In various parts of the world, the Epiphany is marked with the time-honoured tradition of “chalking the doors.” The formula for the ritual is simple: take chalk of any colour (ideally blessed by a priest on the Feast of the Epiphany) and write above the entrance of your home: 20 + C + M + B + 22

The letters have two meanings. First, they represent the initials of the Magi - Caspar, Malchior and Balthazar - who came to visit Jesus in the place where he was born. They also abbreviate the Latin phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat, which translates as “May Christ bless the house.”  The “+” signs represents the cross, and the “20” at the beginning and the “22” at the end mark the year. 


This inscription is a request for Christ to stay with those who dwell or work therein throughout the entire year.


HOUSE BLESSING

Chalking of the Door

 

We start in the Entrance Hall

Leader: Peace be to this place.

All: And to all who dwell and work herein.

Leader: From the east came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their
treasures they offered precious gifts: gold for the great King, incense for the true God,
and myrrh in symbol of His burial.

Reader (Matthew 2:1-12):
After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of King Herod, some
wise men came to Jerusalem from the east. ‘Where is the infant king of the Jews?’ they
asked. ‘We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.’ When King Herod
heard this he was perturbed, and so was the whole of Jerusalem. He called together all
the chief priests and the scribes of the people, and enquired of them where the Christ
was to be born. ‘At Bethlehem in Judaea,’ they told him ‘for this is what the prophet
wrote:

And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, you are by no means least among the leaders
of Judah, for out of you will come a leader who will shepherd my people Israel.’

Then Herod summoned the wise men to see him privately. He asked them the exact
date on which the star had appeared, and sent them on to Bethlehem. ‘Go and find out
all about the child,’ he said ‘and when you have found him, let me know, so that I too
may go and do him homage.’ Having listened to what the king had to say, they set out.
And there in front of them was the star they had seen rising; it went forward, and halted
over the place where the child was. The sight of the star filled them with delight, and
going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees
they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and
frankincense and myrrh. But they were warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, and
returned to their own country by a different way.


Leader: From the east came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their
treasures they offered precious gifts: gold for the great King, incense for the true God,
and myrrh in symbol of His burial.

All say:

My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.
He looks on his servant in her lowliness;
henceforth all ages will call me blessed.
The Almighty works marvels for me.
Holy his name!
His mercy is from age to age, on those who fear him.
He puts forth his arm in strength
and scatters the proud-hearted.
He casts the mighty from their thrones
and raises the lowly.
He fills the starving with good things,
sends the rich away empty.
He protects Israel, his servant,
remembering his mercy,
the mercy promised to our fathers,
to Abraham and his sons for ever.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia

Leader: From the east came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their
treasures they offered precious gifts: gold for the great King, incense for the true God,
and myrrh in symbol of His burial.

All: Our Father…

We head just outside for the prayers of blessing.

Leader: Let us pray.
May all who come to this home in 2022 rejoice to find Christ living among us; and may
we seek and serve, in everyone we meet, that same Jesus who is the incarnate Word.
Amen.

God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only-begotten Son to every nation by the
guidance of a star. Bless this home. Fill us with the light of Christ, that our concern for
others may reflect your love. We ask this through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Loving God, bless this family and those we hope to welcome over the course of this year.
May we be blessed with health, goodness of heart, gentleness, and abiding in your will.
We ask this through Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


After these prayers are recited, we will bless the front door and the Entrance Hall with
Holy Water. The initials of the Magi are inscribed upon the front door with chalk
(ideally blessed by a priest). May God be with us in our work, studies and family life
this year as we seek to do his will: in word, in deed, in love.

Archbishop John blesses s church door at Epiphany

With grateful thanks to the Agency for Evangelisation and Catechesis for the House Blessing above.  For further resources throughout the year visit https://aec.rcaos.org.uk/resources-blog

 

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