GOD BLESS OUR HAPPY HOME

This morning over at the Deacon’s Bench, Deacon Greg Kandra wrote about a House Blessing in which he had participated.  Having read his story—twice in fact—I find myself in a story-telling mood!

When my husband and I moved to our home six years ago, we were taking a big step and we knew it.  Oh, our home isn’t huge—we have no marble staircase, no media room, no butler’s pantry….  What we have, though, is a bunch of trees—”big stuff” to us, former suburbanites accustomed to life on a city block.  That, and our home had a rustic charm that won my heart.

We felt so abundantly blessed, we wanted to begin our life in our new home with a special ceremony—and we invited our pastor to come and bless our home.  We were joined by our family and friends, people who had nourished our spirits and loved us through some times that weren’t so sunny, and who came to share our joy on this special day.

I loved the day—so much, in fact, that I’m including a traditional House Blessing here below. 

*     *     *     *     *

But I really want to share a story which precedes our story, a story that goes back to the previous owner and the owner before him. 

You see, we bought our home from a minister and his family, who had bought the home from another minister and his family.  The Christian Faith was deeply imprinted in our home, and I smile to think of all the prayer vigils that have been held before the fireplace, the youth rallies in the backyard, the scriptures studied and persons counseled here.  We prayed that we might continue in that rich tradition of Godly service and make our home a place of welcome.

The previous owner had been a professor of theology at a local Christian college as well as a youth minister.  When the college closed its doors, he was forced to seek new employment in another city.  We stepped in to take the place off his hands. 

We didn’t meet until the closing, and then only briefly—but what a wonderful meeting it was!  While waiting to sign the papers, we were seated under a great painting of sailing vessels, one with a cross on the topsail.  He inquired about it; I stammered a minute, then exclaimed, “The Battle of Lepanto!”  I was able to tell that pastor about Our Lady of Victory, and how the Holy League, although greatly outnumbered, had defeated the Ottoman Empire after Pope Pius V asked the Faithful to join in praying the Rosary for peace.  

And then he told his story:  How it had been necessary to replace the roof of the home, and they had done a complete teardown, removing the old shingles and exposing the roof down to the bare wood.  Then his teenage children and his students had stepped in, painting scripture verses all over the roof before installing new shingles.  “The house is covered in Scripture,” he explained, “and over the front door they painted Joshua 24:15: ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’  If you ever have to do any repairs to your roof, you’ll find it.”

I don’t know what other verses might guard us as we go about our daily affairs, but I have some ideas:

  • Over the kitchen:   Matthew 26:26, “Take and eat, this is My body.”  
  • Over the bedroom:  Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
  • Over the living room, where we entertain, perhaps there are scriptures about the value of friendship, such as:  Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity.”

We remember the scriptures on our roof, and we add our own voices to the voices which have been lifted in prayer here in this house.  We are greatly blessed!

*     *     *     *     *

Here, as I promised, is the traditional Catholic House Blessing. 

Catholic House Blessing

Adapted from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers
Bishop’s Committee on the Liturgy
National Conference of Catholic Bishops © 1988, pp. 297-301

Gather as a family (roommates, friends, relatives) in any room you desire, with a crucifix present if possible.

Yes, you can–and are encouraged to–bless your own home/apartment/condo/dorm room even if a priest isn’t available!

All make the sign of the cross.

The leader, which the Bishops encourage to be a layperson, begins:
Peace be with this house and with all who live here. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

All respond: Amen.

The leader may use these or similar words to introduce the house blessing:

When Christ took flesh through the Blessed Virgin Mary, he made his home with us. Let us now pray that he will enter this home and bless it with his presence. May he always be here among us; may he nurture our love for each other, share in our joys, comfort us in our sorrows. Inspired by his teachings and example, let us seek to make our home before all else a dwelling place of love, diffusing far and wide the goodness of Christ.

Then the Scripture is read by another family member:

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Colossians

You are God’s chosen race, his saints; He loves you, and you should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience.

Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same.

Over all these clothes, to keep them together and complete them, put on love.

And may the peace of Christ reign in your hearts, because it is for this that you were called together as parts of one body. Always be thankful.

Let the message of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you. Teach each other, and advise each other, in all wisdom. With gratitude in your hearts sing psalms and hymns and inspired songs to God;

And never say or do anything except in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

The word of the Lord.

All Respond: Thanks be to God.
(Alternate readings may be selected)

After the scripture reading, all go from room to room, offering prayers of intercession and sprinkling holy water, if desired. Some of the following prayers may be used.

At the entrance:

O God, protect our going out and our coming in; Let us share the hospitality of this home
with all who visit us, that those who enter here may know your love and peace.

Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

In the living room:

O God, give your blessings to all who share this room, that we may be knit together in companionship.

Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

In the kitchen:

O God, you fill the hungry with good things. Send your blessing on us, as we work in this kitchen, and make us ever thankful for our daily bread.

Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

In the dining room:

Blessed are you, Lord of heaven and earth, for you give us food and drink to sustain our lives and make our hearts glad. Help us to be grateful for all your mercies, and mindful of the needs of others.

Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

In the bedrooms:

Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, we may rest in his peace.

Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

In the bathroom:

Blessed are you, Lord of heaven and earth. You formed us in wisdom and love. Refresh us in body and in spirit, and keep us in good health that we might serve you.

Grant this through Christ our Lord
Amen.
All return to the starting place. A cross or icon is kissed by each person, and then put in a permanent place of honor. A candle may be lighted before it.

All recite the Lord’s Prayer.

The Leader speaks the prayer of blessing:

Be our shelter, Lord, when we are at home, our companion when we are away,
and our welcome guest when we return. and at last receive us into the dwelling place
you have prepared for us in your Father’s house, where you live for ever and ever.

Amen.

All make the sign of the cross as the leader concludes:

May the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, and may the word of Christ in all its richness
dwell in us, so that whatever we do in word and in work, we will do in the name of the Lord.

Amen.

  • http://fromthepulpitofmylife.blogspot.com/ Ruth Ann

    What an interesting story!

  • http://www.google.com/ Billybob

    Enligtehinng the world, one helpful article at a time.

  • Pingback: A Scriptural Trifecta in Ordinary Time


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