The earliest and easiest prayer that I learnt since I was a little boy was making the Sign of the Cross. My mother was the first teacher who taught me to pray. I remember the joy of being able to make the Sign of the Cross with confidence. While saying the words, ‘In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen,’ and ‘moving my right hand from my forehead down to my chest and then from my left shoulder to the right shoulder’ to form the Cross of Christ on my body was an act of prayer and trust in the power of God. When I could make this sign of the Cross, I felt so great that I wanted to repeat it again and again. It was like I had achieved something amazing, and I was proud of myself.
Not only me, but all other five brothers of mine were also taught by my mother to make the Sign of the Cross. The class time for us all was at the meal, just before having lunch or dinner together. Usually, mum made sure that everyone sat down at the meal in a circle and then making the Sign of the Cross together and then prayed together before anyone was allowed to pick up our chopsticks for food.
Making the Sign of the Cross before and after our prayers and meal is so important. It is the words and the gestures themselves suggest that we belong to God the Holy Trinity, who invite us to enter into his Trinitarian Communion of constant and endless love.
Making the Sign of the Cross is one of the greatest prayers, because it unites us to Jesus Christ – in whose name and through the power of the Holy Spirit we utter ‘Abba, Father.’ As we celebrate this Holy Trinity Sunday, let us make the Sign of the Cross with reverence and with thanksgiving for God’s salvation in the Cross of Christ.
Fr. Tien Cao