Spiritual Water        

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 your forehead.
      Holy water is something I never want to be without.

      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.  His sufferings 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 remembered.

       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.
                                                                                          ―John Riedell

          The 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 spiritual worlds.        

                                                                           John Riedell

Return to Home Page    


Copyright 2006 - John Riedell - All Rights Reserved
Site Last Updated on 05/18/12