Kissing the Cross

By Ana Borden

I learned making the sign of the cross from my parents. My father and his family, in particular, grew up making the sign of the cross by creating a cross with their thumb and index, perpendicular to one another, followed by kissing the cross, the tip of their thumb. The later sign is a quite common extension of signing in most of Latin America.

It was not until I was questioned at school in second grade by classmates about the extra gesture our family made that prompted me to ask my own father why our family did so and to understand its significance.

I recall, as a child, my father slowly showing me each motion followed by explaining the significance of the kiss, a sign of devotion and reverence to the cross of Christ. It reminded me of the similar act I had seen – up to that point – of the faithful kissing the cross on the rosary as well as venerating the cross on Good Friday.

For me, this extra moment is also a prayerful pause, an extension of my belief and mindfulness of my own faults as well as a blessing, a sign of reverence symbolically kissing the cross of Jesus.

From that moment on, I felt a responsibility to continue this gesture as a continued profession of faith as well as to pass down the cultural traditions of my family.

How else do you see one honoring the crucifixion of Jesus Christ with a touch or kiss?

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