20 + C + M + B + 17 Bless your home! Our homes are places of rest, places of hospitality, places of refreshment and love. At the beginning of each year St Chrysostom’s encourages everyone to pray for God’s blessing on their homes. Why not share this with friends and family.
The glorious Feast of the Epiphany celebrates the coming of the wise men to the home of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The blessing of homes around the time of this feast, at the beginning of the new year, expresses the blessing of Christ born for us, and loving us wherever we are, and especially blessing our homes.
Each year the traditional custom is done a little differently at St Chrysostom’s – here we suggest a simple form, and the traditional full form for those who wish for a grand style!
At the end of the Epiphany Mass, this year, small candles to take home are blessed. Everyone is given a prayer card with a prayer of blessing on it. We are encouraged to light the candle at home, pause for a time of peace and quiet and say the prayer on the card. It is then good to display the card in the home as a reminder of God’s blessing and as an act of Christian witness.
Chalk too is blessed at Mass for those who like to follow the tradition of marking the door with chalk.
The chalk is used in this way: Using chalk either above the door, outside, or at the side of the door, outside or inside, the markings
20 + C + M + B + 17 are made, or (20+K+M+B+17).
20 and 17 being the year, the + being the Christian sign, C (K), M, B being the initials of the traditional names of the wise men, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, they can also stand for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, the Latin words meaning, May Christ bless this home.
Or instead make a simple cross mark is made with chalk +
These prayers are used in our parish at a blessing of a home:
God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only Son to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this home and all who live in it. Fill us with the light of Christ, that our concern for others may reflect your love. We ask this through Christ who dwells among us. Amen.
Loving God, visit this home and bless it. May there be no evil here. Let your holy angels dwell here and keep all who live here in peace. May you bless us, and all whom we love, today and for evermore. Amen.
We have been delighted to receive news that many people in different places of the world have found our encouragement of this simple custom helpful. The blessed chalk has even travelled: See, for example, here and here.
Those who would prefer an older rite, from the Rituale Romanum, will find the words here:
http://www.sanctamissa.org/en/resources/books-1962/rituale-romanum/48-blessings-for-special-days-and-feasts.html (at no. 8)