“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

 Teresa_of_Avila

When we read this quote from St. Teresa of Avila, we should be reminded of the importance of holy water. As a recalling of our baptism and our baptismal promises, Catholics dip their fingers in the holy water and make the Sign of the Cross when entering the church.

Our baptismal promises included renouncing Satan and disdaining sin. However, we probably rarely bring this to mind and take holy water for granted most of the time.  Because we use it so regularly, it’s any easy thing to do.

We must remember that this water, through the priest, is blessed by God in virtue of Christ’s baptism.  The  Catholic  Church  possesses  enormous  power  of  imparting sacramental grace, and holy water as a sacramental receives its power through the prayer and authority of the Church.

The rite of blessing said over water by the priest to make it holy contains prayers of exorcism.  It can banish demons, heal the sick, and send unwarranted grace upon us, and yet most of the time we cross ourselves with this water without even thinking about how holy it really is.

Read the priest’s profound prayers of blessing over holy water here and find a downloadable PDF here.

The fact of the matter is that holy water is a powerful sacramental and we ought to use it daily.  To prevent us from using it without thinking, we should consciously find ways to use it more.  Holy water can be used to bless people, places, and things that are used by humans in their goal of glorifying God with their lives.

Here is a list of eight ways to use holy water in your everyday life:

holy_water_baptism

1. Bless yourself –  This suggestion is obvious, but if we are only blessing ourselves with holy water on Sunday, then aren’t we missing out on the rest of the week?  You can never have too much grace or blessing in your life.  Use holy water daily.  Keeping a holy water font in the home is a great idea so that you, your family, and guests can be blessed in the comings and goings from your home.  Keep the font right by the front door to ensure you never leave home without it.

2. Bless your house –  If you haven’t taken the time to bless your house with holy water, then no time is better than the present.  Your home is the domestic Church and is in need of spiritual protection.  You can sprinkle holy water in your home yourself, or have a priest formally bless your home using holy water as part of the house blessing ceremony.

3. Bless your family – Use holy water to pray and make the Sign of the Cross over your spouse and children before they go to sleep at night. Bonding the family to each other and to God in this way is a great family tradition to adopt. Keep a holy water bottle by the bedside for this purpose.

4. Bless your work space – If you work outside of the home, sprinkling your work space with holy water is a great idea, not only for spiritual protection on the work front, but also as to sanctify your daily work for the glory of God.

St. Michael Holy Water Font[Find our selection of holy water bottles and holy water fonts here.]

5. Bless your car – The car is probably the most dangerous place where you spend a significant amount of time each day. Never underestimate the power of holy water applied to your vehicle to keep you safe from harm’s way, when used in faith and trust in God. In fact, you can also have a priest bless your car with holy water.

6. Bless your vegetable garden – It was a common practice in the Middle Ages for people to sprinkle their vegetable gardens with holy water.  In times when people were very dependent on crops for their livelihood, lack of rain or early frosts could be devastating. Using holy water to bless and sanctify the plants that would be used for the family’s sustenance showed their reliance on God’s grace.

7. Bless the sick –  If you know of any sick friends or family, then blessing them with holy water probably counts as a corporeal and a spiritual work of mercy.  If you visit the sick in a hospital or nursing home, bless their living space with holy water and leave a holy water bottle with them as a comfort in their time of need.

8. Bless your pets – Many parishes on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi have a rite of blessing for pets. Pets are loved companions for individuals and families and often provide a great service to them, and even these can be blessed with holy water because all creation has the end of giving glory to God. This also applies to livestock and farm animals that provide labor, livelihood, and nourishment to humans.

 

Here is a simple prayer to say when using holy water:

“By this holy water and by Your Precious Blood, wash away all my sins, O Lord. Amen.”

There is no specific prayer to pray when using holy water, other than the Sign of the Cross, “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” You can also pray an Our Father or even the St. Michael the Archangel prayer when using holy water. Keep in mind that the holy water has already been blessed by the prayers of the priest.

 

How do you use holy water?

Holy water is one of those beautiful gifts (and weapons) from God to keep us sanctified and holy in our daily lives, and to keep the things we regularly use sanctified and holy. Hopefully if we stop and think of what a generous gift holy water is for us, we will use it more frequently, thoughtfully, and gratefully! Some parents even use holy water to bless things their children regularly use, such as bicycles and school books.

If you have other creative and faithful ways you use holy water to sanctify your everyday life, please comment below.

8 Ways to Use Holy Water

Comments

  1. Marian says

    Dear Gretchen,
    Thank-you for this article on Holy Water. Our home as kids always had Holy water and Holy Oil and it still is a practice to have and use while my kids were growing up.
    Of course, its not always at hand so then I just bless and use a cross. It’s good to be reminded again! Thank-you n Godbless

  2. says

    You can add after “By this holy water and by Your Precious Blood,…..” the prayer for the souls in the Purgatory- ‘Eternal Rest grant unto them. And may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.
    This is an old tradition. The Holy Water we use fall on the Souls (in a spiritual sense) and consoles them. This is one of the greatest charity towards our brothers and sisters who are suffering in the fires of purgation.

  3. Olivia S. Turner says

    A few years ago a friend told me that her family collected Holy Water during Lent from seven churches, mixed together, and then divided it among family members. My family collected the Holy Water for the first time this past year . It has been a blessing. It has opened communication about our faith .

