Today is the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord and so it seems fitting that we have the Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling of Holy Water at all Masses this weekend, something we don’t see done very often. This takes place at the beginning of Mass.
St Thomas Aquinas (1225-74) teaches that it was when JESUS was baptised by John the Baptist in the River Jordan that He sanctified the waters that would be used for our Baptism. And so the priest, during the Rite of Baptism blesses the water that will be used for the administration of the Sacrament. Similarly, I regularly bless the Holy Water for the Holy Water stoops with which we make the Sign of the Cross each time we enter the church. This reminds us of our Baptism, and if used with faith also purifies us of venial sin as well as helping us to resist temptation. If we are guilty of mortal sin we must go to Confession as soon as possible. Holy Water, through a Priest, is blessed by God in virtue of Christ’s Baptism. The Catholic Church possesses enormous power in being able to impart sacramental grace – and Holy Water as a sacramental receives its power through the prayer and authority of the Church.
Holy Water is mixed with blessed salt, and in addition, a priest uses Holy Water to bless places, people and things, such as Rosaries, statues and even cars. The Rite of Blessing Holy Water also contains prayers of exorcism to drive away demons and evil spirits and to give us grace, which is why Holy Water is used by Exorcists.
Holy Water sprinkled with faith can also obtain God’s blessing and protection of dear ones living at a distance, as well as bringing relief to the Holy Souls in Purgatory if we sprinkle it with that intention. Simply sprinkle the water on the ground and say the prayer “Eternal rest grant unto them/him/her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them/him/her. May they/he/she rest in peace. Amen.” St John Macias (1585-1645), a great friend of the Souls in Purgatory, and known as the “Helper of the Poor Souls” would often sprinkle Holy Water on the ground for the spiritual benefit of the suffering souls.
I would encourage you all to keep and use Holy Water in your homes. There is a large container of Holy Water from which you can fill a bottle near the Sacred Heart Altar. Take some and use it to increase God’s blessing and protection on yourselves and your families as well as helping the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC