Tag Archives: Epiphany

Blessing of Chalk


Christmas-related themes, very present in Gil ...

Gil Vicente’s Epiphany

On this feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, the Church teaches us that this is a yet another important the manifestation of the Eternal Incarnate Word of God. Since we Catholics view creation with a particular lens, that is a sacramental lens, it is traditional for the priest to bless chalk and incense today; most often you see this blessing in the Polish Catholic community but it’s a really a catholic custom for all people.

We can note two meanings of the letters of inscription. First, the initials of the traditional names of the Three Magi: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. Second, the letters abbreviate the Latin words Christus mansionem benedicat. May Christ bless the house.” Hence, the purpose of the blessing is to manifest Grace. The recalling that the Magi were the first of the nations to recognize the Divine Infant as the King of the Nations, and to acknowledge that we seek the face of God. The blessing and imposition of chalk reminds us that God is the origin of all blessings of our home and life.

By placing the crosses with the Epiphany inscription we remember that with the Incarnation there is also the Paschal Mystery.

As it noted by students of culture, the Epiphany inscription is made above the front door, so that all who enter and depart this year may enjoy God’s blessing. “The month of January still bears the name of the Roman god Janus, the doorkeeper of heaven and protector of the beginning and end of things. This blessing of “christens” is the ancient Roman observance of the first month. The inscription is made of chalk, a product of clay, which recalls the human nature taken by the Adorable and Eternal Word of God in the womb of the Virgin Mary, by the power of the Holy Spirit” (MDK).

To bless your home this Epiphany, first read the Prologue of Saint John’s Gospel, followed by the Our Father, and the following Collect; then write the inscription for this year above your front door with blessed chalk.

Blessing of Chalk

V. Our help is the name of the Lord.
R. Who made heaven and earth.

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

Bless, O Lord God, this creature chalk to render it helpful to Thy people. Grant that they who use it in faith and with it inscribe upon the doors of their homes the names of Thy saints, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, may through their merits and intercession enjoy health of body and protection of soul. Through Christ our Lord.

And the chalk is sprinkled with Holy Water.

Epiphany Inscription over the Doorway of the Home

20 + C + M + B + 13

Benedict XVI ordains 4 bishops

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me and sent me to preach the good news to the poor, to heal the broken hearted. (LK 4:18; entrance antiphon)


Today we see the episcopal ordination of four priests. On this feast of the Epiphany, Pope Benedict XVI ordained four men he’s known to be good repute to serve the Church of Christ in a new, dynamic way. With prayer to the Holy Spirit and laying on of hands, the following priests are ordained to the Order of Bishop:


Georg Gänswein arms.jpg

Georg Gänswein, 56, Prefect of the Papal Household

Fortunatus Nwachukwu, 52, Apostolic Nuncio to Nicaragua

Nicholas Thevenin, 54, Apostolic Nuncio to Guatemala

Angelo
Zani, 62, Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education

All four were given the title of archbishop in recognition of work done, and to be done.

With the Church we pray,

O God, eternal Shepherd, who, governing your flock with watchful care, choose to join these your servants and Priests to the College of Bishops this day, grant we pray, that by their holiness of life they may everywhere prove to be true witnesses to Christ.

(the coat of arms belong to Arcbbishop Georg Gänswein)
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Epiphany, brightest and best of the sons of the morning

Epiphany Giotto2.jpg
Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness, and lend us Thine aid!
Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid!
Cold on His cradle the dewdrops are shining,
Low lies His head with the beasts of the stall;
Angels adore Him, in slumber reclining, —
Maker, and Monarch and Savior of All.
Say, shall we yield Him, in costly devotion,
Odors of Edom, and offerings divine,
Gems of the mountain, and pearls of the ocean,
Myrrh from the forest, or gold from the mine?
Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
Vainly with gifts would His favor secure;
Richer by far is the heart’s adoration,
Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.
Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness, and lend us Thine aid!
Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid!
Reginald Heber (1783-1826)
Anglican Bishop of Calcutta
poet
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Jesus Christ is our light


Baptism of Christ AVerrocchio.jpgThe days following the feasts of the Epiphany (Theophany) and the Baptism of the Lord, the Church focuses her attention on a relationship with the Lord as the Way, the Light and the Truth. The biblical narratives at Mass this week have us praying with the scenes of Christ the healer. With His baptism, Jesus’ ministry inaugurated and his light now shines more brightly for us to see the path to salvation.


Jesuit Father Steven Bonian tells us that “In … Syriac Spirituality we find St. Ephrem speaking
in mystical poetry of the light of Christ residing in every Christian: the same
light that Moses saw on the mountain at the burning bush; that gleamed through
Mary at his incarnation, and the river Jordan at his baptism. Ephrem envisions
that we too will shine forth with Christ’s light at our resurrection – for all
eternity!

It is very important for us to come to know Jesus Christ, our Lord,
in his true light: as he really lives in the light of the Trinity. It is the
ultimate grace from God the Father to have Jesus revealed to us in his true
Light. This grace can only be given to those who are willing to seek it: ‘ask
and it will be given to you,’ the Lord says.”

Epiphany

Magi Adoration Angelico.jpg

We celebrate a holy day adorned with three mysteries: this day the star led the Magi to the manger; this day wine was made from water at the wedding; this day Christ willed to be baptized in the Jordan by John in order to save us, alleluia. (Antiphon for the Magnificat, Second Vespers)

The Church prays

O God, who on this day revealed your Only Begotten Son to the nations by the guidance of a star, grant in your mercy that we who know you already by faith, may be brought to behold the beauty of your sublime glory.

The Magi give us an example to follow: to walk diligently, to walk by faith guided by the indications of God –that is, the star– in order to arrive at what God wants to give. Himself. As Pope Benedict said on Friday, the Magi are the best example of “humanity’s pilgrimage to Jesus.” The giving of the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh is merely the beginning of our gift to the Lord. Our gift is none other than ourselves, as freely as it is possible to give… 

Our first point on the pilgrimage is what is sung in the “The First Nowell,” Then entered in there Wise Men three, Full reverently on bended knee….

By walking this pilgrimage to Jesus, the Magi arrive at Truth itself. Do we have the courage to do the same or do we succumb to human opinion?

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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