Saturday, January 2, 2010
In the early Church, Epiphany was second only to the Easter Vigil as the time to celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism. The blessed water was used to bless the dwelling of the faithful and the initials "C+B+M" meaning 'Christ blesses this house" ("Christus bendicat mansionem") were written over the door. Since the Three Kings were also remembered at the same time, the initial of their names C+B+M. Casper, Balthasar and Melchior were used. Caspar in Slovak is Gasper.
In the United States the Feast of Three Kings is celebrated on the first Sunday after New Years Day. The custom of blessing homes by the priest has somehow slipped away. Below is the prayer for blessing your home that was given by the pastor, Msg. Thomas Banick to the parishioners of St. Mary’s/St. Joseph’s Slovak Church in Wilkes-Barre.
Blessing of the Home and Household on The Epiphany.
(An Epiphany blessing of water and chalk takes place in church to be distributed and taken home. At home, all gather to celebrate the following Blessing of the Home and Household on the Epiphany.)
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Peace be with this house and with all who dwell here.
Blessed be the name of the Lord now and forever.
During these days of the Christmas Season, we keep this feast of Epiphany, celebrating the manifestation of Christ to the Magi, to John in the Jordan River, and to the disciples at the wedding at Cana. Today Christ is made manifest to us. Today this home is a holy place.
Let us listen to the words of the Holy Gospel According to John:
In the Beginning was the word,
and the word was with God,
and the word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through Him,
and without Him nothing came to be.
And the word became flesh
and made His dwelling among us,
and we saw His Glory,
the Glory of the Father’s only Son,
filled with enduring Love.
The Gospel of the Lord,
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us pray:
Blessed are You, Lord God of all creation: By the guidance of a star You led the Magi to Your Child, and by the light of faith You bring us to know Christ as Lord, the Messiah, You have sent.
Bless us as we use this chalk to mark our doors in Your honor. May all who come to our house this year rejoice to find Christ living among us; and may we seek and serve, in everyone we meet, Jesus who is Lord.
(The chalk is used to mark the current year and the initials of the Magi- Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar- above or on the doorway: 20+C+M+B+10)
May this home be a dwelling place of goodness, humility and self control, mutual respect and love for one another, hospitality toward all who visit here, and obedience to Your word. Amen.