My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I want to talk to you about House Blessings. Every year in January, the Orthodox invite the priest into their homes and businesses to bless with the waters of Theophany. Why? Why do we need the priest to bless our house every year?
For the same reason many of the petitions in the Divine Liturgy state, “Again, and again.” Our participation in our faith is not a one time only event. We needs must ask for mercy and bless again…. And again… and again…. And again… Why? Because we sin. Repeatedly we promise ourselves anew to God and repeatedly we fail Him through our weakness, selfishness, and the deceit of the devil.
But Father, my house is clean… I keep it so. Really? Are there no arguments in your home? No judgment of others? No selfish actions (being lazy when your wife asked you to clean the gutters, for example)? If we are honest, we will all see that we do not keep our homes Holy. And even the saints would request their homes to be blessed.
Therefore, just as we must go to confession every year (sometimes more often depending on your spiritual father), we must also bless our homes, which have become, through our spiritual neglect, home to many negative elements.
43“Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. 44“Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. 45“Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”
When we bless our homes we cast out
these evil spirits. Who are these seven other spirits, more wicked than the first? Gluttony (lack of self control), Greed, Sloth (Laziness), Envy (not being satisfied with what we have), Lust (giving into carnal desires of the body), Wrath (excessive and unjustified anger, and against our brothers and sisters in Christ there will never be justification), and finally Pride (the belief that we are better than someone else).
In order to prevent them from entering our homes, we must fill our homes with the Holy Spirit. This is done through prayers, fasting, reading of Scripture, giving alms, working hard, forgiving, and seeking Godly humility.
Your house is an allegory to your soul. Ephesians 2:19-20
19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,…
Now, we come to the season, and we have a problem. People expect the priest to call and make an appointment. This is quite silly, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Your plumber does not call you to see if your pipes need to be unclogged. Your dentist does not personally call you to set up an appointment. It is a silly notion. No, we call them when we have need. They might send a flyer, reminding you to call and schedule an appointment, but unless they have a large staff to take that kind of time, the office relies on us to make our own appointments.
Historically, the priest would just come by and bless the home or business, but times have changed. In those days, someone would always be home. Nowadays, with both partners working, and their lives committed to many, many extra activities, there is no guarantees at any hour of the day that someone will be home at a random hour that the priest would knock.
Nevertheless, we must all see the need to have our homes and businesses sanctified every year, to ask God to richly bless and protect us. Let us never say to ourselves, “Eh, I had it blessed last year. I don’t need it this year.” We need it every year, all of us!
And when the priest comes, do not hide rooms or basements or attics. The priest is not coming to see your house or judge you, (God help the priest that should ever do so!) he is coming to bless your home, every inch of it. He is there to cast out the spirits of wickedness from every knook and cranny that they hide. Do not offer them a safe-haven because you don’t want the priest to see a certain room, or fear for him because of rickety steps. Christ will protect the priest because he is on mission from His Holy Church to sanctify your home, and the priest will never, ever judge you.
So, during the month of December, call, email, or approach me to find a time for your home. It is not a bother, it is something that is necessary for all of us. Please schedule soon!
I remain your servant in Christ,
Fr. Dimitri Tobias, Proistamenos