THE USE OF HOLY WATER
Most Catholics are accustomed with the ritual of signing their fore heads with the Holy water before and after leaving the Church and also sprinkling their houses, offices and themselves with Holy water but many still do not have adequate knowledge about the Holy water.
Origin of Holy Water
Water is an ancient symbol of life and purity, used in many Scriptural rituals and analogies.
The tradition of blessing and using of Holy water is older than Christianity. The book of 2 kings 5:1 – 14 gives us the story of Naaman the Army Commander of the king of Aram who was cured of His leprosy.
The book of Ex 40:12, Isaiah 12:3 shows us that water is an ancient symbol of life and purity.
Holy Water as a Sacramental.
Sacramentals according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1667) are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments.
They signify effects, particularly of a spiritual nature, which are obtained through the intercession of the Church.
By them men are disposed to receive the chief effect of the sacraments, and various occasions in life are rendered holy.
The catechism of the Catholic church also teaches us in paragraph 1670 that Sacramentals do not confer the grace of the Holy Spirit in the way that the sacraments do, but by the Church’s prayer, they prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it.
Holy water is a sacramental that recalls the sacrament of Baptism and its cleansing effects. Catholics bless themselves with Holy water while they make the sign of the cross.
Holy water is also sprinkled to objects when they are blessed.
Importance of Fonts filled with Holy water in the Church
The church has fonts filled with Holy water at the doors for three (3) major reasons
As a sign of Repentance
The church calls us to repentance anytime we sign our selves with the Holy water.
This repentance of sin symbolized in the washing with water as recorded in Psalm 51 where the psalmist said “wash me O lord and I will be whiter than snow.
Holy water reminds us of our sins and draws us to repentance.
As a sign of protection from evil.
In the prayer of the blessing in the Sacramentary, we read “Lord, God Almighty, creator of all life, of body and soul, we ask you to bless this water as we use it in faith, forgive our sins and save us from all illness and power of evil.
Lord in your mercy give us living water, always springing up as fountain of salvation; free us, body and soul, from every danger, and admit us to your presence in purity of heart.
Holy water in the churches believe can chase away evil spirits and save a person from the kingdom of darkness.
As a sign of Reminder of our Baptism
Holy water reminds us of our Baptism, when we invoke the Holy Trinity while making the sign of the Cross.
In making the sign of the cross with the Holy Water, we are mindful that we are called to renew those baptismal promises of rejecting Satan, all his works and all his empty promises.
St. Teresa of Avila in her autobiography, The Book of Her Life, wrote of the power of Holy Water: “I was once in an oratory, and [the devil] appeared to me in an abominable form at my left side.
Because he spoke to me, I looked particularly at his mouth– which was most frightening. It seemed that a great flame, all bright without shadow, came forth from his body. He told me in a terrifying way that I had really freed myself from his hands but that he would catch me with them again.
I was struck with great fear and blessed myself as best I could; he disappeared, but returned right away. This happened to me twice. I didn’t know what to do.
There was some Holy Water there, and I threw it in that direction; he never returned again. …I often experience that there is nothing the devils flee from more– without returning– than holy water” (Chapter 31).
From the testimony of this great saints, we see the importance not only of pausing to bless ourselves with Holy Water as we enter and leave Church but also of having Holy Water available in our homes.
May God you dearest as you make the use of Holy water part of your life in this year 2022.