We will also be blessing chalk for people to take home to bless the entrance way to their houses with the inscription:20 + C + M + B + 14
The initials remind us of the legendary names of the Magi – Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar – and also stand for the Latin motto:Christus mansionem benedicat, “May Christ bless this house.” In the Book of Exodus, the Israelites marked their doors with blood so that the Lord would pass over their homes; but in this ritual, we mark our doors with chalk as a sign that we have invited God’s presence and blessing into our homes. I do think it’s good for people to identify themselves as believers, whether it’s by something they wear or by pictures, statues and other signs in their homes. The signs that might call to mind our Saviour are all too absent from everyday life.
It’s traditional to write the inscription on the lintel, above the door, but it can be written anywhere near the entrance. The following prayer may be said while the entrance is marked:
The three Wise Men,
B and Balthasar followed the star of God’s Son who became human
20 two thousand
14 and fourteen years ago.
+ May Christ bless our home
+ and remain with us throughout the new year. Amen.
I watched the 1964 film of his life starring Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole, which starts with King Henry II going to Canterbury Cathedral to receive his penance on 12 July 1174. He publicly confessed his sins, and then allowed each bishop present to give him five blows from a rod, then each of the 80 monks of Canterbury Cathedral to give him three blows.