“I shall never forget the devotion and heartfelt care with which my father and mother made the sign of the Cross on the forehead, mouth, and breast of us children when we went away from home, especially when the parting was a long one.  This blessing was like an escort that we knew would guide us on our way.  It made visible the prayer of our parents, which went with us, and it gave us the assurance that this prayer was supported by the blessing of the Savior.  The blessing was also a challenge to us not to go outside the sphere of this blessing.  Blessing is a priestly gesture, and so in this sign of the Cross we felt the priesthood of parents, its special dignity and power.  I believe that this blessing, which is a perfect expression of the common priesthood of the baptized, should come back in a much stronger way into our daily life and permeate it with the power of the love that comes from the Lord.”

— Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, San Francisco, Ignatius Press, 2000, p. 184.

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