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October 06, 2006

Comments

chris-2-4

What if the water is not blessed. Is it still considered a sacramental?

Our church fills the baptismal font each weekend before the masses and then drains it afterwards. I assume that since it is drained regularly (presumably into the sewer system) it is not blessed.

It is used for baptism, but it's not required that Blessed water be used for baptism is it?

J.R. Stoodley

If the water has not been blessed it is not holy water. If it has I don't think it should be going to the sewer. I don't know canon law as regards whether holy water must be used for a licit baptism, but I don't see how it could possibly invalidate the baptism.

I have some questions of my own.

1) Is water blessed by non-Catholic (for example Eastern Orthodox) priests still holy water?

2) Does it work when a whole stream is blessed? I saw and drank from (as is the custom) such a stream in far-northern Russia. Obviously the water is different than when the priest blessed it, but the intention of the priest was clearly to bless the entire steam for ever.

3) Separately, should we bless ourselves (if that's the right term) with holy water when leaving mass not just when entering? I heard no but everyone does it, even very faithful Catholics.

Terah

"...But, at the end of the day, we may, with Tolkien’s approval, speak of the saga as a Catholic masterpiece. A postscript to this might be the observation that no Protestant could conceivably have written this saga, since it is profoundly “sacramental.” That is, redemption is achieved wholly via physical means–cf The Incarnation, Golgotha, the Resurrection, and the Ascension–and the tale is sprinkled with “sacramentals,” such as lembas, athelas, Galadriel’s phial of light, mithril, etc."

http://www.traces-cl.com/feb02/inmiddle.html

DJ

More importantly, if we are mostly water, then why don't people in vampire movies get their bodies blessed by a priest before going off to fight vampires?

:)
I've pondered that many times.

Al Stakhanov

Blessing oneself with holy water on entering a church, I understand, e.g. ritual cleansing as well as remembrance of baptism.

But on leaving a church-- especially after receiving the Body and Blood of Christ -- I don't do.

Opinion, please.

marco

Blessing one's self with holy water on leaving the church:
For me it is a personal "yes" for going back into the world where a person has to put his/her baptisaml vows in practice. Out in the world is where the hardest work of being a Christian takes place. This "exit" blessing is for encouragement to do what's right.
Whether or not one has been to church for private or communual prayer, for a sacrament, or to participate in the Mass - when one leaves God's presence we always (at least hopefully always) "Go in peace to love and serve the Lord." (This is the Dismissal at the end of Mass.)

Old Zhou

Consider this example:
- April, you get some Holy Water from the Holy Water cooler at your parish, and place it in a nice container in your home for blessing yourself.
- September, you realize you have not opened the Holy Water container in your home, and find it full of icky, smelly mold. Yikes!

So, what's the deal with folks taking Holy Water home, and is the mold holy?

Esau

"- September, you realize you have not opened the Holy Water container in your home, and find it full of icky, smelly mold. Yikes!

So, what's the deal with folks taking Holy Water home, and is the mold holy?"

Old Zhou,
I think you're getting to 'mental' on the Sacramentals! ;-)

Esau

-- that is, 'too' mental on the Sacramentals!

dean

We use holy water at home. It helps as a reminder of baptism and a recommitment to God.
It can be a source of comfort.
Its also cute when my 2 yr old calls it the "Amen".

erick

How does one explain that Paul explicitly states that these things (ie. holy water and all of the Mosaic econony- if you will), were only a "shadow" of the reality of Jesus?- Col 2.

Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B.

It would be useful to show the Protestant minister the "Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling Holy Water" that is in the Missal. The Rite's prayers express the meaning of the Holy Water.

====

[The priest invites the people to pray using these or similar words.]
Dear friends,
this water will be used
to remind us of our baptism.
Ask God to bless it,
and to keep us faithful
to the Spirit he has given us.

[After a brief moment of silent prayer, the priest speaks one of the following three options.]

[1. For use on Sundays through the year, except during the Easter season.]
God our Father,
your gift of water
brings life and freshness to the earth;
it washes away our sins
and brings us eternal life.
We ask you now
to bless this water,
and to give us your protection on this day
which you have made your own.
Renew the living spring of your life within us
and protect us in spirit and body,
that we may be free from sin
and come into your presence
to receive your gift of salvation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

[2. For use through the year, except during the Easter season.]
This text also is for ordinary or regular use outside the Easter season.
Lord God almighty,
creator of all life,
of body and soul,
we ask you to bless this water:
as we use it in faith,
forgive our sins
and save us from all illness
and the power of evil.
Lord, in your mercy
give us living water,
always springing up as a fountain of salvation:
free us, body and soul, from every danger,
and admit us to your presence
in purity of heart.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.

