BEGONE SATAN! Epiphany Blessings, The Devil, and You

Epiphany is coming, Reverend Fathers.  We have special blessings we can use.

You will find actual blessings in the Rituale Romanum (not in the dreadful “Book of Blessings”).

First, we have the famous blessing of chalk, then used to mark the doors of houses that are blessed.  Make sure you have some chalk.  Bless it up right.

Also, there are special blessings for gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Make sure you bring all your myrrh to church.

There is also a special blessing in the older Rituale Romanum of Epiphany Water to be done on the Vigil of Epiphany.  Bishops can do this, and priests who have permission.  Tis a mighty prayer, forsooth.

I would love to see Cardinal Wuerl go down to Pennsylvania Avenue and, with the network camera banks swarming, bless Epiphany Water in front of the White House.

Here is a sample:

Therefore, accursed dragon and every diabolical legion, we adjure you by the living + God, by the true + God, by the holy + God, by the God who so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but shall have life everlasting; cease your deception of the human race and your giving them to drink of the poison of everlasting damnation; desist from harming the Church and fettering her freedom. Begone Satan, you father and teacher of lies and enemy of mankind. Give place to Christ in whom you found none of your works; give place to the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church, which Christ Himself purchased with His blood. May you be brought low under God’s mighty hand. May you tremble and flee as we call upon the holy and awesome name of Jesus, before whom hell quakes, and to whom the virtues, powers, and dominations are subject; whom the cherubim and seraphim praise with unwearied voices, saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts!


We need a lot more of this sort of thing in our churches, not the mealy-mouthed “can’t we all just get along” cant of the pathetically squishy Church of the Olympian Middle.

But I digress.

Are you short on gold, frankincense and myrrh right now?  On Epiphany in some places it is customary to bless bread, salt and eggs.

Our liturgical year has many treasures.  These are now mostly buried treasures, alas.

With the watering down in the Novus Ordo of our liturgical calendar and the undermining of our Catholic identity through the dreadful newer “Book of Blessings” most Catholics now have only a vague notion or memory of the importance of sacred times, places, things and persons.

These are devilishly tricky times, friends.  We need sacramentals in our lives.  By blessings and consecrations bishops and priests rip things away from the domination of Prince of this World, they remove them from the realm of the profane and place them in the realm of the sacred, before the feet of Christ the King.

Reason #6 for Summorum Pontificum.

Thank you Benedict XVI.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The future and our choices and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to BEGONE SATAN! Epiphany Blessings, The Devil, and You

  1. danhorse says:

    Excellent post, Father! Your writing is superb.

  2. fatherrob says:

    Gold is easy to find (if not to afford), and Frankincense is also pretty easy to obtain.
    But does anyone know where you can get your hands on some myrrh?

  3. ShihanRob says:

    Could you elaborate on the use of the blessed chalk?
    Does the use of the chalk convey a blessing on a place, like one’s place of work, if the space hadn’t been formally blessed?


  4. Geoffrey says:

    When I was a child, our parish distributed blessed chalk and instructions for this custom every Epiphany to Mass-goers. And it was a “Novus Ordo” parish. Shock!

  5. ClavesCoelorum says:

    I agree with danhorse, great and powerful post, Father Z! I confess to being invigorated and encouraged by the words of the blessing.

  6. majuscule says:

    I had my brother’s missal (from the early 1950s when he was an altar boy) in hand for a TLM on Christmas Eve and noted a page of wonderful “Short Prayers in Times of Stress” in the very front. I am using the one for “When Hearing Profanity” because of people I have to be around who constantly use profanity. (“Blessed be the Name of The Lord” if you need it.)

    I also have my grandmother’s prayer book from 1925. It contains some wonderful prayers and blessings!


    O sacred and adorable Trinity, hear our prayers on behalf of our holy Father the Pope, our Bishops, our clergy, and for all that are in authority over us. Bless, we beseech Thee, during the coming year, the whole Catholic Church; convert heretics and unbelievers; touch the hearts of sinners that they may return to Thy friendship; give prosperity to our country and peace among the nations of the world; pour down Thy blessings upon our friends, relatives, and acquaintances, and upon our enemies, if we have any; assist the poor and the sick; have pity on the souls of those whom this year has taken from us; and do Thou be merciful to those who during the new year will be summoned before Thy judgment seat. May all our actions Be preceded by Thy inspirations and carried on by Thy assistance, so that all our prayers and works having been begun in Thee, may likewise be ended through Thee.

