Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Sign of the Cross - III

A seventh reason why we must make the Sign of the Cross is that It is a treasure that enriches our poverty. A beggar is he who everyday goes from door to door to beg his daily bread. Cresus was a beggar, Caesar was a beggar, the Emperors and Kings were all beggars, Empresses and Queens are beggars, crowned beggars if you will, but always beggars. Man’s indigence is present daily, at every hour, at every moment! From this results the great law of the moral world upon which few reflect. I’m talking about the law of prayer. The pagan world had lost a great part of its patrimony of the traditional truths, but it did not lose the knowledge of the law of prayer. The human race, from the first days of its appearance upon the earth, has observed it, although under various forms. The day in which no person, human or angelic, lift itself towards God in prayer, on that day there will cease all rapport between the Creator and the creature, between the rich par excellance and the beggar. The physical world itself has been organized in view of the perpetual observance of the law that Our Lord gave us: that we must pray always. Thanks to the successive path of the sun over one and the other part of the hemisphere half the human race is always awake to attend to prayer. One of the most potent prayers is the Sign of the Cross.

In the Old Testament, for the sacrifices, the priest first raised the victim, and then he moved it along from east to west. This movement formed the figure of the Cross. The High priest, and all other simple priest, blessed the people after the sacrifice doing the same movements. At the time of Ezekiel, when the abominations of Jerusalem were at its peak, a mysterious person received the order to cross the city and mark with the sign T the foreheads of those who cried for the iniquities of that guilty city. All those who were marked with the Sign of Salvation were spared from death. Tertullian and Jerome say: “The Tau Sign, marked on the foreheads of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who cried for the crimes of that city, protected them against the exterminating angels. The Sign of the Cross on the forehead is an assurance that those who are marked will not be the victims of the devil.” The Philistines had reduced the Israelites to the most humiliating servitude. Samson begins to free them. Unfortunately, the strong one of Israel let himself be surprised, and was chained and blinded. Meanwhile, Samson, meditating on how to take revenge, plans to kill thousands of his enemies in one blow. Providence disposed that he would accomplish his plan making the Sign of the Cross. Standing in between the two columns that held the building,” says St. Augustine, “the strong one of Israel extends his arms in the form of a Cross. In such an omnipotent attitude, he pushes against the columns, makes them tremble, and destroys his enemies.”

From there and many other examples in the Bible we can see that to pray with the arms extended, forming the Sign of the Cross, has been known from the most remote times of antiquity; and its mysterious omnipotence has been experienced. In a certain sense then, the Sign of the Cross would say what the Savior Himself said: “All power has been given to Me in the Heavens and on the earth.” Heaven itself is disposed in the form of the Sign of the Cross: What do the four cardinal points represent if not the four lines of the cross and the universality of its virtue.
We are soldiers, and the Sign of the Cross is a weapon against the enemy. More than three (3) thousand years ago, Job defined human life as a continuous battle. Centuries have gone by and the definition has remained the same. Life is a battle for you, for me, for your peers, for the rich as well as for the poor. It’s a battle that begins at the cradle and it does not end but at the grave! Such my dear friend is the condition of man, and we can’t do anything to change that. And who are man’s enemy, yours, and mine? Eh! We all know them, not only by their name, but also by their attacks: The devil, the world, and the flesh! Three (3) powers conspiring to bring us to ruin!

Demons are fallen angels. Their intellect, strength, agility, etc., are superior to ours; their number is incalculable. Jealous that the children of Adam were called to eternal happiness, which they had lost, their only aim and occupation is our destruction, increasing or passions, creating dangerous situations, darkening in us the gift of faith, destroying our moral sense, suffocating our remorse, making us accomplices of their rebellion in order to make us their companions in Hell!!! So, as sure as our battles, and man being in so weak a condition, could it be conceivable that Divine Wisdom would not give us a way to defend ourselves? On the contrary, in order to help us in our battles, God has given to man a powerful and universal weapon that is always at the reach of everyone. What could this weapon be???

Let us question every century, above all the Christian centuries. They respond with a unanimous voice that this weapon is the Sign of the Cross! This weapon had been used by the most learned and holy men in the East as well as in the West. St. John Chrysostom says: “Do not ever go out of your house without making the Sign of the Cross. It will be for you a shield, a weapon, an inexpugnable tower. Neither man nor demon will ever dare to attack you, if they see you clothed with this armor.” Origen says: “The Sign of the Cross is the invisible armor of Christians. Soldier of Christ that you are, wear (use) This Armor always during the day, and during the night, and everywhere. Without It do not undertake any task, whether it be sleeping or traveling, resting or working, eating or drinking, be always clothed with This Protective Armor. Adorn and protect every single one of your members with This Victorious Sign. At the sight of This Sign the infernal powers flee scared and stupefied.” St. Augustine used to say to the Catechumens: “We must confront the enemy with the Symbol and Sign of the Cross; so that the Christian vested with these weapons may easily triumph over the ancient and prideful tyrant.” St. Athanasius says: “By means of the Sign of the Cross the works of magic are made impotent; all the enchantments lose their efficacy. By means of It, the impetus of the most brutal will is moderated and pacified.”

3 comments:

Michael Evans said...

Your videos of Pope Pius XII are absolutely wonderful! I've been to the Archivio Luce site where it seems you've been finding them and apparently they have the full-length movie about Pius, "Pastor Angelicus." Of course, I dont have a blog of my own to post it on, but perhaps you might give this wonderful film the audience it deserves!

latinmass1983 said...

Michael,

Yes, I saw that video quite some time ago. However, I thought that it was too long to post here. Also, people might not have that much time to watch it at since they won't be able to fastforward.

But I might decide to add it later.

Anonymous said...

Hi it is nice to see your blog i love the Fatima Mary lovable and soothing visual it is