Thursday, January 07, 2016

Chalking the Door -- I will be doing this if I can find the chalk -- and climb high enough

Chalking the Door: An Epiphany House Blessing 2016

| January 1, 2016
Every year the Carmelite Pre-novitiate Community at Carith House in Chicago on the Feast of the Epiphany blesses their home.
We invite you to adopt this custom in your family. The family gathers to ask God’s blessing on their home and on those who live in or visit the home. It is an invitation for Jesus to be a daily guest in our home, our comings and goings, our conversations, our work and play, our joys and sorrows.
A traditional way of doing this is to use chalk to write above the home’s entrance, 20 + C + M + B + 16. The letters C, M, B have two meanings. They are the initials of the traditional names of the three magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. They also abbreviate the Latin words Christus mansionem benedicat, “May Christ bless the house.” The “+” signs represent the cross and 2016 is the year.
Blessing the Chalk

V. Our help is the name of the Lord:
R. The maker of heaven and earth.
V. The Lord shall watch over your going out and your coming in:
R. From this time forth for evermore.

Let us pray.
Loving God, bless this chalk which you have created, that it may be helpful to your people; and grant that through the invocation of your most Holy Name that we who use it in faith to write upon the door of our home the names of your holy ones Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, may receive health of body and protection of soul for all who dwell in or visit our home; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Instructions for Blessing the Home

Using the blessed chalk mark the lintel of your front door (or front porch step) as follows:
20 + C + M + B + 16 while saying:
The three Wise Men, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar followed the star of God’s Son who became human two thousand and fifteen years ago. May Christ bless our home and remain with us throughout the new year. Amen.

Then offer the following prayer: Visit, O blessed Lord, this home with the gladness of your presence. Bless all who live or visit here with the gift of your love; and grant that we may manifest your love to each other and to all whose lives we touch. May we grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of you; guide, comfort, and strengthen us in peace, O Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen

“Chalking the door” is a way to celebrate and literally mark the occasion of the Epiphany and God’s blessing of our lives and home. With time the chalk will fade. As it does we let the meaning of the symbols written sink into the depths of our heart and be manifest in our words and actions the Latin words, Christus mansionem benedictat, “May Christ bless the house.”
Daryl Moresco, OCarm.
Daryl Moresco, OCarm.
Br. Daryl Moresco OCarm. is the Director of Vocations and the Pre-Novitiate formation program for the Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary (Chicago) Province.

The House on Fortune Street


I am a voracious reader.  I am also well known for choosing books for their covers.  I think that is why I still prefer physical books to e-books - the covers.  A while back, while perusing the sale tables at B&N I picked up a copy of "The House on Fortune Street" by Margot Livesey.  It was put on the shelf  to wait its turn in the TBR queue.  My daughter came over one day looking for something to read and she took several books off the shelf, this one being one of them, and it resided at her home for a long while.  Recently, it came back into my possession, was thrown in the back of the car and brought out one day when I was needing something to read while waiting in the kindergarten pick up express line.

I always liked the cover so I assumed I would like the book.  For the first time in forever, that didn't happen.  It was a slow go.  It was a chore to get started and keep the momentum going.  It just didn't grab me but I was determined.  After plodding through the beginning and suffering through a story line I didn't enjoy it started to get better.  Around the middle of the book it started to grow on me -- the overlapping of the story lines was intriguing.  It was almost a mystery without actually being one.  And now -- at the end -- I found I couldn't put it down.  What clever writing it was.  What complicated characters they were.  To see the story unfold for each of the character's viewpoints was enlightening.

It is the story of Abigail and Dara -- friends from college days.  They were different yet so much alike.   They were best friends and their individual stories ran parallel to their story.  Through the whole book, through parents and families and lovers and friends, their relationship remained until the end.  And what a sad end it was.

Would I recommend this book?  I am not sure.  It was a slow start, it was a sad end, the writing was excellent, the characterization and the setting were top notch and I have really enjoyed it, surprisingly.  However, it is a sad book and a depressing read so I would have to withhold my recommendation.  A reader would have to decide for him/herself.