Remember in the Gospel story that the official came to Jesus, trying to justify himself, “An official asked him this question, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. (Luke 18:19)
Have you ever had someone come up to you and say something like, “John, I know you are really good at electronics, let me ask you a question.” You suspect that you are being set up. Or if it comes in an email, print is hard to read emotions into. Was he being sincere or sarcastic in tone? Was he appreciative or condescending in tone? You just don’t get that from words on a page.
However, Jesus’ answer to the man is very clear: “No one is good but God alone.” No one has the purity of motive that God has when dealing with his people. That is why when we play games with him, he is offended. We pray, “God, get me out of this and I will _____________.” God relieves the circumstances, but do we fulfill our promise to God? Most of the time, no. We don’t even remember the promise.
So, how does one have a “good” day, help purify our motives in dealing with God and others? Would you believe it is as simple as making the sign of the Cross? Yes, if you are serious about what you say and do. We have all seen the baseball player come to the plate, make a quick sign of the Cross (well a swipe of his hand that looks something like a sign of the Cross), and start his batting appearance. Baseball players, as well as other sports figures, are notoriously superstitious. Can our prayers become superstitious? I believe so.
On the other hand, to bless ourselves with a thoughtful and conscientious Sign of the Cross is totally different. First, look at the components of the Sign of the Cross. One puts his hand on his head, then his heart, then from one shoulder to the other, repeating the words, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
There is a story of a couple who moved into a neighborhood and after a few days one of the neighbors came and rang their doorbell. When the wife answered, the neighbor smiled and said, “Welcome to our neighborhood. It is so good to see another Catholic family move into our neighborhood.”
The wife looked puzzled and said, “Well thank you, but you are mistaken. We are not Catholic. What made you think that?”
The neighbor replied, “Well, everyday I see your husband stop at the top step and make the sign of the Cross.”
The wife thought for a moment and said, “Oh, my dear. You misunderstand. My husband is very forgetful and what he is doing is a daily check list before leaving for work. “Glasses, zipper, checkbook, and Smartphone.”
Making the sign of the cross thoughtlessly might be just as spiritually empty!
Each morning, in a moment of solemnity, place your hand on your head, “In the name of the Father [who has created me and everything, living and non-living thing I will see, smell, taste, or touch this day]. Place you hand by your heart and say, “and of His Son, Jesus [who has died for my salvation, forgiven every sin I will commit today by omission or commission]. Place your hand on your left shoulder then your right and say, “and of the Holy Spirit [the spirit of Truth, guidance, and all that is Godly who will guide my thoughts, words, and actions today]. Amen.”
Now you face the day in the full protection of God’s Holy Spirit, the love of His Son, and the blessings of the God Jesus told the official was the only good.
If this becomes a thoughtless ritual or you start to say it mundanely, simply substitute your own words that will offer praise, thanksgiving, and worship to the God who loves you and desires your presence with him for all eternity.
You will have a good — Godly! — day.