The New American Bible—recognizing that most readers don’t know what a thau is, much less what it looks like—instead says that God instructed the linen-clad man to “mark an X on the foreheads.” Either way, St. Jerome’s interpretation still carries water today in Catholic exegetical circles. All of our problems stem from sin--from our own sin or from the sin of others against us (and our sinful reaction to it) or from the fallen world in which we live. A regular plus sign (+) looks way too much like a cross, and is carefully … STEVE RAY HERE: The biggest difference is that the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus 2000 years ago and the other “denominations” are break-offs, protest groups that are of recent origin. The Sign of the Cross is made by touching the forehead with the fingers of the right hand, then the breast and then the left and right shoulders. His areas of interest include Eastern Christianity, Marian and Eucharistic theology, medieval history, and the saints. We Lutherans still practice it. The Church has given us wonderful customs and traditions to mark ourselves and to acknowledge our participation in the whole continuity of the Church and the work of Christ. The word for its last letter is tav which is also the word for mark. Although often translated as sealed, the Greek word in these three texts is the same as the one used in Revelation 7:3, sphragizō, which one biblical concordance defines as to set a seal upon, mark with a seal, to seal for a number of purposes, including security from Satan and to prove one’s testimony to a person that he is what he professes to be. My subject today--”The Meaning of the Cross”--may strike you as being a bit theological and impractical. sign of the Cross, Stephen Beale is a freelance writer based in Providence, Rhode Island. Luke 1:26-38 ESV / 2 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful. This has nothing to do with salvation as with faith and baptism through last 2,000 years. This seems to be a special situation in a unique period of trial and tribulation at the end of time where certain of God's people are for that unique period marked so at to preserve them. In crucifixion a person was either tied … A regular plus sign (+) looks way too much like a cross, and is carefully avoided in the Israeli school system as … sin ('oth "a sign" "mark" mopheth, "wonder"' semeion, "a sign," "signal," "mark"): A mark by which persons or things are distinguished and made known. The sign of the cross is the supreme sacramental. The simplest and most common Christian cross is the Latin cross, also … How Can Beauty & Culture Save the World? By the Sign of the Cross we pledge allegiance to Christ and invite the Holy Spirit to apply the cross to our lives—to take up our cross and follow Christ. It is the most common and visible means by which we confess our faith. A History of the Word “Catholic”. Can i please adopt it to my parish newspapper ? All rights reserved. In the Douay-Rheims translation, the name of the letter, thau, is offered. It means to put Jesus and other people first in your life. But it just so happens that there is compelling biblical evidence that supports this practice. John 2:11 - This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him. Origen (ad c. 185-c. 284) wrote, “This [letter Tau] bears a resemblance to the figure of the cross; and this prophecy [Ezek 9:4] is said to regard the sign made by Christians on the forehead, which all believers make whatsoever work they begin upon, and especially at the beginning of prayers, or of holy readings” (Selections in Ezekiel. The sign of the cross was well known in the symbolics of various ancient nations. Same with Anglicans and Methodists if I’m not mistaken. The Papal Cross is the official symbol of the Catholic pope in Rome and may be used only by the Pope. Many place the symbol of the cross upon their Bibles, pulpits, steeples, and car bumpers. Through Christs death on the cross, those who turn to Him are delivered from both the penalty and the power of sin. In Scripture used generally of an address to the senses to attest the existence of supersensible and therefore divine power. In Revelation 7, John witnesses four angels at the four corners of the earth, holding back storm winds ready to wreak havoc on the earth and sea. image: Hill of Crosses, Lithuania/Shutterstock, Tagged as: ), Catholic commentators have traditionally associated the seal on the foreheads of the servants of God with the Sign of the Cross. Jesus of Nazareth was crucified. The sources that were readily available, like the Haydock Bible Commentary and others, don’t elaborate, but it’s clear where he got the idea by taking a look at the Hebrew text for Ezekiel 9:4. Over time, Christians have imbued this small, simple gesture with volumes of theological meaning. At its heart is Calvary, the place where Jesus died so we could be forgiven. Catholic Exchange is a project of Sophia Institute Press. The combination of the words and the action are a creed—a statement of belief. Sinal da Cruz – Apologistas da Fé Católica, Exploring Prayer: The Rosary | En Via Christum, What Does the Word Catholic Mean? Tertullian: Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Philip Schaff, ed., Eerdmans, 1980, vol. Sacramentals, such as the Sign of the Cross, are not superstitious practices but are sacred signs by which various things in life are rendered holy through the effectual and sacramental grace of God. (For example, see the Haydock Bible Commentary here and Scott Hahn’s book Signs of Life: 40 Catholic Customs and Their Biblical Roots.). The Sign of the Cross is made by touching the forehead with the fingers of the right hand, then the breast and then the left and right shoulders. