20 + C + M + B + 09
The letters have two meanings. They are the initials of the traditional names of the Three Magi: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. All three revered as saints and honored in the Munich cathedral. We abbreviate the Latin words “Christus mansionem benedicat” (“May Christ bless the house”). The letters recall the day on which the inscription is made, as well as the purpose of blessing.
The crosses represent the protection of the Precious Blood of Christ, whom we invoke, and the holiness of the Magi who adored of the infant Jesus. The 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 bears the name of the Roman god Janus, the doorkeeper of heaven and protector of the beginning and end of things. This blessing “christens” the ancient Roman observance of the first month.
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 your spirit.
Let us pray.
Bless, O Lord God, this creature chalk to render it helpful to your people. Grant that they who use it in faith and with it inscribe upon the doors of their homes the names of your saints, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, may through their merits and intercession enjoy health of body and protection of soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
And the chalk is sprinkled with Holy Water.