In fact, we can’t
live without it.
Holy water is a sacramental of the Catholic Church that too many of the faithful seem to have forgotten about. It is the most elementary sacramental available to Catholics everywhere — and one of the most powerful.
Our lives as Catholics are infused with blessed water from the moment we receive the seal of the Holy Ghost at Baptism until our remains are blessed at the close of the Rite of Christian Burial before final interment.
The use of holy water in the home is a Catholic tradition that too few embrace. What a loss! Think about it. You give your children vitamins to help them to grow and be healthy. You make sure your husband takes his cholesterol medication. Why not place a
holy water font at your front door to help protect their spiritual lives?
Holy water has the power to remit venial sin.
Saint John Vianney, in his Catechism on Confession, suggests that the moment a venial sin is perceived, “take some holy water with respect, do one of those good works to which the remission of venial sins is attached: an alms,
a genuflection to the Blessed Sacrament, hearing a Mass.”
The Church urges the frequent use of holy water in times of danger such as storms, fires, sickness, and when there is any type of conflict in the home or community.
St. Teresa of Avila attested to
the power of this holy water, and in her autobiography writes:
“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.“
On the night of All Souls, the Saint was tormented by demons who interrupted her prayerful devotions. They were finally dispelled by a sprinkling of holy water.
As you bless yourself with the precious mixture of salt and water, you may wish to prayerfully keep
in mind, as did Saint John Chrysostom, the “effusion of Blood and Water flowing from the Master’s Side” opening a path to His Sacred Heart at the finality
of His Passion, emptying Himself completely for our salvation.
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Holy Water in the Catholic Home
Many Catholic homes place a holy water font at the front door. We bless ourselves each time we leave, asking that the Triune God guide our thoughts, words and deeds as we go out into the world. We ask for His protection and guidance in all that we do. When we return, we bless ourselves again, calling to mind the sanctity of the home. In time it becomes a deeply ingrained habit, and if one of your family rushes out without the blessing, another will inevitably call out, “Don’t forget to bless yourself!”
Let us remember the Holy Souls in Purgatory each time we bless ourselves. One drop in their honor may be all that is needed to release a soul into Heaven.
The faithful may gain an indulgence of 100 days each time the Sign of the Cross is made with holy water pronouncing the words and having contrition for sins.
Sadly, those who pass through the Church doors, hastily dipping their fingers into the water to perform a gesture more reminiscent of swatting flies than of performing a solemn blessing, rob themselves of a great grace. Choose instead to bless yourself with great care, perhaps adding the prayer,
“By this holy water and
by Your Precious Blood,
wash away all my sins,
for holy water
in your daily lives as Catholics
Bless the rooms of your home, particularly bedrooms so that Satan might not enter. It is a beautiful Catholic tradition for parents to bless their children each night with a simple prayer, “Sleep in the peace of Jesus” – or in the Latino tradition “Que Te Bendigo” – that He May Bless you. Families with small children prone to night terrors sometimes place an inexpensive holy water font in their bedrooms for that purpose
Don’t bless your home once and forget about it, but make frequent use of holy water. Those who have suffered terribly with domestic unrest use holy water and the sign of the Cross in the corners of each room to good effect.
Bless your computers with holy water and place a blessed St. Benedict medal on the monitor to call to mind the dangers of the internet. If you use a computer for work, holy water can help to sanctify the tool you use to earn a living.
Bless your family and business vehicles, and consider joining the Sacred Heart Auto League.
Bless your children’s bicycles, their schoolbooks, and other objects as well, with a prayer that they might never stray from the Faith or be lead into temptation. Sprinkle some in their shoes.
Use only a new, clean receptacle for holy water, and take care not put it to any other use afterwards. Dispose of old holy water by pouring it into the ground in an area where it will not be underfoot.