="ledaub1"]Could someone explain the correct way to do this? A link (especially to a site with pictures) would be ideal.
I read that the thumb and 1st 2 fingers should be touching each other while the ring and pinkie finger should point away from the body (tucked in towards the hand)and from the forehead to the solar plexus to the left and right shoulders. However, on Sunday I noticed that no one did it exactly that way. I saw whole hands used and whole hands in which only the middle finger touched the body.
I also noticed that some did it while genuflecting and some didn't. Which is correct?
Any help would be appreciated.
First the genuflection:
The GRIM [general Instruction of the Roman Missal] is equivalent in Authority as is the Code of Canon Law:
Genuflections and Bows
274. A genuflection, made by bending the right knee to the ground, signifies adoration, and therefore it is reserved for the Most Blessed Sacrament, as well as for the Holy Cross from the solemn adoration during the liturgical celebration on Good Friday until the beginning of the Easter Vigil.
During Mass, three genuflections are made by the Priest Celebrant: namely, after the elevation of the host, after the elevation of the chalice, and before Communion. Certain specific features to be observed in a concele-brated Mass are noted in their proper place (cf. nos. 210-251).
If, however, the tabernacle with the Most Blessed Sacrament is situated in the sanctuary, the Priest, the Deacon, and the other ministers genuflect when they approach the altar and when they depart from it, but not during the celebration of Mass itself.
Otherwise, all who pass before the Most Blessed Sacrament genuflect, unless they are moving in procession.
Ministers carrying the processional cross or candles bow their heads instead of genuflecting.
275. A bow signifies reverence and honor shown to the persons themselves or to the signs that represent them. There are two kinds of bow: a bow of the head and a bow of the body.
a) A bow of the head is made when the three Divine Persons are named together and at the names of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saint in whose honor Mass is being celebrated.
b) A bow of the body, that is to say, a profound bow, is made to the altar; during the prayers Munda cor meum (Cleanse my heart) and In spiritu humilitatis (With humble spirit); in the Creed at the words et incarnatus est (and by the Holy Spirit . . . and became man); in the Roman Canon at the Supplices te rogamus (In humble prayer we ask you, almighty God). The same kind of bow is made by the Deacon when he asks for a blessing before the proclamation of the Gospel. In addition, the Priest bows slightly as he pronounces the words of the Lord at the Consecration.
The SIGN of the Cross
Here the “form” is far less signifient than a right understanding of what we are doing [conscious awareness of the act], than exactly how it is accomplished.
Perhaps better than any other sign of Catholism is this signing oneself with the “Cross of Jesus Christ.” That friend is what “it is.”
We do this for a number of important reasons:
1. To identify ourselves as Catholics
2. To bring us instantly into the presence of our God
3. To remind ourselves how much God loves us and HOW He freely choose to prove it
4. To initiate an awareness within ourselves of where we are and who WE ARE: God’s Chosen ones.
5. As an affirmation of our belief in the Most Blessed Trinity
The form ought not undue attention to ourselves.
We ought to recite the WORDS of this act, each time we make “The Sigh of the Cross“.: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy [Ghost] or Spirit.. AMEN!” [means: “I believe.”]
Grace is merited by a mindful and carefully and prayerfully said use of this SIGN. Even more so when done with “Holy Water.”
Exactly how one chooses to do it is a “personal practice” and a refection of ones own piety practice. I don’t ever recall [then again at 68, I may have just forgotten it?] a specified hand; fingers Ect. Preference. I use two fingers to remind MYSELF, of the Two Natures of Christ: His perfect humanity combined with His ever-present Divinity.
Doing this consciously, fully aware of what and WHY we do it is FAR more important than the “form” of the hand used.