  7. StWinefride says:

    Father Z: “…most Catholics now have only a vague notion or memory of the importance of sacred times, places, things and persons.

    Oh how true. Thank you very much Father Z for mentioning these Blessings. I always find it so sad and frustrating that when I mention these treasures of the Church to Novus Ordo Catholics, some of them just don’t understand their value. Yes, we do need Sacramentals in our lives:

    “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

    Ephesians 6:10-12

  8. TXKathi says:

    I like this post so much I printed it out to put in the short pile of things I make a point to re-read on occasion regarding all things Catholic.

    Our parish is very blessed to have priests who do all of these Epiphany blessings & have sent out 2 parish-wide emails thus far to remind us about them. I’ll make a point to thank them.

    Whoever wrote that water blessing knew who he was dealing with.

  9. pannw says:

    Me, too, @ ClavesCoelorum. I also confess to being a little angry that I have not been informed of these prayers and blessings and sacramentals have been all but ignored. I only relatively recently learned of blessed salt and found out about it on the internet. This is the first I’ve heard of blessed chalk. I feel that I’ve been denied my birthright! I wonder if my priest has the Rituale Romanum. I bet he does, but if not I’d like to get him one.

    I also second ShihanRob in wanting more information. I’ve had candles blessed before and I don’t think the priest used a particular formula, just said a blessing over them. I guess that is enough, right?

  10. SKAY says:

    Several years ago before Christmas, EWTN offered a set of three decorated boxes with gold (small bottle filled with liquid and little gold glitter pieces inside -before gold was out of sight), frankincense and myrrh. I ordered one and gave several as gifts. The little boxes are always
    on display with our nativity set at Christmas. I went to the EWTN site to see if they still might be available with Christmas items there but I could not find them.
    Thank you for making us aware of the special blessings, Father.

  11. Rachel K says:

    Dear Fr Z, thank you for reminding us of the great help that sacramentals can be for us in the spiritual battle. I was reminded yesterday by a good Catholic friend to remember to use plenty of Holy Water around the house. I am inconsistent in using it, but I know she is right. She suggested carrying some when doing the housework! I suppose it could go in the box with the window cleaner and dusting rags!
    Praying for many graces and blessing for you on the Epiphany.

  12. pannw says:

    You can get a set of gold, frankincense, and myrrh through
    from Gifts Catholic Inc, which is owned by a young family. The single box set is $34.95, and a deluxe set with individual boxes for each is $79.95. Of course, it is too late for the blessing this year, but for next… /free advertisement. :)

  13. Traductora says:

    I think there are actually many (NO-celebrating) priests out there who would like to bring back some of these things. While I don’t think Pope Francis is particularly an enthusiast for the Old Rite, to say the least, he has often expressed his fondness for devotions and practices such as processions, etc. (the only thing that has kept the Church in Latin America alive). So I think it might be possible to get favorable treatment for a movement to restore some of these practices and also the beautiful texts associated with them.

  14. Wiktor says:

    In Poland we still mark our doors with chalk on Epiphany. And I’ve seen these markings survive the whole year, until the next Epiphany.

  15. Joseph-Mary says:

    Here is a link to a simple Epiphany house blessing that I have used:

    I first noticed this blessing when visiting a friary of the Franciscans of the Immaculate and asked about it; I had never seen chalk over doors before. And ever since, I have done this for my home yearly. And over time, I have accumulated blessed chalk and one year an FSSP priest gave out the specially blessed Epiphany holy water so I have those items but they are not imperative.

    Ave Maria!

  16. Nicholas Shaler says:

    Geoffrey, blessed chalk is also distributed at my parish. It is put in sandwich bags with instructions on how to bless the house. This is done by myself and the other teens in youth ministry, at a Novus Ordo parish.