[23. For use during the Easter season.]
Lord God almighty,
hear the prayers of your people:
we celebrate our creation and redemption.
Hear our prayers and bless + this water
which gives fruitfulness to the fields,
and refreshment and cleansing to man.
You chose water to show your goodness
when you led your people to freedom
through the Red Sea
and satisfied their thirst in the desert
with water from the rock.
Water was the symbol used by the prophets
to foretell your new covenant with man.
You made the water of baptism holy
by Christ’s baptism in the Jordan:
by it you give us a new birth
and renew us in holiness.
May this water remind us of our baptism,
and let us share in the joy
of all who have been baptized at Easter.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Esau

"Its also cute when my 2 yr old calls it the 'Amen'."

-- And Remember that the 'Amen' is Jesus! (Rev 3:14)

God Bless!

Terah

"How does one explain that Paul explicitly states that these things (ie. holy water and all of the Mosaic econony- if you will), were only a 'shadow' of the reality of Jesus?- Col 2. "

Erick:
Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? (Acts:10:47)

erick

Terah-, is there anything intrinsically "holy" about this water?.- or maybe I'm not quite following what you're saying.
On a post above someone said that holy water was use as part of the O.T system of worship, therefore making a connection that this would apply to the N.T.
I disagree.

Ed Pie

More importantly, if we are mostly water, then why don't people in vampire movies get their bodies blessed by a priest before going off to fight vampires?

I've wondered as well, and I just figured that that since most of the water in your body also contains the accidents of blood, lymph, and whatnot, maybe the holiness of the water has left it, just as the Real Presence departs when the Blood and Body stop resembling wine and bread.

Still, it doesn't explain why they don't all go out for Italian and double up on the breadsticks before a long night of slaying.

Or, for that matter, going out when the sun's up.

Terah

Jn:3:5: Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Erick, you ask: "Terah-, is there anything intrinsically "holy" about this water?."

Well, I ask then is there anything intrinsically 'holy' about the bread the Apostles broke during those occasions whenever they met where they celebrated the Breaking of the Bread (ACTS 2:42)?

And, yet:
1Cor:11:27: Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

1Cor:11:28: But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

1Cor:11:29: For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

Is it not the Truth that this bread, though physically appearing as bread in our eyes (what's referred to as 'accidents'), when it undergoes transubstantiation in the Celebration of the Eucharist (as we've come to call it), becomes what Christ says, 'This is My Body'?

Jn:4:23: But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

Jn:4:24: God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

erick

Terah-, none of the Scriptures cited have anything to do with the water being "holy".
I guess what I'm trying to convey (poorly, by the way), is that the O.T practice of "holy" water for worshipping, was done away with by Jesus- being that He was the reality behind the "shadow".

Dev Thakur

Erick, as a Catholic, I think you're main point is correct: that the holy water reference in the Old Testament has no *direct implication* to our using it in the New Covenant.

However, it does state the general idea that water can be used in ceremony honoring the True God.

The Christian use of holy water is *not* predicated on that passage from Numbers; rather, that passage from Numbers can be used as one tiny piece of explaining the Christian use of holy water.

The real justification for using holy water would be that the Church, which Jesus Christ Himself founded as the sacrament of our salvation, has always blessed water. And really, we can bless anything we want, but it makes extra sense to bless things like: water, salt, oil, and people. Essential things of life, and the stuff of the sacraments.

erick

Dev-, agreed!.
However I don't know that the Church has "always" blessed water. Blessing something or someone, I can see it being a Christian thing to do, but again, I fail to see how this in turn makes the recipient "holy".
Does that make sence?.

erick

I guess that would'nt make "sence"....sorry I meant sense.

Curious

The baptismal elements of holy water discussed above are of course correct, but I liked Fr. Corapi's discussion of Holy Water in his Spiritual Warfare series, I believe. As I recall, he talks about the rite of blessing of the water attaching a blessing to the water. When the holy water is used, that blessing is attached to the person or thing to which it is applied. He says that Satan and evil spirits have to pay a heavy price to get by it. I say make 'em pay.

With this understanding, it is good to use Holy Water entering and leaving a church.

Old Zhou, I have such bottle which I filled a year and a half ago. No mold, I believe because holy water has blessed salt in it, which likely inhibits mold growth. If your holy water is molding, perhaps it incorrectly has no salt applied? Is blessed salt necessary for holy water? Somebody help me here

Terah

"...because holy water has blessed salt in it, which likely inhibits mold growth"

Generally, salt upsets the osmotic balance in mircrobes and so this property of salt makes for a good anti-bacterial agent.

Old Zhou

Hi Curious,

I think my parish uses unsalted holy water.
It causes less corrosion.

Curious

Greetings Old Zhou,
I have found your posts in the past most interesting. I wonder whether holy water is supposed to have blessed salt in it? I once heard Johnnette Benkovic talking on her EWTN show as if it were supposed to be used in holy water. Maybe I misunderstood. Maybe I ought to email Jimmy for more info. I tasted my holy water to see if it was salty (sorry, I'm a scientist and wonder about these things) and it did not seem salty, although a low salt content is probably sufficient to kill mold.

Curious

Incidentally, I usually take holy water with me on trips and use it to bless the hotel rooms I stay in. It seems prudent, given what can go on in such places. I have noticed that I feel less tempted when doing this. It's that blessing being attached to the room, I tell you!

