This is an ancient blessing in the Catholic tradition that transcends cultures and continents. Legend holds that the letters correspond to the initials for the names of the Three Magi: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. More importantly, these letters abbreviate the Latin phrase “Christus Mansionem Benedicat” – “May Christ bless this house”.
The year “2017” is divided by this phrase as a reminder to keep Jesus at the center of our lives and our relationships, wherever we go. The four crosses signify the four corners of the world to which we the Baptized are commissioned to proclaim the Gospel. The crosses also remind us that in the Year of Faith that we are called to:
- grow in faith
- witness to our faith
- share our faith
- be transformed in faith
Traditionally this blessing is done on Epiphany but it can be done at any time. The chalking ritual below is as a way to encourage every household of faith to begin the New Year in faith. This is a simple and versatile way to include family members of varied Christian denominations. The short prayer that follows can be shared at the main entrance of the home.
Chalking Entranceway Prayer
Begin by singing a refrain of familiar a Christmas song (e.g. “What Child is This?”)
Leader: The Lord be with you;
ALL: And with your spirit.
Leader: May Christ dwell in this house and bestow peace to all its inhabitants!
ALL: And all who enter it!
Leader: Let us pray. O God, you once used a star to lead wise ones and all people of good will to your Son. May the light of Christ guide us to recognize him in the epiphanies of our lives, each and every day. As we cross this threshold each day for work, study or play remind us of our true purpose – to love your people, do your will and lead others to you just as did the wise men of old. May all who enter here find your gracious hospitality in our company and may all who dwell here seek you in the face of every guest.
ALL: Christ bless this house.
Invite each person present to chalk the door way with the phrase: 20 + C + M + B + 17. Provide a step ladder and assistance so that younger family members can participate. If possible, conclude by singing another song (“O Come All Ye Faithful” or “We Three Kings”)
Leader: May Christ dwell with us, keep us from harm and make us one in mind and heart, now and forever We pray for this and all good things in the name of your son, Jesus Christ.
ALL: Come, Lord Jesus, into our homes and our hearts and remain with us now and always.