My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
THE CROSS: ITS POWER, MEANING AND MIRACLES (Part IV)
How We Make the Sign Of The Cross Correctly
How can the Sign of the Cross become a protection for us too? How can it become in our hands the terror of the demons? If we do it correctly. If we do it as Our Holy Church shows us and teaches us, that is, with faith, piety, reverently, consciously, sacredly, humbly and with conviction and with discretion.
Firstly we bring together the three fingers of the right hand, thus confessing our faith in God, Who is at the same time three hypostases, three persons - "The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit - of one essence, united between them "inseparably" and "indivisibly". The other two fingers that touch against the palm, symbolize the two natures of Christ, the two wills and the two energies of our Lord, Jesus Christ, namely the divine and the human. This way we make a confession of our Orthodox Christian faith, whose bases and foundations constitute the Trinitarian and Christological dogma.
Then we bring our hand to the forehead, the physical spot of our thought function, revealing in this way that we love God with all our mind and we dedicate all our thoughts to Him.
The hand then goes to the abdomen. This way we declare that we dedicate to the Lord our desires and all our emotions.
Finally, we bring our hand to our shoulders, first to the right one and then to the left one, this way we confessing that every bodily activity belongs to Him.
One other complementary interpretation, most theological in its simplicity is give to us in the fifth teaching of Saint Cosmas Etolos (Aitolian): "Listen my Christians how the Cross is made and what it means. The Holy Bible tells us that the Holy Trinity, God, is glorified in heaven more than the Angels. What should you also do? You bring your three fingers of your right hand and not being able to ascend to heaven to ascend to Heaven to worship, you place your hand to your head because your head is round and indicates the Heaven and you say with your mouth; Just as Your Angels glorify the Holy Trinity in Heaven likewise I as an unworthy servant, glorify and worship the Holy Trinity. And as these fingers are three-they are separate and they are together - this way is also the Holy Trinity, God, three Persons and a single God. You then lower your hand from your head and place it on your belly and say; I submit and worship You, my Lord, for You condescended and were incarnated in the belly of the Theotokos for our sins. You then place on your right shoulder and say; I supplicate You, my God, to forgive me and place me at Your right, along with the just (righteous). Then placing the hand on the left shoulder, you say; I implore You my Lord, do not place me at Your left, with the sinners. Then bending down to the ground you say; I glorify You my God, I submit and worship You, for as You were placed in the Tomb, so too will I be placed in the tomb. And when you stand erect, you indicate the Resurrection and say; I glorify You my Lord, I submit and worship You, for You arose from the dead, to grant us Eternal Life." That is what is the meaning of the Most Holy Cross.
As we note from the above, the Sign of the Cross includes in it all the salvific events that are found in the infinite love of God for fallen man. Exactly because of this it is a salvific sign, a life-giving sign, a sanctifying sign, a "victory-bringing weapon" (Saint Sophronios of Jerusalem), "protection against evil" (Saint Gregory of Nyssa), "the capital of everything good" (Saint John Chrysostom for the Christians. Let us therefore use it, as often as we can, sanctifying with it every bit of our daily and spiritual life.
"Cross: the guardian of the world,
Cross: the beauty of the Church,
Cross: the strength of kings,
Cross: the support of the faithful,
Cross: the angel's glory and the demons' injury".
Saint Theophan the Recluse writes: Living an Orthodox Christian Life
"Of course, you need labor and effort, both mental and from the heart. Do not spare yourself. If you do, you will ruin yourself. Do not spare yourself, and you will have salvation. Abandon a certain wrongful activity that often strikes and afflicts almost everyone. That is, the fact that we spare no labor on any matter except when it comes to that of salvation. We want to think that we have only to contemplate salvation and desire it, and everything is all set. That is not how it happens in reality. The matter of salvation is the most important thing. Consequently it is the most difficult. This is by virtue of its importance and by the labor required. Labor then, for the Lord's sake! Very soon you will see that the fruit. If you do not set to work, however, you will be left without anything and be unworthy. Deliver us, Lord, from this!"
A FATHERLY ADVICE TO ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN PARENTS:
Be vigilant and spiritually committed to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Use the Holy Scripture and the holy writings of the Fathers of the Church to teach your children Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith. Teach them Christian values, morality and virtues. Don't spend precious time to find various ways to entertain and amuse them. Sports, social activities, games, and giving them material things will not bring them closer to our Savior and the salvation which He offers to those who believe and are willing to follow Him. Having a secular or worldly life will not make the children better people or Christian believers and followers. It is the responsibility of All Christian parents to instill in the hearts of the children faith and love of God. To teach them how to live a life in Christ and a life of prayer and worship.
I have met with a number of college students who grew up in an Orthodox Christian parish and yet know very little about the Faith. It is a fact that when someone is not educated in the faith that he will never feel connected with it. There is a disconnect with the Church. Because of this disconnect with the Faith we are losing many of our young adults to other religions or no religion at all.
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!" -- Saint John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God