Having come of age after the promulgation of the computer and during the expansion of the internet, I am prone to do my research online. So, when I decided to write an article on the Cross Prayers, I went online to see what I could discover about the history of this beloved custom of ours. Unfortunately, this “information highway” was sadly silent about this topic.
Our Provincial Directives (supplemental guidelines for Dillingen Franciscans in the United States) provide a little information: They encourage that “after Confession and before retiring in the evening, the Sisters say the Cross Prayer, which consists of one Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father.”
The reason, it would seem to me, that these are called “cross prayers” is that, while praying them, we extend our arms as Christ did on the cross. Praying in this posture can serve as a reminder to us of all our Lord did for us. To me, it serves as a call to respond in love to the love He has shown me. When praying them shortly before bed, I can be reminded to say “Thank you” to Jesus for all He did for me on the Cross and for all His blessings throughout the day. When praying Cross Prayers after confession, I can express my gratitude for the immense graces of that sacrament won by His cross.
On Friday, a day when we especially reflect on Christ’s suffering, I thought it appropriate to reflect on this beautiful custom.
Sr. Christina M. Neumann