The feast of the Epiphany sees the tradition of blessing chalk for house blessings. The Epiphany is the occasion when we remember the arrival of the Wise Men to visit the infant Christ.
Chalk is blessed at the Sung Mass on Sunday 6th January and anyone present can take a piece of chalk home to bless their house for the coming year. Chalk will also be blessed in school on Wednesday for the children to take home.
You bless you house by inscribing a series of letters and figures over your front door lintel or next to your door if the lintel is too high. You begin by first chalking the year, as a way of giving thanks for the era of salvation, 2019 years since our Lord’s birth. You then add the letters “C + M + B.” These stand for the traditional names of the Wise Men, Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar. However, these initials also spell out an acronym for the phrase “Christus mansionem benedicat,” which means, “May Christ bless this house.” The finished line should look like this for 2019:
20 + C + M + B + 19
This lovely Epiphany tradition is a beautiful and praise worthy opportunity to ask God’s saints to surround us with their prayers over the next year, and to ask God to bless our life together. It s also a public witness to our Christian faith, letting our neighbours know about the love of Christ.