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FatherGiryus
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« on: March 15, 2010, 12:21:13 AM »


Can any of our Roman Catholic friends provide a reliable history (as opposed to educated guesses or fond reminiscences) of the practice of using chalk inscriptions over doors with these initials? 

An RC friend of mine was describing this venerable practice, and it roused my curiousity.

Thank you for your help!

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« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2010, 12:32:05 AM »

I used to be RC and what our Priest did on epiphany was bless a whole bunch of chalk and then write that on our door posts all I know is it stands for Caspar Melchior and Balthasar the three wise men. There are all sorts of legends around this one is that any house that has that written on it the Three wise men will bless for the upcoming year.
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« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2010, 09:02:41 AM »

I used to be RC and what our Priest did on epiphany was bless a whole bunch of chalk and then write that on our door posts all I know is it stands for Caspar Melchior and Balthasar the three wise men. There are all sorts of legends around this one is that any house that has that written on it the Three wise men will bless for the upcoming year.
Which would explain why my former Polish neighbours had "K+M+B+" on their door- they must spell "Casper with a "K" in Polish.
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« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2010, 10:18:25 AM »


My priest will mark the door frame with chalk - making the 3-bar Cross over the door.

We also have funny, squiggly black crosses on the ceiling over our doors!    We bring the lit candles home from Holy Thursday's reading of the 12 Gospels.  With that flame we mark each door with a Cross....and the smoke from the flame etches a ghostly cross on the ceiling. 

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« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2010, 10:19:39 AM »

We also have funny, squiggly black crosses on the ceiling over our doors!    We bring the lit candles home from Holy Thursday's reading of the 12 Gospels.  With that flame we mark each door with a Cross....and the smoke from the flame etches a ghostly cross on the ceiling. 
We do that with the Holy Fire at Pascha.
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« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2010, 10:46:48 AM »

Well. It's not "Casper, Melchior and Balthazar" as it's thought to be but "Christus Mansionem Benedicat ".
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2010, 07:15:07 PM »



A friend sent me the following text, which is the House Blessing which incorporates the Chalk Inscription:

BLESSING OF HOMES
Upon entering:

V: Peace be unto this home.       
R: And unto all that dwell herein.

Antiphon:
From the East came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasures, they offered costly gifts: gold to the great King, incense to the true God, and myrrh in symbol of His burial. Alleluia.

Canticle of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Luke I, 46-55)

My soul doth magnify the Lord.
And my spirit doth rejoice in God my Savior.
For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaid; lo, hence-forth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He that is mighty hath done great things for me, and holy is His name.
And His mercy is from generation to generation to them that fear Him.
He hath shown strength with His arm; He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
The hungry He hath filled with good things; the rich He hath sent away empty.
He hath helped Israel, His servant, being mindful of His mercy.
As He hath promised our fathers, Abraham and his seed forever.
Glory be to the Father.                                                                 
(Incense and water with Our Father)

From the East came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasures, they offered costly gifts: gold to the great King, incense to the true God, and myrrh in symbol of His burial. Alleluia.

Our Father inaudibly until:    
V: And lead us not into temptation.   
R: But deliver us from evil.                 
V: Many shall come from Saba.   
R: Bearing gold and incense.                 
V: 0 Lord, hear my prayer.
R: And let my cry come unto thee.
V: The Lord be with you.
R: And with thy spirit.

Let us Pray.                                                                                                 

O God, Who by the guidance of a star didst this day reveal thy Sole-Begotten Son to the Gentiles, grant that we who now know thee by faith may be brought to the contemplation of thy heavenly majesty. Through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.
R. Amen.

Responsory: Be enlightened and shine forth, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come, and upon thee is risen the glory of the Lord, Jesus Christ born of Virgin Mary.

