Solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord

01-08-2023Letter from the PastorFr. Don Kline, V.F.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany. On Christmas, we focused on Jesus’ humanity. On Epiphany, we turn our attention to Christ’s divinity. The magi help us to understand what His divinity means through their presence and their gifts. The gift of gold honored Jesus as king. The gift of incense honored Jesus as God. And, the gift of myrrh point to Christ’s death. Our Lord was born to sacrifice His life for us. Upon the Cross, Our Lord gave His life for the forgiveness of our sins. Our Lord’s resurrection destroyed the power of sin and extended the offer of eternal life to those who love Him. Throughout our lives, we offer our gifts, just like the wise men who offered this Divine Child homage and adoration as only a true King deserves.

One of the great Christmas traditions of the Church is to bless one’s house to start a new year. During the rite, the tradition is to chalk the main doors of one’s house with the following inscription 20 + C + M + B + 23. This represents the year 2023 with crosses for Christ and the initials of the three wise kings or Magi who visited the Christ Child. They also abbreviate the Latin phrase, Christus mansion benedicat, which translates as “May Christ bless the house.” This inscription is performed as a request that Christ bless the home and that He stay with those who dwell and visit it as well. The timing for the chalking of the doors varies somewhat in practice. In some places, it is done on New Year’s Day. More commonly, it is performed on the Feast of the Epiphany — the Twelfth Day of Christmas. The blessing can be performed simply by just writing the inscription and offering a short prayer, or more elaborately, including songs, prayers, processions, the burning of incense, and the sprinkling of holy water.

As you walk along the path of faith this week, consider how God has manifested Himself to you personally. What is your response to this human and divine outpouring of love? Are you an obligatory Catholic or are you a cheerful steward giving back what He has already given you? We are blessed at St. Bernadette to have a variety of ways to learn and serve as stewards of God’s many gifts.

Please be sure to take a look at our website to see our wonderful apostolates. Please pray about where Our Lord is leading you this year. The new year brings new opportunities for you. May Our Lord be your strength and your hope as you seek to do His will.

House Blessing/Prayer

How do you bless your home?
Begin by having all family members gather outside the
front door. All make the sign of the cross. One person
will then read this prayer:

Priest/Leader: Peace be to this house.
All: And to all who dwell herein.
Leader: From the east came the Magi to Bethlehem toadore the Lord; and opening their treasures they offered precious gifts: gold for the great King, incense for the true God, and myrrh in symbol of His burial. Enter your home and read the Magnificat, the hymn of praise sung by the Blessed Virgin Mary in Luke’s Gospel after being greeted by Elizabeth. During this, sprinkle the area you are in with holy water. After that is complete:
All: From the east came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasures they offered precious gifts: gold for the great King, incense
for the true God, and myrrh in symbol of His burial.
Leader: Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead and lead us not into temptation,
All: But deliver us from evil.
Leader: All they from Saba shall come
All: Bringing gold and frankincense.
Leader: O Lord, hear my prayer.
All: And let my cry come unto Thee.
Leader: Let us pray. O God, who by the guidance of a star didst on this day manifest Thine only-begotten Son to the Gentiles, mercifully grant that we who know Thee by faith may also attain the vision of Thy glorious majesty. Through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.
Leader: Be enlightened, be enlightened, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee – Jesus Christ born of the Virgin Mary.
All: And the Gentiles shall walk in thy light and kings in the splendor of thy rising, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon thee.
Leader: Let us pray. Bless, O Lord God almighty, this home, that in it there may be health, purity, the strength of victory, humility, goodness and mercy, the fulfillment of Thy law, the thanksgiving to God the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. And may this blessing remain upon this home and upon all who dwell herein. Through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.

After the prayers are recited, walk throughout your home sprinkling each room with holy water. Then write the initials of the Magi connected with crosses at the top of your front door. Then the numbers of the year. The numbers will be split so that they are on each side of the initials. Here’s an example: 20 + C + M + B + 23 This tradition is done at the beginning of each year so that you can invite God into your homes and place your family under his protection.