On a liturgical note: January 2021

By Canon Philip Gillespie

20 * C + M + B * 21
 
May Christ bless the Household!
 
The Epiphany tradition of chalking on the doorway of your house the letters CMB (Christus mansionem benedicat) with the current year is one which is certainly maintained at the Cathedral and perhaps in your local church and in your home. This blessing is both a prayer for the coming calendar year and also a reminder that the Lord’s blessing is found in every place and every aspect of our lives – and what better feast to do it on than the Feast of the Manifestation of Christ to all peoples, and the bringing of the three gifts (some say that the letters CMB stand for Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, the traditional names gives to the Magi, the ‘Wise men from the East’).
 
There is a little phrase at the beginning of the Preface of the Eucharistic Prayers which says: ‘Always and everywhere to give you thanks.’ It can often get a little overlooked but is at the very heart of our understanding of the Christian life.
 
In all places, at all times and in many different and varied ways, we make our ‘eucharist’ – our thanksgiving for the goodness and blessings of God. Priest, policeman, schoolteacher, parent … whatever our station and calling in life, we are called to make our lives a hymn of thanksgiving for the graces of God. This may sound a little ‘high blown’ or unrealistic but surely it is exactly what Pope Saint Leo wrote in his Christmas homily all those years ago: ‘O Christian, be aware of your nobility.’

A few days ago we heard the line ‘What can I give him [Christ], poor as I am ?’ and the answer, of course, is everything we have and everything we will become over these next weeks and months –  all the joys and hopes, the fears and the sorrows which lie before us. All of these are given into the care of Christ so that He may transform and strengthen us according to our own needs and circumstances.
 
May God bless us, every one!