Start the year with a blessing

Adoration of the Magi, Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at Conception Abbey in Conception, Mo. Painted by Benedictine Monks in the late 1800s.

On Jan. 6 we celebrate the Epiphany — the time when the Magi arrived in Bethlehem and it was revealed to them that Jesus was the Son of God. Those three learned men from the East were the first gentiles to encounter Christ. 

The Epiphany is traditionally known as the 12th day of Christmas. In the United States it is celebrated in the Church on the Sunday between Jan. 2 and 8. Blessing one’s house on this day is a wonderful way to start off the year and is symbolic of welcoming God into each home.

Some people chalk their doors with the blessing as a symbol of inviting the presence of God into their household. Using chalk blessed by a priest or deacon, write the initials of the three Wise Men, connected with crosses, over the front door on the inside of the house. Then write the calendar year, breaking up the numbers so that they fall on either side of the initials (20 C+M+B 20). The first 20 is the millennium and century, the C stands for Caspar, the M for Melchior, the B for Balthasar, and the second 20 is the decade and year. 

It is also believed that the Kings’ initials stand for “Christus mansionem benedicat” which means “Christ bless this house.”

Families who wish to bless their homes may do so with holy water. There are many versions of home blessing prayers that can be found on the internet.

Here is a version from “Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers”, published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

“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 inhabit it. Fill them (us) with the light of Christ, that their (our) concern for others may reflect your love. 

We ask this through Christ our Lord. 


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