The Use of Holy Water

The Use of Holy Water

The Use of Holy Water

Most Catholics cross themselves with holy water each time they enter a Catholic church. The practice of blessing ourselves with holy water is so common we might not give it a second thought. But it is an important gift the Church gives us that we would be remiss not to take advantage of. Holy water is a sacramental blessed by a priest to invoke God‘s blessing on those who use it.

The significance of water can be seen throughout sacred scripture, especially in the New Testament. Jesus tells the woman at the well that He offers water that will give eternal life. He tells Nicodemus that no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and spirit. When Jesus’ side is pierced on the cross, blood and water flow forth. These are just a few examples of the life-giving and purifying aspects of water.

Our first encounter with holy water is at our baptism when we are symbolically buried with Christ and then raised up, cleansed from original sin. Each time we dip our fingers into a font of holy water, we should recall and reaffirm our baptismal promises. Holy water is a sacramental or "sacred sign" that can help orient ourselves to God and open our hearts to grace.

Prayers of exorcism are also included in the prayers used to bless holy water. This is why holy water is an especially helpful weapon in our battle against Satan and his empty promises. We should be aware, though, that holy water is not a magical potion that automatically protects us from evil. As with all sacramentals, holy water is meant to remind us of our calling, to orient our hearts and minds to God, and to increase our trust in God’s grace which he provides through his Church.

The use of holy water and making a sign of the cross when entering a church reflects a renewal of our baptismal promises, a cleansing of venial sin and is part of our spiritual armour against Satan and evil.

"By this holy water and by your precious blood, wash away all my sins O Lord".

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