Growing up in the Catholic Faith you probably wondered about the water basins put up at the entrance of the church and why the water contained inside it is considered holy. Holy Water is an important part of the Catholic Religion and there are many uses for it. To better appreciate its significance in various Catholic traditions and practices, let’s first understand its history and the meaning of Holy Water.
What is Holy Water?
In the Catholic Faith, Holy Water is water that has been blessed by a priest or bishop. It is a symbol of the sacrament of baptism. Catholic churches typically keep some holy water in a baptistery font and in a stoup or a smaller font found near the entrance of the church.
It is common practice for Roman Catholics to dip their fingers in the stoup and bless themselves with the holy water as they enter the church. Aside from this, there are many other uses for Holy Water.
How to Use Holy Water
Holy Water should not just be exclusively kept in the church. We can actually take a bottle with us and find different uses for it. Here are 10 ways that you can use Holy Water to sanctify different aspects of our lives:
1. Bless religious items
Many Catholics own statues, prayer booklets and rosaries and use these in their daily life. We can bring these items to the church so that the priest can bless them. This is a meaningful way of honoring the things we use in our spiritual lives and to be able to bring home something that has been blessed by the church.
2. Bless mass-goers
The priest usually blesses the attendees of mass during the beginning and end of mass. This tradition is an important reminder that even when we leave the church at the end of mass, we are still the blessed children of God and must act in His service.
3. Bless a new house
Buying a new house or moving to a new home is an event worth celebrating and many Catholics mark this occasion by hosting a house blessing. This is a good way for the priest to bring positivity and peace into the new living quarters. At the same time, this gives the homeowners the opportunity to give thanks to the Lord for the gift of a new house.
4. Bless the workplace
We can have our workplace blessed for the same reason that we have our homes blessed. We want to give it spiritual protection so that it becomes a place of positivity and peace. Our office is a place where we can bring glory to God through our work so it is understandable that we want it to be blessed as well.
5. Bless pets
Our pets are part of our family and they are part of God’s creation. It is common for some Catholics to have their pets blessed once a year, particularly during the Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, animal-lovers and veterinarians. Some local churches also hosts a baptism ceremony where pet owners can bring their pets to be blessed.
6. Drive away evil
St. Teresa of Avila said it herself, “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.” Holy Water has long been considered a weapon against evil spirits and demons. Priests use it during exorcism rites and to drive away evil from people and from homes.
7. Inspire us to ask forgiveness
As a sacramental, Holy Water is meant to inspire faithfulness in us. Whenever we dip our fingers in the water basins at our churches, we should not just do so out of blind devotion. Let us be mindful of our sins and sincerely repent. The Holy Water is a wonderful reminder of Jesus’s power to cleanse us of our sins and make us pure again.
8. Prepare us to receive the sacraments
Holy Water prepares us to receive the sacraments by calling to mind the day we were baptized. Our baptism is a very important day in our lives as Catholics because it symbolizes our spiritual rebirth. Our old self died as we were immersed in the water and when we were raised out of the water, we were reborn in Christ.
9. Cure for ailing body parts
Holy Water, particularly the Holy Water from Lourdes, is well known to have miraculous healing power. If you have friends or family suffering from any aches and illnesses, bless them with Holy Water or give them a bottle of Holy Water which they could use in the comforts of their own homes.
10. Bless the car
Holy Water can also be used to bless your car. Road safety is very important and what better way to equip ourselves on the road than to seek spiritual protection through the blessing of Holy Water. We can either bless our cars ourselves or request a priest to do it.
How do you plan to use Holy Water? How has Holy Water affected your life as a Catholic devotee?