In the reign of the Emperor Phocas, a Persian embassy arrived at the Imperial Court in Con-stantinople. These ambassadors and their suite were all Mohammedans.
The Emperor and the members of the palace remarked that these Mohammedan princes and their followers had the Sign of the Cross marked on their foreheads. Surprised at this love and respect for the Sign of the Cross on the part of fanatical Moslems, they inquired the reason. The Moslems explained that some years previously a terrible epidemic had raged in Persia. The Moslems noted that the Christians signed themselves with the Sign of the Cross and were thus delivered from the plague. Convinced of the power of the Cross, they themselves did likewise and were also delivered from the awful scourge. Since then profound respect was shown for this holy Sign, which was considered as a protection and safeguard from sickness and pestilence.
Many devout Catholics, when troubled with any pain or sickness, make the Sign of the Cross with their thumb on the part afflicted saying, “By the holy Sign of the Cross deliver us, O Lord, from all evils and sickness.” This holy practice is of the greatest efficacy and should be used by all the faithful.