The sign of the cross starts from touching yourself on your forehead with the finger or fingers on your right hand while saying “In the name of the Father”. Then moving the finger or fingers to the centre of your chest and saying “and of the Son”. And moving your finger or fingers to your left shoulder and then to right shoulder while saying “and of the Holy Spirit”. That’s it and that’s all. If for some reason there are more moves to do it, they are small alterations in our ritual that depends on the denomination we belong and we subscribe. But those four moves and three phrases complete your sign of the cross that stands as your defining mark of your religion. If one will ask the right way of sign of the cross, it will be a broad description to answer back.
There is no single way of sign of the cross to say this is the proper way to do it. Depends on where you live, your sign of the cross can differ from the above. Some are touching each other palms at the end, others are kissing their fingers. While others are using three fingers together, some are two while others use only their thumbs. In other places it is from right to left shoulder. It really depends in our location. If you’re from Eastern Orthodox, Western church’s Anglican, Oriental Orthodox, or Eastern Catholic Churches or if you are Lutheran. In some country like Russia, they do it from right shoulder to left. In Spain and Mexico, they kiss their thumb while in Asia’s most dominated Christian country Philippines touch their chin or the lower lip. In west, they do the sign it in a small way by writing through their thumb a small cross over the forehead, lips and at the center of their breast.
It only claims that there is no such thing as the most right way of signing the cross. In our religious conviction, we should not be conscious if it’s right or wrong as long as you’re true when you’re doing it. Correctness is not important anyway, it is a dying practice anyhow because some of Christians are not doing the sign of the cross. And either way of the above mentioned methods doesn’t matter one way or another. At any rate, neither way is written in the Bible, neither is right or wrong, none of them were dictated by Scripture. In the Bible, it is not instructed to cross ourselves, only the parish priests and tradition dictate how you do your sign of the cross. No one can stop or criticize your sign of the cross, as long as you are sincere when you do this then you are the most right.
Sign of the cross is the symbol of Christianity. It is a practice of Christian that hints the start of the prayer, gesture of respect and recognition, and show of appreciation and gratitude. It means so many things in our Christendom. Joining the three fingers (thumbs, index and middle) symbolizes the Holy Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Others are using four fingers which the fourth represents Virgin Mary, while others are using their hands that represent their inclusion with the four pre-mentioned persona. In signing the cross, the forehead symbolizes the heaven, our stomach is the earth, and our shoulders are the place of the God. From our doubts of the proper way of making sign of the cross to the interpretations of this sign, this is our belief as Christian that should not be questioned among us within our religion.
By Alex V. Villamayor
February 1, 2014.