Dear Family of Assumption,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
As the Christmas Season draws to a close, Holy Mother Church celebrates the great Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord. “Epiphany” literally means a manifestation or a showing forth. As the original Christmas, this was the day more highly regarded and celebrated because, while the birth of Christ brings great joy, on Epiphany he was made known to the world, represented by the Magi. Traditionally this is the day on which gifts are given, in imitation of the gifts given to the Child Jesus by the Magi.
In addition to this, the Church continues one of her most ancient traditions, that of the blessing of homes. Epiphany gives the opportunity for a unique and special blessing particular to the day. Along with the prayer of blessing, the door lentil is “chalked”— marked in chalk with a sign of the Epiphany: the year along with the letters C, M, and B. The acronym CMB stands for both a Latin prayer, Christus Mansionem Benedicat (May Christ Bless this House) as well as the traditional names of the Magi—Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar.
This outward sign of our celebration of Epiphany is a visible sign to all who enter our homes that they are entering the home of faithful Christian, one who rejoices in the manifestation of Christ in the world as its King and Savior, and one who proclaims year-round the joy that is the message of Christmas. As we have all been marked with the sign of the Holy Spirit in Baptism and Confirmation, this marking of our homes lets it be known to the all the world. The chalk mark will fade with time, but we permit what the sign represents—our Faith—to sink more deeply into our hearts and mind, that it may be manifested more fully in our thoughts and actions.
Below is a brief Blessing for Epiphany, and I encourage all our families at some point this week to take a moment to gather as a household, to offer this prayer, and to “chalk the doors” in celebration of Our Lord’s Epiphany.
Epiphany Blessing Gathering near the main entrance to the home
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. May peace dwell in this house and in all who live here. O God, by the guidance of a star you revealed your Only Begotten Son to the nations. Grant that we who know you by Faith in this life may come to live in your presence in the next. Amen.
Bless this home, Almighty God, that it may be a dwelling of grace, love, peace, happiness, forgiveness health, humility, goodness, mildness, and obedience. Amen.