    Happy new year to all!

  17. Kathleen10 says:

    It would be worth any price to see the inhabitants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue be ejected from the building immediately following that prayer!

    I know this is long, but our parish happened to include what I think is a nice Epiphany House Blessing.
    Items needed: chalk and a small bottle of holy water. Gather with family members, friends, neighbors at the front door.

    In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
    Tradition names the Magi:
    Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.

    With chalk, their initials sign the doorway, along with four crosses of the seasons, and the numerals of the new year.
    [20 + C + M + B + 14]

    Let us pray: Christus Mansionem benedicat.
    May Christ bless this house, Amen.
    Leader: A reading from the Letter to the Galatians.
    So then, while there is time, let us do good for all people, especially those who are of the household of faith.
    The Word of the Lord. (each room is sprinkled with holy water)
    (Living Room) Bring us to live with you one day in heaven.
    Bless this room, O Lord. Amen.
    (Kitchen) You prepare for us a rich feast.
    Bless this room, O Lord. Amen.
    (Bedrooms) In you alone we rest securely.
    Bless this room, O Lord. Amen.
    (Bathrooms) You cleanse us from every impurity.
    Bless this room, O Lord. Amen.

    All return to the front door together.
    (Our Father…)
    All are sprinkled with holy water.

    Bless this household through all days to come, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, forever and ever.

  18. majuscule says:

    On my Facebook page I shared a photo from Catholic Memes of a priest holding a crucifix that says, “New Year’s Resolution? Exorcise more.”

    It’s gotten likes and comments from some surprising FB friends, Catholic and not.

    Personally, I think it’s a great idea. I hope they don’t think I’m joking.

  19. Cafea Fruor says:

    I still have a very large piece of chalk from last year because, being a studio apartment dweller, I only have one door and thus used only a teeny bit last year. Can I use the same piece of chalk for this year, or should I get a new piece after Epiphany Mass?

  20. yatzer says:

    Our priest has Epiphany Water on the schedule. I’d like to go, but we are due to be dumped on with snow so probably not going anywhere. Bummer.

  21. Netmilsmom says:

    So where would we get blessed chalk if our parish doesn’t provide it?

  22. SKAY says:

    Thank you for the link pannw–that is the exact set I have. I am so glad to see it is still available
    somewhere else.

  23. Nan says:

    We’ll get an Epiphany blessing kit tomorrow; holy water, chalk and prayer card. It it’s as cold as forecast, they may have some left at the end of the day.

  24. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Cafea Fruor — Blessed chalk is a sacramental; it doesn’t have an expiration date. If you have a chance to get more blessed chalk, that’s good, but last year’s blessed chalk is still good for blessing your house/dwelling.

    And of course, since blessed chalk is a sacramental, it doesn’t just get thrown away; you have to bury it or break it or burn it. But usually it’s not all that hard to use up.

  25. rkingall says:

    I wish I could upload a picture of the little gifts that were made available to us today after Mass. Inside a little gold organza pouch is a vial of holy water, a small piece of chalk and a small cone of incense. Father told us about these at the end of Mass (and of course, I knew what he was talking about since I read this blog!), and explained that it is an old tradition not seen too much now. Indeed, I am 42 and do not recall ever receiving one of these. In any case, there is a lovely card attached to each pouch with instructions and the history. This is just so lovely. It reaffirms what I already know to be true: we have found a wonderful, faithful parish, lead by a young and traditional priest. And we are in New Jersey, people. And not just New Jersey, but an uber-liberal/hipster area of the state. Somehow, this island of sanity and holiness exists and we have found it. The NO masses at this parish incorporate Greek and Latin, we only have sacred, Catholic music, and the church looks like a Catholic church. To be clear, it’s about 150 years old.

    Anyway, happy new year!

  26. Martlet says:

    I too was invigorated by that blessing. I wish, I wish, I wish – that all priests would know the full power of the ministry entrusted to them. I feel that people are being left increasingly vulnerable. “Soppy” blessings may make us feel good, but they seem a bit like giving a nice massage to one’s own soldiers, rather than firing a well-aimed volley at the enemy, which that blessing does.

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