In the “Office of Readings” this morning, I found a note in my study Bible (Didache Catholic Study Bible) about the angel marking the foreheads of the people of God:
“This represents those who have been baptized and sealed by the Holy Spirit. The Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders bestow an indelible seal, or character, on the recipient. In Hebrew, the seal is represented by the letter tav (tau in Greek), which was shaped like a T and, therefore, was a type, or figure, of the future Cross of Christ. Since the first years of Christianity, Christians have traced the Sign of the Cross on themselves as a blessing. (CCC 1235)‘
At Mass, just before the Gospel reading, we trace the cross on our forehead, lips, and heart, saying “May the Lord be on my mind, my lips, and my heart”. It’s amazing that this is an ancient sign, going back thousands of years. This is the Tau sign, the sign of the Cross of Christ.
Last week, I spent some time in church, photographing the stained glass windows and statues. What amazingly beautiful signs these are. Most of the time, we ignore them, but there is such beauty right there before our eyes! Now that we’re banned from there, I think I’ll appreciate them even more when we can once again worship freely there.