Chalking the Door 2017: An Epiphany House Blessing

January 5, 2017 |

2017houseblessing
Every year the Carmelite Pre-novitiate Community at Carith House in Chicago on the Feast of the Epiphany blesses their home. We invite you to adopt this custom in your family.

On the Feast of the Epiphany, the family gathers to ask God’s blessing on their home and on those who live in or visit the home. It is an invitation for Jesus to be a daily guest in our home, our comings and goings, our conversations, our work and play, our joys and sorrows.

A traditional way of doing this is to use chalk to write above the home’s entrance. It can also be written somewhere inside the home.

+20 C M B 17+

The letters C, M, B have two meanings:
• They are the initials of the traditional names of the three magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.
• They also abbreviate the Latin words Christus mansionem benedicat, “May Christ bless the house.”

The “+” signs represent the cross and 2017 is the year.

Here’s a suggested format for the blessing:

All make the Sign of the Cross.

Leader: “Peace be to this house and to all who dwell here, in the name of the Lord.

All: Thanks be to God.

Reader: When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.

The word of the Lord.

ALL: Thanks be to God

Using chalk, write on the outside of your house or inside above the front main entrance,
above or next to an entrance:

+20 Christus Mansionem Benedicat 17+ or +20 C M B 17+

These words mean. “May Christ bless this house” or you may use the names of the Magi

+20 Caspar Melchior Balthazar 17+ or +20 C M B 17+

All: Lord God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only begotten Son to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this house and all who live here and all who visit. May we be blessed with health, kindness of heart, gentleness and the keeping of your law. Fill us with the light of Christ, that our love for each other may go out to all. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daryl Moresco, OCarm.
Br. Daryl Moresco OCarm. is the Co-Director of Carmelite Novices in Middletown, NY.
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