The Epiphany on January 6th is the twelfth day of Christmas and we celebrate the three wise men coming and adoring the Infant King.
On the 5th of January the kids expect the Magi to make a visit during the night. In the morning there is a sweet surprise from the three wise men. It is also a custom to have the house blessed by the parish priest if he is available. Our priest comes with blessed chalk and incense.
Priests bless water and chalk on the evening before Epiphany which is used to bless homes in the days following Epiphany. The chalk is used to mark 20 + C + M + B + 16 over the exterior doorways in the home so that all who come and go will receive God’s blessing. The father of the family writes the inscription which serves as a witness to the Faith and a protection against evil.
The inscription is rich in symbolism:
- The letters C, M, and B have to meanings. First they are the initials of Three Magi: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar.
- Secondly they are an abbreviation for the Latin phrase: Christus mansionem benedicat. “May Christ bless the house.
- The crosses represent the protection of the Precious Blood of Christ and the holiness of the Three Magi.
- The number of years that have passed since the Magi had made their journey is written on the outsides of the inscription.
It is always exciting to have the priest come to the house. It is good to remind the children that while the priest is blessing the home, they should pray quietly, and that they can talk to the priest before and after the blessing.
If no priest is available to bless your home:
Read the Prologue of St. John’s Gospel, followed by the Our Father, and the Collect of the Epiphany; then write the inscription for this year above your front door with blessed chalk.
The lintel of the main door of the house is marked by a the father.
While praying the following prayer:
The Three Wise Men, Caspar C (write the letter), Melchior M and Balthazar B followed the star of God’s Son Who became man, Two Thousand 20 and Sixteen years ago 16. May Christ bless our home ++ (inscribe the first two crosses), and remain with us through the new year ++ (then the last two crosses)."
Almighty God, incline your ear. Bless us and all who are gathered here. Send your holy angel who will defend us and fill with grace all who dwell here. Amen."
The father then sprinkles the interior of the home with the blessed Epiphany Water.