Sunday, January 03, 2010

The Blessing of Epiphany Water & Chalk – Part 1 of 2

Tridentine Community News (January 3, 2010):
In the Extraordinary Form, each year before the Feast of the Epiphany, water and chalk are blessed using beautiful rituals:

The Blessing of Epiphany Chalk

℣. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
℟. Who made heaven and earth.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

Bless, + O Lord God, this creature chalk, to render it helpful to men. Grant that they who use it with faith in Thy most holy Name, and with it inscribe upon the entrance of their homes the names of Thy Saints, Caspar, Melchior, and Baltassar, may through their merits and intercession enjoy health of body and protection of soul. Through Christ our Lord.
℟. Amen.

The chalk is sprinkled with holy water.

The Blessing of Epiphany Water

The celebrant, vested in white cope, comes before the altar, preceded by acolytes bearing the processional cross and lighted candles. A vessel of water and a container of salt are prepared.

The Litany of the Saints is sung, during which time all kneel. After the invocation "That Thou wouldst grant eternal rest, etc.," the celebrant rises and sings the following two invocations:

℣. That Thou wouldst bless + this water.
℟. We beseech Thee hear us.
℣. That Thou wouldst bless + and sanctify + this water.
℟. We beseech Thee hear us.

The cantors continue the litany. The celebrant then says the Pater Noster silently until:

℣. And lead us not into temptation.
℟. But deliver us from evil.

Psalm 28

Sacrifice to the Lord, ye sons of God; * bring to the Lord the offspring of rams.

Offer to the Lord praise and honor, offer glory to His name; * worship the Lord in His holy court.

The voice of the Lord booms over the waters, the God of majesty hath thundered, * the Lord rules over tempestuous waters.

The voice of the Lord hath power, * the voice of the Lord hath splendor.

The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars, * the Lord doth shatter the cedars of Lebanon.

And scattereth them to skip like a calf, * while His beloved gambol like the young of bison.

The voice of the Lord spreadeth flame into lightning; the voice of the Lord maketh the desert to tremble; * and the Lord shall shake the wilderness of Cades.

The voice of the Lord frighteneth deer to calve untimely, and strippeth bare the forests, * and in His heavens all sing: “Glory!”

The Lord is enthroned upon the flood, * the Lord shall reign as King forever.

The Lord will give strength to His people, * the Lord will bless His people with peace.

Glory be to the Father. * As it was in the beginning.

Psalm 45

Our God is refuge and strength, * a Helper in sorrows which often beset us.

Hence we fear not, though the earth be shaken * and the mountains sink in the midst of the sea;

Though the waters thereof should roar and foam, * and the mountains quake from its breakers.

Gay billows of the river gladden the city of God; * the Most High hath sanctified His dwelling.

God is in the midst of the city, it shall not be disturbed; * God will help it at earliest dawn.

The heathen were afflicted, and kingdoms brought low; * God spoke, and their land was dissolved.

The Lord of hosts is with us, * the God of Jacob is our protector.

Come ye and behold the works of the Lord, what desolation He hath wrought on their land! * He endeth wars through the boundaries of the earth.

He breaketh the bow and destroyeth weapons, * and shields He burneth in fire.

And He spoke: “Be still, and see that I am God! * I will be exalted by the heathen, I will be exalted by my own.”

The Lord of hosts is with us; * the God of Jacob is our protector.

Glory be to the Father. * As it was in the beginning.

Psalm 146

Praise ye the Lord, for it is good to laud Him; * joyful and worthy praise becometh our God.

The Lord rebuildeth Jerusalem, * and will gather the exiles of Israel.

He healeth the heart-broken, * and bindeth up their wounds.

He knoweth the number of stars, * and calleth all by name.

Great is our Lord and great His power, * His wisdom infinite.

The Lord raiseth up the meek, but the wicked He humbleth to the dust.

Sing ye to the Lord in thanksgiving; * praise our God on the harp;

Who covereth the heavens with clouds, * and prepareth rain for the earth.

Who maketh grass to grow on the hills * and herbs for lower creatures.

Who giveth to beasts their food, * and to little ravens that cry unto Him.

He placeth no trust in the strength of a steed, * nor doth man’s fleetness please Him.

The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear Him * and in them that trust in His mercy.

Glory be to the Father. * As it was in the beginning.

(To be continued next week)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for January 3, 2009. Hat tip to A.B.]

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