Theology in the Trenches: Christus Mansionem Benedicat

Religion Columnist

My wish for you and those who enter your homes this 2018 is that all be blessed beyond measure. May the comings and goings be sacred as sacred can be. I pray that faith be written within through Jesus Christ both now and forever. “May Christ bless this house” breathes life into the Latin term above.

Desires within our hearts drive the human spirit to do things we would not normally do. Being driven to our knees is just one of many such actions. Doing is a response to His calling although the doing does not save. Only He saves. He alone is holy; our actions do not make us holy. Our actions bubble up and out of a heart that is overflowing for Him. Our actions are because of His holiness.

A helpless estate is what I am in, and “by His grace alone am I saved, not by works lest any man may boast” (Eph. 2:9). Traditionally speaking, however, there are times when redundancy in action helps recall something deeper, bringing to life thoughts, words, and deeds of what our hearts long for, namely, Him. Sometimes traditions help those things meld into the fabric of our being.

Grandma always hid an almond in the rice pudding, and whoever was lucky enough to receive it, was, according to grandma, lucky. The year to come was predicted to be a good one. This tradition helped the memories of grandma, the family, and the time of year in which we devoured the rice pudding more tangible. I cannot pass by this delicacy in our deli without thinking of her and the desire that her family be centered around a little tradition for memory’s sake.

So, too, when some attend candle light services, we are drawn to the sacred memories of not only the season of the year but family members in Christ who gather alongside. There isn’t a soul in church who believes that the lighted candles are the saving grace. Likewise, the little children dressed up in angel costumes do not really believe they are angels. Nobody believes by reenacting the story of Jesus’ birth, brings salvation, yet, we know that this reenactment is worthy of being passed down because it helps us turn our hearts towards what is truly important to remember … His birth.

2017 was a tough year. When I mentioned it to a friend, she put it into perspective. “Tough year? It was the year from hell!”

Not all would see it that way, but I do. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that growth was indeed a part of it, a holy part of the process. However, when I came across an idea to bless our household in a fashion I had not heard of before, I was on it in a heartbeat.

The idea of praying over the doorway for those who will be entering and leaving felt like a weapon of warfare … and so, I picked it up.

In the kitchen, I began the prayer. 

“‘Our help is in the name of the Lord, maker of heaven and earth. The Lord shall watch over your going out and your coming in, from this time forth for evermore (Psalm 124:8).’ Protect all souls who dwell in or visit our home; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Do I believe it was my act that will guard the hearts of my home? No, I do not. But, do believe in prayer? Yes, I believe in prayer.

The prayer continues. “Visit, O blessed Lord, this home with the gladness of Your presence. Bless all who live or visit here with the gift of Your love; and grant that we may manifest Your love to each other and to all whose lives we touch. May we grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of You; guide, comfort, and strengthen us in peace, O Jesus Christ, both now and forever” (Br. Daryl Moresco).

In the Bible it says, “Let your requests be known to God (Phil. 4:6).” And so, I did … and I do both now and forever … Amen.

(Kathleen Kjolhaug is a religion columnist.)