When two people love each other, what is the most common way that they express their love for each other? It is through a simple kiss. That kiss is such a simple gesture, yet it conveys so much! A couple gives each other a kiss first thing in the morning, and it is the last thing they do before going to sleep. They kiss each other just before parting ways, no matter how brief or long that absence shall be. And once again when they come back together, they give each other a kiss. They kiss when passing each other in the hallway, the bathroom or the kitchen. It does not matter where they are or who may be watching, they spontaneously give a quick smack on the lips. Even after being together in love after many years, they still give each other loving kisses many times during each day.
Why is it that we never tire of giving or receiving kisses from our loved ones? What is it about this simple and quick gesture that keeps us coming back for more? How can we never grow tired of this, even though we do it many times each day? Here are just a few reasons: A gentle, loving kiss communicates acceptance; it reassures us that we are loved and treasured. It conveys unconditional abandonmemt to one another. It tells one another that we love each other, no matter what. A kiss is a public display and affirmation to the whole world of our love for one another. A loving kiss conveys deep honor and dignity to the other.
Doesn’t this make you wish that you could express this kind of love to our Lord? Well, guess what? He has already given us a way to show our love to Him that is just as meaningful as a kiss. “What?” you may ask yourself. How can we kiss our God who is untouchable? It is a simple gesture called the sign of the cross, and it is just as jam-packed with meaning as the humble human kiss.
Every time we make the sign of the cross, we reassure our Lord of our deep and unending love for Him. It says that we are not ashamed of Him. It tells Him that we will always worship and adore Him. It conveys a deep and reverent honor to Him. It shows Him that we trust Him with our entire being. It is our way of affirming His Lordship over our lives. This simple yet profound gesture is our way of drawing close to Him in a deeply intimate and self-giving way. It is our way of inviting Him to join us in whatever we are doing right at this very moment.
Yet, the sign of the cross is definitely not a one-way thing by any means. When we lovingly make this gesture, our God cannot help but respond in kind manner. Think about it: when your spouse, or child, or dear friend gives you a gentle, loving kiss, does it not make you want to love him or her that much more? We cannot help but respond this way, for it is built into the very fabric of our being. Likewise, because our Lord is the God of love, it is impossible for Him to not respond to our expressions of love, no matter how small they may seem. Like us, His heart grows bigger and fonder with each gesture of love we make toward Him. Every time we make the sign of the cross on ourselves, He rushes to our side, gives us a hug, and says “I love you, too!” deep in the inner recesses of our soul. Even more than that, when we make this gesture with love, we open ourselves to receive blessings and graces from the infinite treasures of heaven. We draw down His presence, His provision, His protection, His healing, His wisdom, His sanctification and His love for us. He brings us even closer to Himself, wraps His arms around us, comforts us and offers us eternal reassurances.
Now, I don’t know about you, but knowing all this makes me want to make this sign every moment of my life! Knowing that this simple gesture is not just an empty, mindless ritual, but one that is infinitely deep in meaning and effect when done with love, I will do it even more every day! I will remember that each sign of the cross that I make is in reality my kiss of love for my Lord!
One more thing – contrary to what some may believe (or want to believe), the sign of the cross is not just a “Catholic” thing; rather it is a gift and a blessing from our Lord for all believing and confessing Christians. Believers of all faiths are using this gift, so please do not let the enemy of our souls deprive you of this priceless gem with his useless chatter.
✝ Oh, my loving and kind Lord Jesus, thank you for helping me to rediscover the depth and beauty of this simple gift from you. Thank you for helping to know that it is my way of giving You a kiss, and that You cannot hold back from responding every time I give You one. Please help me to never forget this for the rest of my life. And help me, with the power of Your Holy Spirit, to ignite a new love for the sign of the cross among all of your beloved children, no matter what faith the proclaim. I ask this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen, amen and AMEN! ✝
Matthew 10:32-33 (NAB)
Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.