Blessing of Homes at Epiphany (January 6th)
There is a custom of blessing homes on the Feast of the Epiphany (6 January) when the family gather to ask God’s blessing on their home and family life. It is an invitation for Jesus to be a daily guest in our homes.
Instructions for Blessing the Home:
Using chalk mark the lintel of your front door as follows:
20 + C + M + B + XX
(where XX is the last two numbers of the new year, e.g. 22, 23, 24, etc.)
‘The three Wise Men, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar followed the star of God’s Son who became human two thousand and twenty one years ago.
May Christ bless our home and remain with us throughout the new year.
Then say the following prayer:
Visit, O Blessed Lord, this home with the gladness of your presence.
Bless all who live or visit here with the gift of your love; and grant that we may manifest your love to each other and to all whose lives we touch.
May we grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of you;
guide, comfort, and strengthen us in peace,
O Jesus Christ, now and for ever.
What does the inscription ‘20 + C + M + B + XX′ mean?
The letters have two meanings. First, they represent the initials of the Magi – Caspar, Malchior, and Balthazar – who came to visit Jesus in His first home. They also abbreviate the Latin phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat: “May Christ bless the house.”
The “+” signs represent the cross, and the “20” at the beginning and the number at the end mark the current year.
Taken together, this inscription is performed as a request for Christ to bless those homes so marked and that He stay with those who dwell therein throughout the entire year.
This new year, perhaps more than ever, is a year in which we need to invite Jesus into our homes, our Domestic Churches.
(Source: Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference)