The Sign of the Cross is for many of us the first sign of our faith we were taught as children. Most of us who have been practicing Catholics have performed this gesture countless times. So many reptions that it may well have lost meaning for some. Below Ben Ghezzi of Zenit Daily answers this question:
Question: Beyond the words themselves, what does the sign mean? Why is it a mark of discipleship?
Answer: The sign means a lot of things. In the book, I describe six meanings, with and without words. The sign of the cross is: a confession of faith; a renewal of baptism; a mark of discipleship; an acceptance of suffering; a defense against the devil; and a victory over self-indulgence.
When you make the sign, you are professing a mini version of the creed — you are professing your belief in the Father, and in the Son and in the Holy Spirit. When you say the words and pray in someone’s name you are declaring their presence and coming into their presence — that’s how a name is used in Scripture….
….When suffering comes, the sign of the cross is a sign of acceptance. It’s remembering that Jesus became a man and suffered for us and that we participate in Christ’s suffering. The sign of the cross says, “I am willing to embrace suffering to share in Christ’s suffering.”
When you’re suffering, when you’re feeling like God is not there, the sign of the cross brings him there and declares his presence whether you feel it. It is a way of acknowledging him at that time of trial.