The lockdown has been a great time of reflection. This unprecedented situation has offered many insights for the spiritual growth of the faithful. One of the greatest realizations I have had concerns the importance of the sacramental of holy water. (“Sacramentals are holy things or actions of which the Church makes use to obtain for us from God, through her intercession, spiritual and temporal favors.” - Baltimore Catechism no. 469) Prior to the shutdowns, it was common to see holy water in the fonts at every church. There are good reasons for this. As a matter of fact, the removal of this holy water is quite contradictory, considering the effects it is supposed to have for those who use it properly. According to the Baltimore Catechism and other sources:
Holy water can expel demons and help overcome temptations.
Holy water removes venial sin and temporal punishment.
Holy water can bring actual graces, helping you to live and pray with greater focus and fervor.
Holy water can both cure and prevent sickness.
Yes, using holy water could prevent someone from contracting the coronavirus.
Health of the body is less important than health of the soul. However, with holy water we don’t have to choose. It is possible that increased use of this sacramental could be of significant help in our fight against serious illnesses. (While it can certainly cure or prevent illness, there is no promise that it will do so. It is God who ultimately decides whether to allow the illness based on whether it will help us grow closer to Him.) Yet, many dioceses have suspended the use of church holy water fonts. The response measures to the coronavirus never cease to be counterproductive.
Nevertheless, holy water is not completely unavailable. If the churches in your diocese are open, some of them are bound to have holy water available for personal use.
There is no better time to start using holy water than now. Bring bottles of it home or carry them around. Put a holy water font by your front door and use it whenever you enter your house. If you don’t have holy water bottles or fonts, you can purchase them here at Queen of Angels. However, please be aware that holy water is not available at our store. It is against our policy to sell blessed items. We encourage anyone who wants to obtain holy water to visit a church. Even a short visit to the House of God can bring great graces for a soul.
It is also important when looking for holy water to know that there are two different types of holy water, with two different types of potency, as it were. Traditionally blessed holy water is a mixture of holy water and holy salt. It is both blessed and exorcised in rites of the Church that have been around for centuries. Standard holy water is blessed with the modern blessing but not exorcised or mixed with salt.
It is, of course, important to have a certain reverence when using holy water. While it does not in any way compare to the Eucharist or even to a relic, one must still treat it as a blessed object. One should never drink holy water except in extreme circumstances. Rather, it is good to often make the sign of the cross with holy water or sprinkle it around your house. It is often good to accompany the use of holy water with a prayer. Holy water is not meant to be something that we become devoted to, but rather serve as a means to increase our devotion to God.
While some in the Church today seem to have forgotten the power of holy water, this is not the greatest thing that we have underestimated (and consequently, lost in the shutdowns). We have failed to see the power of the Eucharist, God in the Flesh... but that is a topic worthy of its own article.