May 20, 2022
Author: Hannah DeVivo
What is Holy Water?
As Catholics, the use of Holy Water is pretty common and because of this we sometimes forget how powerful it is. Holy Water is plain water made holy when it is blessed by a priest. The rite of blessing that a priest says over the water to make it holy contains prayers of exorcism. It can banish demons, heal the sick, and open the door for God to bestow grace upon us.
The Church identifies Holy Water, along with rosaries, scapulars, medals, and other similar objects of devotion as “sacramentals.” Sacramentals prepare us to receive the grace of the sacraments. The seven sacraments instituted by Christ impart grace. “Unlike a sacrament, a sacramental does not itself confer the grace of the Holy Spirit,” writes Father William P. Saunders, the President of the Notre Dame Institute. “Nevertheless, like a sacrament, a sacramental helps the faithful to sanctify each moment of life and to live in the paschal mystery of our Lord.”
When we enter a church, we often dip our fingers into a Holy Water font and make the Sign of the Cross. We do this in remembrance of our Baptism, and that we belong to the Body of Christ. Making the Sign of the Cross reminds us that we are to love God with all our mind, heart, and strength. This action, when done in faith and love, has the ability to sanctify us.
History of Holy Water
Water is associated with purity and cleanliness in many cultures. The connection between physical and spiritual washing naturally occurred. In the Old Testament, God instructs His people to use water during a blessing. “And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the Tabernacle the priest shall take and put it into the water.” -Numbers 5:17
The use of water to purify and cleanse also appears in the Psalms:
“Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me.” -Psalm 51:1
When to use it?
Including Holy Water in your daily life is an effective and beautiful way to remember the power and significance of this sacramental. A Holy Water font right next to your front door or in any room of your house is a convenient and lovely reminder! We have many beautiful fonts on our website. I keep a small bottle of Holy Water in my purse. Many people keep one at their place of work, in their vehicles, and so on. Here are some easy and wonderful ways to incorporate Holy Water into your daily routine:
- Bless yourself and your family each morning and night.
- Bless your vehicle before each trip.
- Bless your workspace.
- Bless your pets.
- Bless yourself if you begin to feel anxiety, stress, depression, or other similar negative emotions or temptations.
- Bless each person who enters or exits your home (or invite them to bless themselves).
- Bless your devotional jewelry and books.
Where to get it?
Once the priest has blessed the Holy Water, it is typically placed in a receptacle for all to access. In addition to having small fonts for the Holy Water at their entrances, many churches have large baptismal fonts where the parishioners can bless themselves and fill their personal bottles to use for their homes. Some churches also have fountains of Holy Water so that it is easier to fill a bottle. Holy Water is typically easy to obtain, but if for some reason you are having trouble, you may always obtain a bottle or jug of regular water and ask a local priest to bless it for you.
A Personal Story
I would like to share with you a personal experience about the power of Holy Water.
Shortly after my family and I moved into our new home, our 5-year-old daughter began to experience a tremendous fear of being locked and trapped in a room or outside. This fear seemed to take hold of her so intensely that we became worried. Our once carefree and lighthearted little girl was terrified and would often burst into tears. She also began to experience frequent nightmares. My husband and I prayed over her, but I sensed that we needed something more.
We looked for a priest to bless our home. He came over a few days later, along with my parents. He blessed the house thoroughly with Holy Water. Our daughter guided him to every room, closet, cupboard, and possible space. He blessed it all including the yards, pool, garage, and even our cars. He then blessed various objects in our home such as candles, rosaries, and holy images. As he did this, he explained to all of us that the Holy Water as a sacramental receives its power through the prayer and authority of the Church.
From that day on, our daughter never had those fears again. It was as if they were completely erased from her mind. It was incredible for me to witness firsthand the power and protection that comes from Holy Water and the blessings of a priest. Of course, the power is really from God, who in His great love and mercy freely bestows it to His Church.
“From long experience I have learned that there is nothing like holy water to put devils to flight and prevent them from coming back again. They also flee from the Cross, but return; so holy water must have great virtue.”-Saint Teresa of Avila
Before You Go
Do you keep Holy Water in your Home? If so, when do you use it?
Do you have blessed objects that you use regularly?
Have you learned anything new in this article?
I would LOVE to hear from you. Send me an email to Catholic-Living@Autom.com
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