  4. Phil says

    Holy water is staple in my house to bless it daily and to seek the blinding of all demons from every good worked, especially in praying for people involved in demonic activiity or possessed or oppressed and in support of priest or the very rare lay exorcists. Prior to ministerial services I hold in jail, I bless the entrance and interior.
    Exorcised salts is another ravorite to sprinkle anywhere. Whenevere possible, I have water and salt blessed by Benedictine priests because the will use the prayers of exorcism rather than the simple blessing of most parish priests.

  5. says

    My friend told me that she drinks HW. She believes it heals her. I couldn’t say not to because I don’t know either way. Does anyone know if drinking holy water is okay?

  6. Chrissy says

    I rubbed and blessed my very senior dog with holy water. She typically cried and whined when lying around. Once I used the holy water, her pain seemed to subside and she was able to sleep. We just had her put down yesterday, but I truly feel the holy water helped her pain.

  7. Robert Andreas says

    One Prayer whilst Blessing one’s self is:- “By this Holy Water and Your Precious Blood, wash away my sins,O Lord”. This applies to venial sins

  8. says

    I am not Catholic but I am Anglican. I once bought a small bottle labeled Holy water at a thrift store. I poured out the water after a few months ,not knowing if it was still good or whether it was safe to keep. I had never heard of anyone keeping it or using it as a lay person. I guess I wondered at its’ authenticity. Since then I have felt guilty but do not know why. I still have the container but am afraid to use it wondering if what I did was a sin. I also found a Catholic cross as a child and kept it all these years, thinking I should return it to the church I found it ,in front of . I do not think I still have it but have often thought that too was a sin. I have asked the Lord for forgiveness but wonder if there is any other thing I should have done.

  9. Irma says

    I put a small amount of Holy water in the rinse cycle every time I wash
    our laundry and say the (By this Holy water prayer).

  10. says

    Hi M.G., holy water is not meant to be kept in the bottle but to be used. You did not do anything sacrilegious with the water, but rather you acted out of ignorance when you poured it out. It was impossible for you to know if it was blessed, and pouring it out is not necessarily bad even if it was. If you found an abandoned Catholic cross as a child and kept it, you were probably acting out of ignorance at that time too in not attempting to return it; you did not steal it. But also consider something else, that the fact that you found and kept that cross and bought the holy water bottle show signs of an attraction to things that are sacred and holy – so consider them providential moments in your life. Be sure that you take your holy water bottle to a Catholic Church and have it filled so you know you have the real stuff!

  11. Mary says

    Irma, I think that is sooo cool!

    MG, I totally agree with Gretchen’s answers, except, I do not consider it stealing, if you found the cross on the ground.

    Chrissy, I have 2 senior dogs, and I’m gonna sprinkle both of them. Thanks for that good idea.

  12. Rita Puyang says

    Every New Year Eve, my family would welcome the New Year with prayer at home, to give praise and thanks to God for his blessing and protection for the past year then followed by intercession for the New Year. Lastly we entered into the blessing of our home n compound by myself with Holy Water while the Holy Rosary is being recited by the rest of our family members. We bless our families and home, cleanse and gain protection thriugh the precious blood of Jesus.

  13. Jerome says

    I always sprinkle a few drops from my hand on the floor, as a prayer for the Holy Souls. I have heard it relieves them, and I firmly hope that is true.

  14. daniel j parziale says

    Wow, I’m glad I read this.All of you are going to make me think twice when I’m using Holy Water next time .God bless you all.

  15. Francoise says

    Thank you for this great post , and comments !
    There is an old tradition in my husband’s family ( in western France )
    each member blesses the fire and the big log in the fireplace with holy water during Christmas night ; a way to bless our home and family .

  16. Rudy Puhalla says

    Whenever I go to visit my parents grave or my mother in law and father in laws grave I take a small bottle of holy water and sprinkle some on their graves . Also I say an eternal rest prayer for them. There is so much peace and hope and comfort in this practice. I really feel so close them.

  17. Lorraine Chaboyer says

    Good evening,
    I’m reaching out as a born and baptized Catholic. As a little girl, I remember the neighbour taking me to the Catholic Church. I haven’t been in church for over 10 years now. I have to admit that I am more spiritual than religious. Recently, we’ve had a few instances happen in our old home and now our new home. Just last night the TV came on in the middle of the night. That was the last straw. I am so uncomfortable now. I feel bad that I’m reaching out now because I didn’t grow up in the church or learning more. I called a couple of the local churches but unfortunately nobody was able to assist me when I asked about a house blessing. I do plan on attending mass this weekend and speaking with someone to arrange the blessing. I confided in a friend who went to the hospital chaplain where she works and he blessed the water that my friend brought to him. She said that he did an exorcism prayer. I have the holy water with me know, but don’t know what to do with it. I want to bless my house, but do I use the holy water, what do I say, how do I do it, or should I keep this blessed water by my bed and just wait till I can have the priest come? I need direction. I’ve read so many different things on the Internet that I’m confused.

  18. says

    Hi Lorraine, there is no particular way that you must use holy water in the home for it to be effective, just make sure it is water that has been blessed by a Catholic priest. You can sprinkle it around your home, and as an exercise of faith you offer a short prayer – for example an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be. If you want to take the next step, you can ask a Catholic priest to bless your home with holy water as part of the home blessing ritual. However, using holy water and having your house blessed are only taking care of external things, while what is most important is what is internal – the state of your soul before God. Holy water gains its power through the Sacraments of the Church, and it is those that you need to receive in your soul, not just holy water for your house. Otherwise the holy water may be of little effect because it is secondary. It is most important is that you return to the Catholic Church and the Sacraments. We encourage you to discuss this further with a Catholic priest. God Bless!

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