Tota Pulchra Es
For the Solemnity of the Immaculate of Mary, on December 8th, the faithful prepare themselves for this day by novenas (an act of devotion where a prayer is said for nine days) and nocturnal vigils. Special prayers and hymns are offered to the Virgin Mary. One of the most popular liturgical prayers said is Tota Pulchra Es a Catholic prayer written in the fourth century. Inspired by words of praise from the book of Judith and Song of Solomon, the prayer glorifies the Virgin Mary’s holiness and beauty:
God has created me to do some definite service. God has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission—I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. I have not been created for naught. I shall do good. I shall do God’s work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep the commandments.
Therefore I will trust in God. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve God; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve God; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve God. God does nothing in vain, but knows what all is about.
~ John Henry Newman
Epiphany Blessing of Chalk
It is traditional for parishes to bless chalk for each family so that they may mark the names of the three Magi over their doors, in the blessing of homes as a witness of their faith and protection against evil. This blessing is from the 1952 version of the Roman Ritual, translated by Philip Weller. The feast of manifestation, or Epiphany, is traditionally celebrated the 12th day after Christmas, January 6th. In the dioceses of the United States this feast has been moved to the Sunday between January 2 and January 8.
P: Our help is in the name of The Lord. All: Who made heaven and earth. P: The Lord be with you. All: And with your spirit.
Bless, + O Lord God, this creature chalk to render it helpful to men. Grant that they who use it in faith and with it inscribe upon the entrance of their homes the names of thy saints, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, may through their merits and intercession enjoy health of body and protection of soul. Through Christ our Lord.
It is sprinkled with holy water.
Prayer Source: Roman Ritual: Volume III, The Blessings by Philip T. Weller, The Bruce Publishing Company, 1952