There is a long tradition of house blessing in Christianity. Many Catholics have their home blessed on Epiphany to commemorate the visitation of the Magi to the child Jesus. Other Christians have also embraced this practice, as have people from other traditions and spiritually independents.
We like it because it reminds us that our homes are sacred. Those who go on pilgrimages often speak of their destinations as evoking deep emotional responses and feelings of awe. But we can experience the same things in our homes. In Sharing Silence, Gunilla Norris writes:
"I want to remind myself and others that our homes can become sacred spaces, filled with life and meaning. We do not need cathedrals to remind ourselves to experience the sacred."
Years ago, we made an intention to see our home as a place where we could nourish and nurture our body, mind, and soul. Anthony Lawlor challenges us to go even further in The Temple in the House:
"An entire house can be transformed into a temple of reverence for the myriad of feelings, memories, and interactions that constitute our lives."
Often as we move through our home, we are struck by a memory of a special moment in the kitchen, the living room, the bedroom, or our offices. We are swept away by positive feelings for all this sacred space has given us. We gaze upon our memorabilia, our books and music, and all the things that help us live the life we want. And we want to express our gratitude.
So this Epiphany, we will be doing a House Blessing in our home. We invite you to do the same. Here are some blessing prayers and practices for you to use.
• For those who prefer a homemade ritual using elements from the different religions, check out http://www.wikihow.com/Bless-a-House
• Here's a prayer by William John Fitzgerald, which is brief and richly textured:
"God Bless This House"
• Here's a beautiful video of a two-minute house blessing.