Like many other young adults, I spent a good portion of my twenties moving cities and homes. I just did the mental math and counted eight apartments in the ten years, which frankly makes me shudder to think about now. Please, God, may my children not move as many times as I did, and if they do, may they date and/or marry someone who has both strength and the sense to insist on buying UHaul fender bender insurance.
I joke, I joke. Kind of? I mean, these are not the most important qualities, but they are not to be undervalued, either.
In all seriousness, I always think of moving during the month of September, because the majority of my moves — along with every other graduate student in the city of Boston, which is to say, tens of thousands of people — took place around this time of the year. September 1 was not the day to be driving through the narrow, one-way alleys in Boston and its surrounding neighborhoods if you could help it.
Whether you are moving this month, have plans to move in the future, or know someone who is about to make this sort of life transition, it’s a meaningful milestone to celebrate. Between sleeping, eating, and relaxing, we spend a significant portion of our time in the places where we reside, and our homes become a primary place for connection with family and friends, personal growth, and the flourishing of our spiritual lives.
One way to honor the milestone is by blessing your new home. There are so many ways to bless a home, and not all of them even need to take place in the moment of a move. Indeed, one particular home blessing is a part of our church liturgical calendar and can take place every year. So whether you are about to make a move or you are looking to lift your home in prayers, the home blessings below may be for you.
Blessing of a New HouseBlessing a new house is way of remembering that God filled it long before we did and of opening ourselves to awareness of God’s presence. It’s also a way of asking for God’s help as we make the place a home. Here are two home blessings that I especially like:
Early Christian House Blessing (christianity.com)
Lord, send down your mercy and your blessing upon us here and upon this house. May your angel of mercy watch over it and keep all who live here safe from anything that is evil. May he guide us into the fulfillment of your holy will, teaching us to observe what Christ has taught us. O Lord, grant us health and length of days, giving us from your generous hand all that we need to live well and wisely. Save all those who are in want or trouble of any kind. May this house be known as a place of joy and mercy, where the kindness of Christ becomes real for all who live here and who visit. Be merciful to us, Lord: For you are a merciful God, who loves mankind, and to you we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Blessing of a New House (catholic.org)
O heavenly Father, Almighty God, we humbly beseech Thee to bless and sanctify this house and all who dwell therein and everything else in it, and do Thou vouchsafe to fill it with all good things; grant to them, O Lord, the abundance of heavenly blessings and from the richness of the earth every substance necessary for life, and finally direct their desires to the fruits of Thy mercy. At our entrance, therefore, deign to bless and sanctify this house as Thou didst deign to bless the house of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; and may the angels of Thy light, dwelling within the walk of this house, protect it and those who dwell therein. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
A particularly nice time to pray this blessing might be in the moments of calm before the moving truck arrives. Gather your family together in what feels like a special place (maybe the kitchen, where you foresee gathering together most frequently, or by the front or back door through which you will regularly enter), light a candle, and pray together. Afterwards, you might walk through your empty (and hopefully clean) new home with your family, and simply ask that God bless each room.
Epiphany BlessingFor generations, Catholics throughout the world have blessed their homes on Epiphany, the day on which we remember the arrival of the magi to the place where Jesus was born. The traditional date of Epiphany is January 6, but in the U.S. it is celebrated on the Sunday between January 2 and January 8; either way, Epiphany takes place during the liturgical Christmas season, a time when we remember Christ coming into this world. Through blessing our homes, we invite Christ’s presence into our homes in the upcoming year.
The United States Council of Catholic Bishops provides a beautiful prayer service for Epiphany, one that you can either lead your family through in its entirety, or select a portion from if you have young children with short attention spans. My favorite part of the service is the blessing that occurs after the Lord’s prayer:
Lord God of heaven and earth,
you revealed your only-begotten Son to every nation
by the guidance of a star.
Bless this house
and all who inhabit it.
Fill them (us) with the light of Christ,
that their (our) concern for others may reflect your love…
May Christ Jesus dwell with us,
keep us from all harm,
and make us one in mind and heart,
now and forever.
Home Blessing for Anytime
You have may no plans to move for the rest of your family’s life, and it may be as far from Epiphany as you can get, but that doesn’t mean that you have to wait to bless your home. One idea that I like is to choose a particular place in a home to bless for a particular reason. For instance, say that you are transitioning one of your littles from a crib to a toddler bed, or from a toddler bed to a big kid bed. This would be a great time to bless their bedroom. Or you may look at your calendar and see that you have several weekends of visitors coming up in the next few months; this could be a good time to bless the dining room where you will be sharing meals.
At times like these, a simple, extemporaneous blessing could work beautifully — Dear God, please bless this room and the people who will fill it; help it be a place of refuge and love — or you could adapt one of the more formal blessings above to fit your situation. Another idea would be to choose a physical object of religious significance to bless and place in the room of choosing. For instance, you might select a meaningful saint statue or art print to place in the room of your growing child, and then to ask for the saint’s intercession in their life. Or you could place this Cross Home Blessing Door Hanger over the knob of the door leading into your dining room as you prepare it through prayer for your season of visitors.