“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. They also flee from the Cross, but return; so holy water must have great virtue. For my own part, whenever I take it, my soul feels a particular and most notable consolation.” – St. Teresa of Avila
As a good Catholic, I have a small supply of holy water around my home for use of blessing my family, home and vehicles. But once in a while, I take a plastic bottle – preferably sixteen ounces or more, fill it up with holy water at church and bring it home to thoroughly bless and pray over every door, window and corner, inside and out as well as the property line of my house. A couple of years ago, it paid off very dramatically. A terrible thunder storm hit our neighborhood. Everyone who lived around us was busily having things fixed at their house. They concurred the worse of the lightning strikes hit the yard of the house directly in front of our house. They lost their irrigation system and several other electronic devices. The house to the left and right of us lost garage door openers and copy machines. Almost everyone on the block lost their cable. Up and down the street were stories of loss, TVs, garage door openers, computers, for one thing or another. But at our house, nothing was lost, not even the cable was down. The wings of the angels protected our home that day through the blessing of Holy Water.
I do not believe in co-incidences. Everything happens for a reason. And as a Catholic, I love the wonderful blessing of holy water. Water is blessed in the name of Jesus Christ and becomes holy by the virtue of Christ’s Baptism. Sprinkling the holy water, it is as if you are spreading the blood of Christ all around you and your home and family. The history of holy water, it is true, can only be reliably traced to the fifth and sixth centuries where a blessing of water and oil at Mass is found in a Syriac composition called the “testamentum Domini”. Less reliable sources give history to the second century so that it is reasonable to assume the use of water for purification and expiation purposes required under Jewish Laws would have in some form been incorporated into the early Christian churches. And though there are blessing for water, oil and salt, I prefer the blessed water over the other two even though they contain the same amount of healing and protecting powers as the water. Holy water does not leave a mess to clean up after.
There are numerous examples of the symbolic use of water in purification leading to healing of body and soul in the bible.
The healing of Naaman from leprosy by washing in the river Jordan. “So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.” (2 Kings 5:14).
The healing waters of the Pool at Bethesda. “For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the water stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. (John 5:4)
The baptism of John for the forgiveness of sins. “I baptize with water, but there stands one among you whom you do not know. It is He will, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worth to loose.” (John 1:30)
Jesus disciples baptizing more than John. “Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but his disciples. (John 4:2)
Jesus as the source of the living water. “If you knew the gift of God, and who it was who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:10)
As they pierced his side, “Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’s side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out.” (John 19:34)
It is well known by those who do exorcisms that demonic forces hate anything blessed including the blessed water and oil. Father Walter Halloran, as a seminarian, assisted the priests, Father Raymond Bishop and Father William Bowdern, who presided over the famous exorcism that occurred in St. Louis in the late 1940’s. He stated that at one point a bottle of holy water they had set on a dresser was thrown across the room during one of the sessions.
The healing waters of Lourdes, still flow and there are still healing miracle happening there. See www.miraclehunter.com/marian_apparitions/approved_apparitions/lourdes .
When Catholics bless themselves with holy water, they are renewing their baptismal promises. As we make the sign of the cross, saying, “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen”. By this, we declare our rejection of Satan and all his empty works and promises. We declare our belief in God the Father and creator, His only Son Jesus, our Lord and Savior and the Holy Spirit. We believe in one Holy Catholic church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.
It is said that you can never have too much grace or blessings in your life. So spread the holy water and renew your baptismal promises with this final piece of the baptismal promise:
God, the all-powerful Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and forgiven all our sins. May he also keep us faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ for ever and ever.