Dated Oct. 31, 2000
My grandmother (we knew her as Grossmutter) lived in Mankato,
Minnesota, and is remembered sprinkling holy water on the car when we were
leaving after a visit. That was long ago but I may have been
influenced by that, as today I will put holy water on a car before a trip,
for protection on the way, and on those who travel in it.
My little granddaughter, three-year-old Erin, loves to use holy
water. She'll stick her little finger in holy water and trace a mark on
Holy water is something I never want to be
It is one of the a treasures of the Church.
Holy water is a sacramental, and among the
benefits one may obtain from such, are actual graces, forgiveness of venial
sins, health of body and protection from evil spirits. With regard to the
latter, 1Peter 5:8-9 says: "Be sober and watch: because your adversary the
devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour. Whom
resist ye, strong in faith: knowing that the same affliction befalls your
brethren who are in the world." It makes sense to have everything going for
you that you can.
Holy water is a reminder of Baptism, and I see an appropriateness to
that. Both Baptism and blessing oneself, use water and a font; both
cleanse away sin; and both involve water touching the head. While in
Baptism it flows over the head, in the blessing oneself, it's touched to the
head with one's fingers.
This cruciform gesture of touching our
forehead, breast and shoulders, is a sign of belief in Our Lord Crucified.
and death upon the Cross brought about our Redemption, and it is the
sacrament of Baptism that bestows the great benefit of Christ's suffering
upon us: a grace called Sanctifying Grace which enables us to go to heaven.
The possession of it is something to be appreciated. It is something to be
Radio Replies by Fathers Rumble and Carty says that one of the
reasons holy water is at the church door, is "to signify that we are not
worthy to enter into the Presence of Christ without purification."
Christ is there in the tabernacle and will become present during the Mass.
Compare this to what happened to Moses in Exodus 3:5. When he approached
the burning bush, God said to him, "Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from
your feet, for the place where you stand is holy
But holy water is not just for the
font at the back of the church, it is for the home too. It is for the
whole family to use. One may pour some in a little font by the front door,
or even use it directly from a bottle. It can be used, for example, in time
of temptation, when you go to bed and on rising in the morning.
For anyone who wants a Biblical
reference for holy water, I refer them to Numbers 5:17, which mentions it
specifically ("And he
shall take holy water in an earthen vessel, and he shall cast a little earth
of the pavement of the tabernacle into it") and Numbers 8:7 which refers to
it ("...Let them be sprinkled with the water of purification").
With reference to the aforementioned
benefit of "health of body," I refer them to John 5:2-4, regarding the pond
called Probatica (in Hebrew Bethsaida) in Jerusalem, having five porches.
Here the sick, the blind, the lame and the withered waited for an angel to
descend into the pond and move the water. The first one in the water
following the motion was cured. If God can send the holiness of an angel
into the water to cure the sick, surely He can make someone better in body
with water made holy by a blessing.
Let holy water flow into your
consciousness, your thoughts, your devout use, and let it flow on from your
generation to the next.
above was written twelve years ago and my granddaughter still remembers doing
what's described above, and loved doing it. Water is
not only used for holy water, but also for the Sacrament of Baptism.
In my belief Baptism bestows Sanctifying Grace on a person, and as one
of its main effects, it sanctifies or makes one holy. It also
washes away the stain of original sin. Erin received the specialness of
her Baptism in her
Grandmother's native country of Belize (the former British Honduras), prior
to a Mass in the held home of her Great Aunt, Teresita Gonzalez. Father Callistus Cayetano, a friend of the
family, came to celebrate the Mass and confer the Sacrament.
Her father is holding her as Father Cayetano baptizes her. Behind
her are her great aunt Teresita and a cousin of her generation, Christian, who's apparently
holding a basin to catch the falling water. On the table is a candle,
the covered chalice for the Mass, and bottles perhaps with wine and holy oil.
Erin's father is Aaron Matthew Riedell, who has double letters in each of
his names, which happen to spell the Aztec word for water,
atl. He wasn't so named, with water spelled twice in
mind, but it would later be realized. The spelling also happens to fit
the two-fold significance of water: its use in both the physical and