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/StephenBeale1, The Advent Mysteries of Annunciation & Incarnation. Defenders of the Catholic Faith | Hosted by Stephen K. Ray. The Sign of the Cross simply affirms in gestures the core of the creed—the existence of the Trinity and the crucifixion of Jesus. For unless that sign be applied, whether it be to the foreheads of believers, or to the very water out of which they are regenerated, or to the oil with which they receive the anointing chrism, or to the sacrifice that nourishes them, none of them is properly administered” (Tractates on John 118). Learn more about the history and symbolism of the cross. Copyright © 2000–2020 Stephen K. Ray. Likewise, our word for the letter B is bee, which happens to also be the name for a certain type of insect. The sign of the cross reflects biblical reality. Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:26; Luke 23:38; John 19:19 (Matthew 27:37) - "And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS." From about the 6th century BC until the 4th century AD, the cross was an instrument of execution that resulted in death by the most torturous and painful of ways. It is known either in the form … The practice has developed over time and is now a regular practice for over a billion people around the world. We mark ourselves as Christians through the Sign of the Cross. 3. St. Augustine: Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 1st series, Philip Schaff, ed., Eerdmans, 1983, vol. In the Sign of the Cross, we profess the deepest mysteries of the Christian Faith: the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--and the saving work of Christ on the Cross on Good Friday. Only the most reactionary of anti-Catholic prejudices would see in this gesture something to be argued against. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church we learn: “The Christian begins his day, his prayers and his activities with the Sign of the Cross: ‘in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Raised as an evangelical Protestant, he is a convert to Catholicism. So, for example, the last letter in our alphabet is Z, but the word for Z is actually zee. What was written on the sign that was hung on the cross above the head of Jesus? Specifically, St. Jerome says the mark was shaped like the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet, which, in its earliest forms had a cross-like shape. The Catholic Church has always seen outward gestures as means of expressing and actuating internal spiritual realities. The addition symbol we use here in Israel looks like this: ﬩ , like an upside down ‘T’. He has appeared on Fox News, C-SPAN and the Today Show and his writing has been published in the Washington Times, Providence Journal, the National Catholic Register and on MSNBC.com and ABCNews.com. This blessing is made by the tracing of an upright cross or + across the body with the right hand, often accompanied by spoken or mental recitation of the trinitarian formula: "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Now, in Ezekiel 9, the mark was to be put on the foreheads of those who grieved and lamented the idolatry and abominations of their fellow Israelites. Around 1,000 BC—a few hundred years before the writing of Ezekiel—it still had a cross-shape but was more like St. Andrew’s Cross. Learn more about the history and symbolism of the cross. Amen.’ The baptized person dedicates the day to the glory of God and calls on the Savior’s grace which lets him act in the Spirit as a child of the Father. 3, p. 435. In the New Testament the cross was the instrument of crucifixion, and hence used for the crucifixion of Christ itself (Eph. While the Bible does not instruct us to cross ourselves, the sign of the cross is not without biblical symbolism. Though the NT does not specifically mention the “Sign of the Cross”, there is scriptural warrant for such a gesture. A History of the Word “Catholic”. All three verses are clearly describing the sacrament of baptism, according to the Haydock Bible Commentary. But it just so happens that there is compelling biblical evidence that supports this practice. Central to that biblical message is the cross, which is also a central feature of the logo. The Romans fixed a person to a cross to die as a punishment. Ed. But does the Sign of the Cross go back as far as the Bible? St. Augustine (354–430 AD) wrote: “What else is the sign of Christ but the cross of Christ? 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