Monday, 4 July 2016

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 99.

SIX VOLUMES IN ONE
BY THE DISTINGUISHED EXPONENTS OF CATHOLICISM
REV. HENRY DODRIDGE, D. D.
REV. HENRY EDWARD MANNING, D. D.
REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada
REV. STEPHEN KEENAN
REV. BERNARD VAUGHAN, S. J.
REV. THOMAS N. BURKE, O. P.


Q. What is the meaning of the frequent use of the sign of the cross in the mass, and the administration of the sacraments ?

A. First, to signify that all good must come through Christ crucified. Secondly, it is to show that we are no more ashamed of the cross of Christ, than the Apostle St. Paul was, who gloried in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; Gal. vi.- 14. Thirdly, it is to make an open profession of our believing in the crucified God, although it was a scandal to the Jews, and folly to the Gentiles, so to do, 1 Cor. i. 23, and to help us to bear always in mind his death and passion. Fourthly, it is to chase away the devil, and dissipate his illusions, St. Matt, xxiv. 30, for the cross is the standard of Christ, (St. Cyril. Catec. St. Aug. Serm. 19.) and the evil spirit trembles at the very sight of the instrument of our redemption. See St. Matt. etc.

Q. At what times is it fit to make the sign of the cross?

A. At our rising, and going to bed; when we begin prayer, and every other work; and particularly in time of temptation, or any danger whatsoever. (St. Jer. de Cust. Virg. ad Eust. St. Amb. Sam 43.)

Q. Was the sign of the cross made use of in the primitive Church?

A. Yes ; as it plainly appears from St. Augustine: if the sign of the cross, says this great Father of the Church, (St. Aug. Tract 119. in Jon.) be not applied to the foreheads of the faithful; to the water with which they are baptized ; to the chrism with which they are anointed; to the sacrifice with which they are fed, none of all these things are duly performed. The reason is, because all the sacraments have their whole force and efficacy from the cross; that is, from the death and passion of Jesus Christ, on the cross.

Q. Did the primitive Christians only make use of the sign of the cross in the administration of the sacrament?

A. Not only then, but upon all other occasions ; at every step, says the ancient and learned Tertullian, at every coming in and going out, when we put on our clothes, when we wash, when we sit down to table, when we light candles, or whatsoever conversation employs us, we imprint on our foreheads the sign of the cross. (Tertul. L. de Coron. Milit. Cap. 3.)

Q. Can you prove, that by means of the sign of the cross, we receive any favor from God?

A. There are innumerable instances of it, in ancient Church history, and in the writings of the holy fathers, which would be too tedious to relate. I shall only recount that the cross was given by our Lord Jesus Christ to Constantine, the first Christian emperor, as a token and assurance of victory, when he and his whole army, in their march against the tyrant Maxentius, saw a cross formed of pure light above the sun, with this inscription: By this thou shalt conquer: and by it he forthwith conquered his enemies. Which account the ancient Eusebius, in his book of the life of Constantine, declares he had from that emperor's own mouth.