Al Kimel over at Pontifications has just run a delightful piece on liturgical crossing and bowing in which he commends Anglo-Catholics for keeping alive within western Catholicism the fullest tradition of crossing oneself.
Addressing himself to his Roman Catholic brethren, he asks "why restrict yourself to the opening invocation, gospel, and closing blessing? Live on the edge! Push the ritual envelope! Make a gratuitous sign of the cross!"
He goes on to say that, "in addition to the three occasions mentioned above, Anglo-Catholics also make the sign of the cross at the conclusion of the Gloria in exclesis ('in the glory of God the Father'), at the conclusion of the Nicene Creed ('the life of the world to come'), at the Benedictus qui venit ('Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord'), at the consecratory elevations, and at the presentation of the Holy Gifts to the congregation."
For the first time since Al left the Episcopal Church and crossed the Tiber, I can say that I fully agree with him. These are nine (I think I counted them right) occasions in which it is common to see Anglo-Catholics cross themselves during the Mass. And over the years, I have gradually come to adopt all of them (the one at the end of the Gloria being the latest addition to my repertoire).
But I have always been curious, and always forgotten to ask someone, why we cross ourselves at the Benedictus. Does anybody know why? And while you're at it, feel free to share any amusing anecdotes about your own experiences.