Saturday, 14 March 2020

The Sign of the Cross

When I was in hospital recently to have my sense of humour checked I saw something I'd not seen since I was a child.

They have a chapel in hospital. The door to the chapel is an ordinary door, like all the others in a long hospital corridor. It says on it "Chapel" as opposed to "X Ray" or "Pharmacy" or whatever else is posted on the other doors.

I noticed that several people whilst passing by this door did the sign of the Cross. A few opened the door and looked in for 5 or 10 seconds, did the sign of the Cross, and then continued on their way.

Now this is something I've not seen for many years when, as a child, we were taught to do the sign of the Cross whenever we passed a Church. I certainly did not expect to see it in secular Britain. 

Years ago, when Catholic churches used to ring the Angelus bells three times a day, people used to make the Sign of the Cross. Also, if in the street a funeral hearse passes by they would make the Sign of the Cross; and men would take their hats off. But I've never seen this happen in the UK.

I wonder whether this sign of respect is prevalent elsewhere. For example, do people make the Sign of the Cross before meals when they are at a restaurant or in public? Or say grace even?

I remember when young, on Ash Wednesday, some people used to go to work with ash on their forehead having been to Mass first. Not seen this in public for some time nowadays.

Times are changing. People don't want to publicise the fact that they are Christians any more.

32 comments:

  1. Many people here pray in restaurants, but not everyone. I live in the Southeastern USA. I don't see a lot of people doing the Sign of the Cross, but this area seems more Protestant than Catholic.

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    1. It is nice, Sandi, to see some people pray in restaurants, or even before meals when inviting friends at home. Sadly not many do so.

      Thank you again for your visit and for your caring. God bless.

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  2. I cannot say that I have seen the sign of the cross displayed in public anywhere lately...only in church.
    It is a sign of change in these modern times I suppose.
    I do believe that people are more secretive about their beliefs and unfortunately there are many more who have no faith what so ever.
    Just my opinion and observation.

    God Bless 💮

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    1. Your opinions and observation are right, Jan. People these days do not want to admit openly that they are Christians. Sad isn't it?

      God bless you.

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  3. I see people here make the sign of the cross when passing churches or when they hear the Angelus bells. It's probaby more common here because of Catholicism.

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    1. I remember when I visited Ireland some years ago they still have statues of Saints on the side of the road. You'll not see that in the UK, Bill.

      God bless always.

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    2. I also a make sign of cross passing by cemetery,hearing a siren of any kind, or seeing a funeral procession

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    3. You are one of the few Joyful Homemaker.

      God bless you.

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  4. When I was a child my friend was Catholic and if I was there for dinner, they all prayed and did the sign of the Cross. I came home one evening and asked my mother why we don't make the sign. (We went to the Lutheran church.) She couldn't answer that question so I started doing it when we said grace. She told me if I wanted to do I must to the forehead, the right side, then the left, then the chest (of whatever the opposite was of the Catholics (I can't remember now). I was allowed to do but not as the Catholics did. That never made sense to me. The Cross is the Cross. Anyway...this brought back memories.

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    1. Your mother may well have had her reasons. Catholic start the sign with the forehead, then the chest, then left and right.

      God bless you Diane.

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  5. I'm not Catholic, but I truly believe in love and respect of the cross, the place where I was given life by my faith and not hell that I deserved. I am not ashamed of the gospel and try to walk and talk my faith. We do pray before meals in public places, and I have a variety of crosses in our home. Reminders of the price he paid for my salvation. But praise be to God he didn't stay on the cross, but was the victor over death and hell. I so enjoy your posts and insights into your life. Glad your humor surgery was successful!

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    1. Thank you Wanda for what you said. A lot of people these days do not feel comfortable sharing their Christianity with others. And I think this makes God sad.

      Thankfully my humour is OK. I'll post serious Christian posts for a while because I feel the world is in a bit of turmoil right now. Humour will be restored soon, I hope.

