When we make the sign of the cross, we remember many of the theological and spiritual meanings, which are connected to it.
- We remember the love of God for us, who accepted death instead of us, in
view of our salvation and takes away the sin of the world.
- In the Cross, we remember our sins. Our sins which He has borne on the Cross, and for which He Incarnated and was crucified. With this remembrance, we become humiliated, our souls become contrite, and we thank for the price which He paid for us “For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:20).
- And in the Cross, we remember the divine justice: How forgiveness was not on account of justice. But the divine justice took his right on the Cross. We do not then consider sin as a slight matter, the sin whose price is such as that.
- In our signing of the Cross, we declare our discipleship to this crucified One. Those who take the cross simply by its spiritual meaning, inside the heart, without any apparent sign, do not openly manifest this discipleship which we declare by signing the cross, by carrying the cross on our breasts, by kissing the cross in front of everybody, by drawing it on our hands, and by raising it above the places in which we worship. With all this, we openly declare our faith, and we are not ashamed of the Cross of Christ in front of people, but rather we boast of it, we hold fast to it, we celebrate feasts for it. Even without speaking, our plain aspect manifests our faith.
- We remember forgiveness in the Cross, how our sins were forgiven on the Cross, and how our Lord addressed the heavenly Father saying (while He was on the Cross): “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luc 23:34).
- We do not make the sign of the cross on ourselves in a silent manner, but we say with that: In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thus each time we declare our faith in the Holy Trinity who is One God for ever to eternity, amen. Thus the Holy Trinity is continually in our thoughts, and that is not available to those who do not make the sign of the cross as we do.
- In making the sign of the cross, we also declare our belief in Incarnation and Redemption. When we make the sign of the cross from upward to downward, and from the left side to the right side, we remember that God has come down from heaven downward to our earth, and transported people from the left side to the right side, from obscurity to light, and from death to life; and how many are the meditations which come to our hearts and minds from the signing of the cross!
- In the signing of the cross, there is a religious instruction for our sons and for others: Whoever makes the sign of the cross, when he prays, when he enters the church, when he eats, when he sleeps, and at every moment, he remembers the Cross. This remembrance is spiritually useful and scripturally desirable. In it there is also an instruction for people, that Christ was crucified, and an instruction especially for our small children who grow from their childhood being used to the cross.
- We make the sign of the cross because it gives us power. The apostle Saint Paul felt that power of the Cross, and said: “by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14). And he also said: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18). Note that he did not say that the crucifixion is the power of God, but he said that the simple word of the cross is the power of God. Therefore, when we make the sign of the cross, and when we mention the cross, we are filled with power; because we remember that the Lord trampled death by the cross, and He granted life to everybody, and forced and defeated Satan.
- Therefore, we use the cross in all the holy sacraments of Christianity, because they all have their source in the merits of the blood of Christ on the cross. Without the cross, we could not deserve to come near to God as sons in Baptism; and we could not deserve the communion of his body and blood in the mystery of Eucharist (1 Cor. 11:26), and we could not enjoy the blessings of any mystery from the mysteries of the Church.