10th January 2018

Dear Friends

I wonder whether you have ever seen some letters and numbers chalked over a door and been puzzled about what they meant.  They are an ancient tradition known as the Epiphany Blessing and are usually written on the feast of the Epiphany which we celebrated at St Nick’s on Sunday.

The formula for the ritual — adapted for 2018 — is simple: take chalk (which may have been previously blessed) of any colour and write the following above the entrance of your home: 20 + C + M + B + 18. The letters have two meanings. First, they represent the initials of the Magi, traditionally known as Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. Second, they are an abbreviation of the Latin phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat : “May Christ bless this house.” The “+” signs represent the cross, and the “20” at the beginning and the “18” at the end mark the 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 live there. This ritual is often accompanied by a simple liturgy. Perhaps you might like to mark your own house in this way?

With every blessing on you and your homes for the year ahead.

Mother Eileen

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