Maybe you bless yourself with holy water as you walk into Church, or you remember a small container of water that was at your grandma’s house growing up. If you’re a Catholic, chances are that you’ve encountered this blessed water at some point.
Father Henry Theiler recently wrote Holy Water and Its Significance for Catholics, on the origins and uses of holy water. Check it out to learn more about why the Catholic Church encourages the practice of blessing yourself, your family, home, work, and pretty much everything else with Holy Water!
1. Use holy water to drive away the devil
St Teresa of Avila, the famous mystic, describes a time when she used holy water in her battle against the devil. One night in the chapel, the devil appeared at her side. He told her that although she had escaped from his clutches this time, he was sure that he would be catching her again soon. She used holy water to combat his presence.
“There was some holy water there, and I threw it in that direction; he never returned again…I often experience that there is nothing that devils flee from more without returning than holy water.”
2. Use holy water to overcome temptations
In the words used to bless the holy water, the prayer petitions God so that, “every delusion and wickedness of the devil, and all unclean spirits, may fly and depart.” The prayer also asks for a shield of protection against spiritual wickedness and evil.
If you’re feeling tempted, try blessing yourself with Holy Water to combat the tricks of the devil. Holy water can also be used to bless rooms and houses.
3. You can use holy water to drive away sickness – and future illness too!
Holy water is meant to be used for the aid of those experiencing illness of the body, mind or soul. The words of blessing are “let it be to all who take it health of mind and body.” Later, the prayer asks God to deliver those who use holy water from pain and hurt.
But the use of holy water doesn’t only apply to illness or pain you or a loved one may be experiencing now. You can also use it to ward off future illness and unrest. The prayer concludes: “And if there be aught which hath ill will to the safety and quietness of the inhabitants, let it flee away at the sprinkling of this water.”
4. Holy water cleanes soul from venial sins and temporal punishments
Many of the Doctors of the Catholic Church say that the use of Holy Water results in the removal of our venial sins and temporal punishment. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, “By the sprinkling of Holy Water the debt of venial sin is wiped out ; but not always, however, are all temporal punishments relinquished.”
Aquinas goes on to explain the amount of sin and punishment removed with the use of Holy Water corresponds to one’s love and faith in God and contrition for their sins.
5. Finally, don’t forget to take advantage of those sanctifying effects found with holy water
By using holy water you can obtain actual graces! These graces can help you focus in prayer, gather more graces from attending Mass, and live out your state of life and vocation more faithfully. Father Theiler says,
“I do not maintain that these effects of grace must necessarily be attributed to the use of holy water, because we cannot know what and how much it has effected in us. But we do know that it can produce these effects, and we may without doubt have occasion to attribute much of our knowledge and inspiration to the use of holy water.”
If you liked these uses for holy water and want to learn more about the Catholic Church’s teaching on the use of this sacramental, check out Father Theiler’s book, Holy Water and Its Significance for Catholics today!