THE BLESSING OF CHALK
20 † C † M † B † 21
The above line may be written on the lintel above the entrance to your house; some write it on the base board. A piece of blessed chalk from this liturgy may be taken home to be used for this purpose. Following the inscription, the following prayer is to be said:
O Lord, holy Father, almighty, everlasting God, we beseech you to hear us: send your holy Angel from heaven, to guard and cherish, protect and visit, and evermore defend all that dwell in this house. I call upon your Saints, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, to protect my family and my home from every harm and danger, and I place this mark over my door to remain as a constant reminder to us and to all who enter here that my house is truly a house of the Lord. O God, make the door of my house the gateway to your Eternal Kingdom, through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.
The chalking of the doors is a centuries-old practice throughout the world. The letters have two meanings. First, they represent the initials of the Magi: Caspar, Malchior, and Balthazar who came to visit Jesus in His first home. They also abbreviate the Latin phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat: “May Christ bless the house.” The “†” signs represent the cross, and the “20” at the beginning and the “21” at the end mark the year.
Taken together, this inscription is performed as a request that Christ to bless those homes. We ask for Christ's blessing on our homes and on all who live, work or visit them there.
The chalking of the doors of a home encourages Christians to dedicate their life at home to God and to others. Seeing the symbols over our doors can help to remind us, while passing in and out on our daily routines, that our homes and all those who dwell there belong to Christ.