V. Nations shall walk in thy light, and kings in the brilliance of thy origin.
R. And the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

Let us Pray.                                                                                                 

Bless, † O Lord, almighty God this home that it be the shelter of health, chastity, self-conquest, humility, goodness, mildness, obedience to the commandments, and thanksgiving to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. May blessing remain for all time upon this dwelling and them that live herein.
Through Christ our Lord. 

R. Amen.

Sacred is this threshold of our home and holy is this door.  This is the meeting place of friend, neighbor, and stranger.  May it be a bridge for our comings and goings.  Whenever we stand in its sacred circle, may our eyes be granted new vision, so that we can see in friend or stranger the God of ten thousand disguises.

May this threshold be a sacred space where we come to celebrate the Sacrament of Hospitality.  May the spirits of evil never cross this threshold, and may the Name of the All-Holy-One protect our home from harm.  May God’s angels stand guard at the right (water) and the left (water) of this opening to grace our comings and goings.

May we who live in this home guard the sacredness of this doorway.  May our hearts be always alert to the danger of falseness and pretense as we greet those who come to our door.  Let our affection be graced with honesty and reverence, and may the oil of truth burn in the lamp of our eyes.  Help us to remember that our ancestors were strangers and exiles in Egypt, that Joseph and Mary came knocking at a door like this, weary and in search of kindness.  May we receive all at this door as Godly guests.

May the blessing of God (++++), and peace and grace of the All-Holy-One (C M B) surround this threshold and rest upon all who shall pass across it (20 10). 

R. Amen.





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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2010, 08:12:57 PM »


Can any of our Roman Catholic friends provide a reliable history (as opposed to educated guesses or fond reminiscences) of the practice of using chalk inscriptions over doors with these initials?  

An RC friend of mine was describing this venerable practice, and it roused my curiousity.

Thank you for your help!



My Polish Catholic grandmother mentioned something about this last summer.

My grandmother is unfortunately suffering from dimentia, and it has gotten much worse over the past year. Last summer (before things got really bad) she was demanding the priest to come and bless her home. Prior to the priest coming she kept saying that he had to write "Caspian, Melchior and Balthazar" on the wall before he left.

Well, I called the priest, and he came and blessed the house, but didn't write anything on the walls.

To her, the house was not blessed. She said, "All he did was come and sprinkle some water around real quick and leave. He didn't write C M B, where is the C M B?"

To this day she doesn't believe the house was blessed, and her illness has gotten progressively worse.

Before I just thought it was the ramblings of a sick woman, or that it was some tradition that was thrown away after Vatican II. Now I see there is truth to what she was saying. Sad
« Last Edit: March 18, 2010, 08:13:31 PM by HandmaidenofGod » Logged

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FatherGiryus
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2010, 08:55:59 PM »


My Polish Catholic grandmother mentioned something about this last summer.

My grandmother is unfortunately suffering from dimentia, and it has gotten much worse over the past year. Last summer (before things got really bad) she was demanding the priest to come and bless her home. Prior to the priest coming she kept saying that he had to write "Caspian, Melchior and Balthazar" on the wall before he left.

Well, I called the priest, and he came and blessed the house, but didn't write anything on the walls.

To her, the house was not blessed. She said, "All he did was come and sprinkle some water around real quick and leave. He didn't write C M B, where is the C M B?"

To this day she doesn't believe the house was blessed, and her illness has gotten progressively worse.

Before I just thought it was the ramblings of a sick woman, or that it was some tradition that was thrown away after Vatican II. Now I see there is truth to what she was saying. Sad



I've been in contact with someone who has practical knowledge on this topic, and he was absolutely certain that the inscription and, more importantly, the prayer said in association with it, is quite grace-filled.  He mentioned a case where a person suffering from possession literally could not enter a room where the prayer and inscription had been made without his knowledge.

While house blessings are always appropriate, the blessing of the threshhold appears to be a further seal against the entry of spirit through the doorway over which the prayers have been made.

I still don't have the blessing of the chalk, but I assume you could use a similar prayer to the general one found in most Evchologia.

As for me, I'm taking a second look at my own house blessing routine.

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