Power of Holy Water…
The element, the substance of water is powerful, we need it to live, it quenches our thirst, it washes us clean and is used so often in our daily lives. Yet, water also has fearful qualities as seen in raging seas, tidal waves, and terrible floods.
For this reason, the symbolism of water in the sacrament of Baptism is not lost. Yet, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the water used in baptism helps effect something amazing, as you hopefully read last week. When we are baptized, our identity becomes Christ. We become sons of God, sisters and brothers of Christ, and heirs to the Kingdom of God..
The Church provides a sacrament to help remind us of who we are in Christ. Because Holy Water is associated with baptism, the powers of darkness despise it. It is a powerful prayer and a spiritual weapon. For its connection with baptism and its aid in helping us in battle against the devil and his fallen angels, the Church uses Holy Water when we bless virtually anything.
St. Teresa of Avila once observed “I know by frequent experience that there is nothing which puts the devils to flight like Holy water.” This has been confirmed by many saints, yet even deeper than that, Holy Water offers us grace – the grace of recalling our baptism. In the use of Holy Water our venial sins are forgiven. It is a powerful sacramental.
Holy Water is powerful, but not magical. We cannot use it in vein or for weird superstition. Without faith and prayer it is just water. We use it to invoke God’s blessing upon us. It is powerful because it reminds us of who we are, who God is, who he has made us and into what glory he calls us.
We would like everyone at our parish to have some Holy Water. We are giving you a bottle as you leave Mass today on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Please take it and use it in your home. You can: Daily cross yourself with it in the morning and evening, as well as before leaving and returning home; sprinkle it throughout your home invoking God’s protection and grace on your home; bless your spouse and children with it daily by taking some with your finger and tracing the sign of the cross on the forehead; and bless family members who are sick and/or in need of grace. There is a beautiful prayer we provide on each bottle: “By this Holy water and by your Precious Blood, wash away all my sins O Lord”. Make use of this often. After the bottle runs out, it can be refilled at the Church.
A special note about this Holy Water: It has been blessed with an ancient ritual which has its origins in the East where the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is given great honor. In our Roman Rite, there has been a tradition of blessing water on the Eve of Epiphany. This water has been blessed in that ancient rite. The prayers of the saints (about 50 of them by name) were invoked, three exorcisms were prayed over it, as our parish staff prayed for you and your families. This is actually what many call Epiphany Water. Please take it and know of our prayers for you.
-Fr Casey Jones