Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. It is a day for us to reflect on the mystery of the three Persons of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. We profess our belief in this Divine Mystery whenever we make the sign of the cross. Unfortunately, we often dismiss the action of blessing ourselves as just another “thing that Catholics do”. As Father Domenic Mary stated in his homily on EWTN this morning, making the sign of the cross is actually an indulgenced act. The Church teaches that when we devoutly make the sign of the cross while saying “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”, we can obtain a partial indulgence. This means that some of the temporal punishment due to our forgiven sins can be remitted. To put it simpler, we are able to shorten the time we spend in purgatory.
While the concept of indulgences is largely misunderstood by non-Catholics and Catholics alike, it is a tremendous gift given to us by Our Lord thru His Church. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints. An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin. The faithful can gain indulgences for themselves or apply them to the dead.” (CCC 1471)
As mentioned above, this indulgence can be applied to our own souls or given to a deceased individual. What better gift could we give to a deceased family member or friend? Keep this in mind the next time you bless yourself and also, don’t forget to give praise and glory to the Most Holy Trinity!