Holy water is so customary for Catholics that we sometimes don’t question why the Church uses it or the significance behind it. We most commonly use holy water when we walk into church and dip our fingers into a font to bless ourselves.
So what does holy water actually do, and why is it important?
Holy water is one of the Church’s most essential sacramentals. It’s blessed by God through a priest, with a rite of blessing that includes prayers of exorcism. This blessing elevates the water to a sacramental that helps us receive God’s grace when used faithfully. Not only is holy water used to give grace to God’s children, it is also used to help defend us in spiritual warfare.
Because of its power, holy water is used in almost every sacrament. For instance, in the Sacrament of Baptism, the priest pours holy water over an infant’s or new convert’s head. Holy water is also used for Anointing of the Sick. In weddings, the priest uses holy water to bless the couple’s rings. At funerals, the priest sprinkles holy water over the deceased person’s coffin.
So how can we truly appreciate holy water and enjoy the benefits of it? By incorporating it into our daily lives.
In addition to using holy water to bless ourselves when we enter a parish, we should also use it to bless our homes, our families, our work spaces, and anything that you use with the goal of glorifying God in your daily life.
To learn more about the use of holy water in the Catholic Church, check out Rev. Henry Theiler’s book Holy Water and Its Significance for Catholics, sold here.