The sign of the cross, one of our most profound and simplest forms of prayer, is falling out of favor among many Catholics. It is ancient prayer, dating back to the earliest years of our faith. Tertullian (De cor. Mil. iiii) commented, “In our coming in and going out … we mark our foreheads with the sign of the cross.” And, St. Cyril of Jerusalem remarks in his Catecheses (xiii, 36) “let us then not be ashamed to confess the Crucified. Be the cross our seal, made with boldness by our fingers on our brow and in every thing; over the bread we eat and the cups we drink, in our comings and in goings; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we awake; when we are travelling, and when we are at rest.”
For most of us, it is the first prayer we learned. Through this simple prayer we learned of Christ crucified and the holy trinity. In repeating the words: “In the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” we commemorate our baptism. In the physical action of crossing ourselves we designate (mark) that we belonging to the God.
We should not shy away from making the sign of the cross. Christ boldly mounted the cross and suffered profound agony for us. We can witness to this fact through a simple, but powerful gesture. If we are embarrassed or ashamed to make the sign of cross in public when we pray, image how embarrassed or ashamed we will feel when we stand before Christ at the moment of our death.