Of course, now that we have liquid bans, I'm not sure if I'll be able to do it, unless I check my bags.

Maureen

We bless ourselves with holy water both when entering and leaving a church, because a church is a place set apart for God's use. This is derived from the old Jewish custom of cleansing oneself ritually both when entering and leaving a sacred area.

Also, it's as good an idea to remember one's baptism when leaving church and going out into the world as it is when entering a church.

Suzanne

During one of our moves, I found a vial of holy water and stuffed it in a box. That box was never opened until two moves later. The holy water was in perfect condition.

Esau

"This is derived from the old Jewish custom of cleansing oneself ritually both when entering and leaving a sacred area."

Thanks Maureen for this info!

I felt that something like this would more likely be the case.

For some reason, I heard on EWTN at one time by a guest who was a convert to the faith, saying that it was more indicative of Pilate having washed his hands -- which, to me, didn't quite settle right.

I remember though hearing something in the past that was more in line with what you just mentioned but couldn't really substantiate it.

Puzzled

Is it reserved for Roman Catholics only?

bill912

No, it's not, Puzzled.

AnonnyMouse

Jimmy,
Sometimes you just make my head ache (in a good way)! I had wanted to be an apologist and am crazy about the "Who Wants To Be An Apologist" game show. I have resigned my "wanna be an apologist" hat for a "supporter" and "listener" hat.
God Bless you for all you do.
BTW We are moving to Texas soon, please tell me there are no snakes!!!

bill912

OK. There are no snakes in Texas.("Three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys").

Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B.

The placing of holy water near the doors of Catholic churches is not connected to Jewish practices.

Rather it is strictly connected to Baptism "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit", Baptism by which we enter the Church.

It is above all a reminder of our Baptismal consecration.

It is not derived from Jewish purification.

Realist

I see Holy Water is still on the "menu". There is one significant problem with Holy Water, as alluded to above, and that is the containment/ purity of said water. Considering the hundreds of fingers that touch the Water and fonts on any given Sunday, the water and fonts are potentially the source of significant harmful bacteria and viruses. One solution is to have ozone bubblers on each font.

A small amount of salt is not about to purify Holy Water considering that ocean water contains 3.5 wt% salt but still supports significant organic growth.

Al Stakhanov

"We bless ourselves with holy water both when entering and leaving a church [...] This is derived from the old Jewish custom of cleansing oneself ritually both when entering and leaving a sacred area."

Can I get a witness?

Where is a citation about cleansing on _leaving_ a sacred area?

Cory

Holy water is blessed in order to make it holy. Otherwise, it would just be water.

Am I wrong to laugh out loud when I read this profound, yet simple, answer? :)

More importantly, if we are mostly water, then why don't people in vampire movies get their bodies blessed by a priest before going off to fight vampires?

DJ, do you have too much time on your hands?

Consider this example:
- April, you get some Holy Water from the Holy Water cooler at your parish, and place it in a nice container in your home for blessing yourself.
- September, you realize you have not opened the Holy Water container in your home, and find it full of icky, smelly mold. Yikes!

So, what's the deal with folks taking Holy Water home, and is the mold holy?

This is too deep for me to ponder. My brain hurts.

Charlie

Far too mauch fetish here about water...it has but one purpose:Blessed or no. It is better to add a little water,in solid or liquid form, to scotch .And best of all: it is to be ingested!

Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B.

Added to scotch?

How about being changed into wine? The best wine-- and lots of it.

Some Day

Holy Water is a good thing to carry with all the time. I recomend HW, B. Scapular, M.Medal and above all the Rosary. They are all exorcistic and much more.

Puzzled

Thank you, Bill! Asking that question twice of Jimmy and getting no response, I am very glad to know, now. :-)

Some Day

Well the problem is not HW, it is the sick people whose hands are infected, mostly because they don't use a hanky or tissues, or other hygenic problems.
I carry my own in a eye drop bottle I cleaned up.
But I still use the font upon entering or passing it by. I don't stick my hands in my mouth and I most certainly wash my hands like a decent human being. Like a Catholic.
Now for these germophobes...
Don't worry about little germs or dirt on your food, because of these "advances" with food processing, you can go to Mexico and die because your I.S. is so weak and used to fake, plain, processed, juiced up and who knows what else "food". So don't worry is about a guy sweating on your pizza. Thats what makes this valley of tears interesting.

Charlie

1) Is water blessed by non-Catholic (for example Eastern Orthodox) priests still holy water?(Stoodley)

I would say, yes, but it should be kept separate from water blessed in the Latin rite!

2)How about being changed into wine? The best wine-- and lots of it.(Fr Stephanos)

Tut tut Father...St Paul says a "little" wine is good for the stomach ...however, if ever you're having dinner and need a guest...


Tracey DeMiero

I just bought a holy water font for my home but I'm not sure when to use it. I understand the meaning of holy water as a reminder of my Baptism in Christ, but do you know of any instances when I can use holy water at home? I'm interested in how other Christians use it for family blessings or illness.
Sincerely,
Tracey

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