Last year the Feast of the Epiphany came and went for my wife and me during our first year of marriage, however, later that day we said to each other that when our child is born next year, we would like to start the tradition of blessing our home each year. Today, just around two hours ago, after getting home from 7:30 AM Mass and eating breakfast, together, with our son in my wife’s arms, we blessed our home with the Epiphany Home Blessing. We said the prayers together, I marked the door frames and the outside door with the inscription (see below) and then went from room to room blessing each space with our small bottle of Epiphany Water.
If you have never done this short ceremony with your family, I would highly encourage you to do so today or tomorrow, most especially if you have children in your home. Last night on my personal Facebook page, I posted the picture below of our Epiphany Water and chalk, and it was well-received from many of my friends. Some of them were already going to do house blessing today and some of them said that they did not know about it, but would attain some chalk and holy water (if you can’t get Epiphany Water) and plan on doing it at some point today.
The tradition of blessing the home on Epiphany is an ancient custom in the Church. The custom focuses on the day when the Magi, or the Three Wise Men, entered the home of the Holy Family where they brought their gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh, to a young Jesus Christ about the age of two.
In order to do the Epiphany House Blessing, you will need three things:
- Epiphany Water (regular holy water should do if you can’t find a priest to do the blessing today. However, as my Pastor and a few friends said, Epiphany Water is like holy water on steroids).
- Chalk (Blessed chalk by a priest is great, however, it’s optional).
- The ceremony itself (I found online these online, but feel free to do a search online. Some of the ceremonies are very simple and some are incredibly detailed. Find the one that best fits your family) –
a. Family in Feast and Feria (this is the one my family did today).
When the ceremony is complete, on the door frames the current year should flank the letters “C”, “M”, and “B” with crosses in between. The final inscription will read like this: 20+C+M+B+20.
The letters not only represent the names of the Magi – Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar but the Latin phrase, Christus Mansionem Benedicat, which means Christ bless this house.
Per the tradition from my wife’s family, we not only chalked the doors entering our home (front door and garage), but we also chalked the inscription over the bedroom doors as well. It will remind us all year that our home is always open to receiving Jesus Christ as well as our family and friends.
To learn more about the Epiphany and the arrival of the Wise Men, I would encourage you to read this article I wrote two years ago – The Magi have Arrived.