14 September 2008
In the name of the...
The most basic Christian gesture in prayer is and always will be the sign of the cross. It is a way of confessing Christ crucified with one's very body.
To seal oneself with the sign of the cross is a visible and public Yes to him who suffered for us; to him who in the body has made God's love visible, even to the utmost; to the God who reigns not by destruction but by the humility of suffering and love, which is stronger than all the power of the world and wiser than all the calculating intelligence of men.
The sign of the cross is a confession of faith: I believe in him who suffered for me and rose again; in him who has transformed the sign of shame into a sign of hope and of the love of God that is present with us. The confession of faith is a confession of hope: I believe in him who in his weakness is the Almighty; in him who can and will save me even in apparent absence and impotence.
By signing ourselves with the cross, we place ourselves under the protection of the cross, hold it in front of us like a shield that will guard us in all the distress of daily life and give us the courage to go on. We accept it as a signpost that we follow. The cross shows us the road of life - the imitation of Christ.
Whenever we make the sign of the cross, we accept our Baptism anew; Christ from the cross draws us, so to speak, to himself. We make the sign of the cross on ourselves and thus enter the power of the blessing of Jesus Christ. We make the sign over people to whom we wish a blessing. Through the cross, we can become sources of blessing for one another.
Pope Benedict XVI