I was working in the bakery of a supermarket. One day, I was helping a customer with something. She wanted a pumpkin pie. It wasn't available on the floor. So, I went to the freezer and found a frozen pumpkin pie. But she said it was too small. She reported that the pumpkin pie was bigger, and it should be in a white box. I told her that the pie did come with a white box (white boxes were included in the box that stored all the pies in the freezer). I wasn't the person responsible for baking and handling pies, so I was kind of unfamiliar of the stuff; and the person who was responsible for it had gone home for the day. Besides, I couldn't find any larger pumpkin pie. That was the only pumpkin pie variety. Then, she turned her head to the side in frustration and made the sign of the cross. What is that supposed to mean?

What I really want to know is this, how Christians (especially Christians of any denomination who make the sign of the cross) are educated about the sign of the cross, what it can do, and when it is used.

  • 1
    Why didn't you ask her? Only she knows. Commented Aug 18, 2018 at 2:12
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    As @KorvinStarmast said, you would ask her. My guess, however, would be that she offered a silent prayer for strength to make it through the frustration or forgiveness that her frustration grew into anger.
    – bradimus
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 12:01

1 Answer 1


The sign of the cross is a sacramental (a sacred sign instituted by the Church, not one of the seven sacraments, but still a way to bring one's focus onto holy things, to become more prayerful in the moment). Specifically this sign is a reminder of our Baptismal promises (because we invoke the Trinity) and is a reminder of the cross. Stephen Ray writes:

The Catholic Church has always seen outward gestures as means of expressing and actuating internal spiritual realities. Sacramentals, such as the Sign of the Cross, are not superstitious practices but are sacred signs by which various things in life are rendered holy through the effectual and sacramental grace of God. By the Sign of the Cross we pledge allegiance to Christ and invite the Holy Spirit to apply the cross to our lives—to take up our cross and follow Christ.

We can only guess what the frustrated person you encountered was thinking, but one reasonable hypothesis is that she might have made the sign as a silent prayer for God's help to resist the temptation to get angry.

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