there’s a Being, Father of all fathers, Eternal Beginning of the Being from which creatures take their origin. As we continue saying: And of the Son, the Sign of the Cross continues giving Its lesson. It tells us that the Father of all fathers has a Son similar to Himself; It teaches us that This Eternal Son once made Himself Son of Man in the Womb of a Virgin to rescue man. Man was lost. Then we end by saying: And of the Holy Ghost. This word completes the teaching of the Sign of the Cross; thanks to It we know that there is in God Unity of Essence and Trinity of Persons.

Based on all this, what does the modern world knows then? This century of intellect, which does not know how to make the Sign of the Cross, knows not more and not less than the pagans knew! This world adores the god-me, the god-commence, the god-vapor, the god-cotton, the god-belly! As means of satisfaction for its concupiscence, it adores the science of matter, of chemistry, of physics, of mechanics, of dynamics, salt, etc. Behold its gods, its cults, its theology, its philosophies, its morals, its life!!!

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