Monday, January 07, 2008

We Three Kings

Sunday was, of course, Epiphany, aka the Twelfth Day*, aka (in these parts) Dia de los Reyes. Offspring #1 had intended to bring some chalk to Mass for a blessing, but was stricken down by a stomach bug, leaving me to knock on the sacristy door, hoping Father wasn't going to ask incredulously "You want me to bless what?"

Fortunately, as I was about to launch into an explanation of Epiphany Door Blessing, Father Patrick's eyes lit up as he saw the chalk, seized it, and launched into the proper blessing**:

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 then a little sprinkle with holy water.]
He then informed me delightedly that he had memorized the blessing in seminary (not long ago for him) and had been waiting for a chance to use it.

So home I went. In case you're wondering what you do with Blessed Chalk, you write the following over your door:

2 + 0 + C + M + B + 0 + 8
... which means, Christus Mansionem Benedicat, 2008, i.e. May Christ Bless This House through the year. And since CMB happens to be the initials of the traditional names of the Magi, and since Epiphany falls near the beginning of the year, it all fits together nicely.

Now I have a stub of Blessed Chalk in the junk drawer. Save it? Bury it? Give it to the Offspringen for games of Blessed Hangman in the driveway?

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*"Twelfth Night" isn't Epiphany, but the eve or vigil thereof, and so is technically the eleventh day of Christmas, aka Pipers Piping.

**Except for a certain confusion regarding the names of the Wise Men, who came out something like "Casper, Melthasor, and Balcher," which I figured probably didn't invalidate the blessing or anything.

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