      God bless you.

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  6. I have proudly displayed Lenten ashes, Victor, and Danny and I always say grace if we are in a restaurant. Of course, this being the Bible Belt, the latter isn't all that rare. We Christians should never, ever be reluctant to show our faith to the world.
    Blessings!

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    1. I may have mentioned this before, Martha. A while ago I led a Christian discussion group in our church. The attendants were Catholics. I asked, "If you were stopped in the street by an opinion survey person and you were asked who was Jesus; what would you say?"

      Not one person would say He is/was the Son of God. They said we don't discuss our religion openly these days. This from people who attend church regularly. I was amazed and saddened. And sometimes it makes me angry.

      Thank you Martha for displaying your faith openly.

      God bless.

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  7. I had never heard of making the Sign of the Cross when you passed a church. However, as there are many Catholic churches in my area that might be dangerous when driving down the street.

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    1. I agree Kathy, dangerous when driving. But you could make the sign of the Cross by whispering, "in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen."

      God bless you always.

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  8. When I was growing up, we all made the sign of the cross after praying before meals etc. I remember I was a little confounded when seeing one of my teen girlfriends from the city, her mother made the sign of the cross when we drove pass the Catholic church that we were all born at, St. Josephs. We do now pray openly over our meals publicly in restaurants but aren't practicing Catholics so don't make the sign of the cross although I think it's beautiful to do that though, and I seem to get along very well with my Catholic brothers and sisters, many seem to have a good, healthy fear of God and love for God. My brother in law who just passed away would always make the sign of the cross, there had been a lot of disagreeing at one time in my husband's family between Catholics and the new found born again Protestants. It was my brother in law's way of being who he was and standing with his roots.

    All in all people still pray here over meals in restaurants, I'm from the South but it's still not the majority praying publicly, no not at all. The culture has declined so much since the late 60s.

    I hope you are doing well, a hospital visit? Prayers coming your way, God's bless you Victor.

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    1. It is good to display our Faith in public; and we should not, I feel, spend time debating our differences but rejoice in what unites us. One God, His Son and the Holy Spirit.

      I went to hospital to see my doctor. He was not well; and it says in the Bible we should visit the sick.

      Thank you for your prayers Amelia. God bless you and yours.

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    2. Yes, you are soooo correct on debating the differences! Oh how true it is! Don't you know the devil just loves it when people do that?

      I'm thankful you were there visiting a friend. Yes, that's what the Bible says and it's so refreshing that you do that.

      Blessings! : )

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    3. The devil seems to be doing a great job right now throughout the world, Amelia. We need to pray more.

      God bless you.

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  9. That one I put my plastic trash can in 😊

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  10. I've seen several 'Chapel' signs of late -- both at the Veterans Administration and UAB. But it's been a very long time since I glimpsed another soul walking around with ash on their foreheads. In the 50's and '60's that was commonplace.

    Here in the South (most) pedestrians and motorists alike will stop for a funeral procession; folks remove their hats and/or hold their hands over their hearts. Respect.

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    1. It is good to see that some traditions still continue where you are Mevely. Not so much in secular Britain.

      God bless you always.

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  11. We don't make the sign of the cross but we always say grace before we eat if we are at home or eating out. Don't see it a lot but do see others do it once in a while.

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    1. Thank you Happyone. Times are certainly changing, aren't they?

      God bless.

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  12. It is always comforting to see a cross.
    I have only seen the sign of the cross made in Church. However, in the present climate and uncertainty with the coronavirus, I wonder if that may change.

    All the best Jan

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    1. We need to pray more, Jan, in these difficult times.

      God bless.

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  13. It depends, i think, on where you live. We often see the ashes here on Ash Wednesday, and some still make the sign of the cross when passing a church.

    As for stopping for funerals, the police escort those and you are required to stop.

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    1. As you say, Mimi, it depends on where we live how such traditions are practiced or not.

      God bless you.

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