THE SIGN OF THE CROSS: Recovering the Power of the Ancient Prayer

Bert Ghezzi, Author . Loyola $16.95 (120p) ISBN 978-0-8294-1619-0

Making the sign of the cross is something many Catholics do reflexively, without giving much thought to its roots in ancient Christian practice. If practiced prayerfully, argues Catholic apologist Ghezzi in his 17th book, this common devotional gesture can be a "sacramental," or something that readies the faithful to receive and cooperate with God's blessing. "Making the sign is an act of faith that engages God's love for you and the spiritual power that he wants to release in you," Ghezzi writes. At the heart of the volume are chapters on how, for believers, making the sign of the cross reinforces primary Christian doctrines and recapitulates the death and new life experienced in the ritual of baptism. Linking Catholic theology to everyday devotion, Ghezzi also discusses the sign of the cross as a living symbol of discipleship, the embrace of suffering, Christ's victory over the devil and an affirmation of commitment to abandon self-indulgence and sin. As in his previous books, Ghezzi weaves the words of scripture, Christian mystics and theologians with gleanings from his own life history, forging a helpful handbook for readers eager to explore their own spiritual practice more deeply. Readers already interested in the subject, particularly those from liturgical traditions, will find Ghezzi's combination of biblical scholarship, church tradition and common sense both informative and appealing. (Feb. 2)

Reviewed on: 12/15/2003
Release date: 02/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 128 pages - 978-0-8294-2166-8
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