BYOB: Bring Your Own Bottle.* Respecting the “stay at home” order, if you are traveling away from home this week, for whatever reason, and would like to come by the church, please come to the church office and bring a bottle … to fill it up with holy water! If you do not have a bottle to bring, we will have some extras available. Here’s why: (a) it’s always good to have holy water at home and (b) when we celebrate the Mass on Saturday/Sunday we will use the traditional “Easter rite of sprinkling.” When Father encourages us to renew our baptismal commitment at the beginning of the Mass and he would customarily
drench us bless us, water will be ready for use, right there in the house!
“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. For my own part, whenever I use it, my soul feels a particular and most notable consolation.”
—St. Teresa of Avila
When we read this quote from St. Teresa of Avila, we are reminded of the importance of holy water. We Catholics so frequently dip our fingers in holy water and make the Sign of the Cross, especially when entering a church. We do so in order to recall our baptism and our baptismal promises. As we know, the baptismal promises included renouncing Satan and disdaining sin. We sometimes forget this, however, and take holy water for granted. If we use it regularly, that’s an easy thing to do.
It’s good to remember, though, that holy water, through a priest, is blessed by God in virtue of Christ’s baptism. The Church possesses enormous power in being able to impart sacramental grace—and holy water as a “sacramental” receives its power through the prayer and authority of the Church.
As St. Teresa’s testimony reminds us, the rite of blessing said over water by a priest to make it holy contains prayers of exorcism. It can banish demons, heal the sick, and send unwarranted grace upon us—but how often do we cross ourselves with this water without even thinking about how holy it really is?
The fact of the matter is that holy water is a powerful “sacramental” and we ought to use it often. Holy water can be used to bless people, places, and things that are used by humans in their goal of glorifying God with their lives.
From the Rite of Blessing
O Lord our God,
you made water the instrument of your mercy:
for through water you freed your people from slavery
and quenched their thirst in the desert;
through water the Prophets proclaimed the new covenant
you were to enter upon with the human race;
and last of all,
through water, which Christ made holy in the Jordan,
you have renewed our corrupted nature
in the bath of regeneration.
Therefore, may this water be for us
a memorial of the Baptism we have received,
and grant that we may share
in the gladness of our brothers and sisters throughout the world. Amen.
* Bottles (or bring your own to fill) are available at the front door of the parish office between 10am-5pm Thursday and Friday, 10am-7pm Saturday, and 11am-2pm Sunday.