The blessing of homes constitutes an invocative blessing, meaning that by his prayer and by t he sprinkling of Holy Water the priest invokes God’s blessings and protection upon the home and those living in it. We bless homes for many reasons:
* To reveal the home as what God had created it to be, a way to Heaven
* To rid the home of every evil
* To show that the family is a small Church unit in Christ
* To consecrate the home and all activity in it to God
* To fill the home and all who live in it with the fullness of God
Traditionally, the priest personally visits all his parishioners each year to pray with them in the place where they live, and to bless their surroundings with the newly sanctified water of Theophany. By sanctifying our homes we extend the grace of God to our individual dwellings.
Just as our souls, so also our homes become tainted by the sins of those living in them and consequently lose God’s protective power. We cleanse our souls of sins at least once a year and the church is blessed with the newly blessed water every year, so should our homes be sanctified with Holy Water to invoke God’s blessings and protection on it and its inhabitants. As we renew the insurance on our home every year, so we should renew our insurance of God’s protection and His blessing which is of greater importance and more effective.
What should we do during a home blessing
As we welcome our priest during the holy season of Theophany to bless our home, let us be mindful that he is bringing to us the “blessing of the Jordan,” and that unless God protects and blesses our home, we “labour in vain.” (Ps. 127:1)
Each family is considered a small church and the family table is the home altar. When the priest comes, have as many family members there as possible. If you do not have an icon corner, ensure that you set up a place for prayer either at the kitchen or dining table. On the table include an icon and a lit candle. You may also include anything that you may want to have blessed (i.e. icon, cross, personal item, etc.) Make sure that the lights are on in every room. The priest will begin the blessing at the icon corner or table. If you have children, they may lead the priest, while holding a candle, to each room in the house.
This is also a wonderful time for you and your priest to visit and to get to know each other better.
[From: Our Faith – Nasha Vira (Religion education newsletter of the Eparchy of Edmonton) January-February 2011]