Sunday, 24 February 2008

More On Holy Water...

A few posts back, I wrote about the preparation of real Holy Water, the top-of-the-range, hardcore, send-devils-screaming-out-of-the-room stuff. The stuff, in other words, to which St. Teresa of Avila referred when she wrote:

"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 value. For my own part, whenever I take it, my soul feels a particular and most notable consolation. In fact, it is quite usual for me to be conscious of a refreshment which I cannot possibly describe, resembling an inward joy which comforts my whole soul. This is not fancy, or something which has happened to me only once it has happened again and again and I have observed it most attentively. It is let us say, as if someone very hot and thirsty were to drink from a jug of cold water: he would feel the refreshment throughout his body. I often reflect on the great importance of everything ordained by the Church and it makes me very happy to find that those words of the Church are so powerful that they impart their power to the water and make it so very different from water which has not been blessed."

After Mass today, a woman asked for some Holy Water, and handed over a massive bottle. I looked in the jar, and realised that we would be just about cleaned out of holy water... so, not being the type to look a gift-horse in the mouth, happily filled the bottle right to the top, and then mentioned to Fr. Tim that his services would be required in order to replenish our sadly depleted stock...

...fortunately, I had my little camera to hand...

First of all the salt, then the water are exorcised. I found a translation of the prayers on the net (along with the original Latin), and they certainly pull no punches... I'm not sure how accurate the translation is, but I suspect that it's fine...

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who made heaven and earth.

Exorcism of Salt
O salt, creature of God, I exorcise you by the living God, by the true God, by the holy God, by the God who ordered you to be poured into the water by Eliseus the Prophet so that its life-giving powers might be restored. I exorcise you so that you may become a means of salvation for believers, that you may bring health of soul and body to all who make use of you, arid that you may put to flight and drive away from the places where you are sprinkled every apparition, villainy, and turn of devilish deceit, and every unclean spirit, adjured by Him Who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

Let us pray.
Almighty and everlasting God, we humbly implore Thee, in Thy immeasurable kindness and love, to bless + and sanctify + this salt which Thou did create and give over to the use of mankind, so that it may become a source of health for the minds and bodies of all who make use of it, and may rid whatever it touches or sprinkles of all uncleanness and protect it from every assault of evil spirits. Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

Exorcism of Water
O water, creature of God, I exorcise you in the name of God the Father almighty, and in the name of Jesus Christ His Son, our Lord, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. I exorcise you so that you may put to flight all the power of the Enemy, and be able to root out and supplant that Enemy with his apostate angels: through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

Let us pray.
O God, Who for the salvation of mankind has built Thy greatest mysteries on this substance, water, in Thy kindness hear our prayers and pour down the power of Thy blessing + into this element, made ready for many kinds of purifications. May this, Thy creature, become an agent of divine grace in the service of Thy mysteries, to drive away evil spirits and dispel sickness, so that every- thing in the homes and other buildings of the faithful that is sprinkled with this water may be rid of all uncleanness and freed from every harm. Let no breath of infection, no disease-bearing air, remain in these places. May the wiles of the lurking Enemy prove of no avail. Let whatever might menace the safety and peace of those who live here be put to flight by the sprinkling of this water, so that the healthfulness, obtained by calling upon Thy holy name, may be made secure against all attack. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

The priest mixes a little salt into the water.
May a mixture of salt and water now be made in the name of the + Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy + Spirit.
R. Amen.

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with your spirit.

Let Us Pray.
O God, Creator unconquerable, invincible King, Victor ever-glorious, Who did hold in check the forces bent on dominating us, Who did overcome the cruelty of the raging enemy, Who did in Thy power beat down the wicked foe:

Humbly and fearfully do we pray to Thee, O Lord, and we ask Thee to look with favour on this salt and water which Thou has created. Shine on it with the light of Thy kindness. Sanctify it by the dew of Thy love, so that, through the invocation of Thy holy name, wherever this water and salt is sprinkled it may turn aside every attack of the unclean spirit and dispel the terror of the poisonous serpent. And wherever we may be, make the Holy Spirit present to us who now implore Thy mercy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.
R. Amen.

This is a better picture... unfortunately there was quite a lot of light coming into the sacristy from the back, and it was difficult to get a really good shot because of the pillar in the middle.

And here you see the salt and water being mixed...

Et voilà... proper Holy Water!

12 comments:

la mamma said...

Well yes, of course. Isn't it always done like that? Don't tell me if it's not - I'd rather not know. Have you never seen the prayers pinned up on walls in sacristies? Clearly Fr. Tim doesn't pin his up, though. Is that his biretta on the table there?

Mac McLernon said...

Well, la mamma, it sure isn't mine...

*chortle, snort, snicker*

(although I did wonder - but forgot to ask - why he wasn't wearing it!)

gemoftheocean said...

Nice you caught that all. I've been present a few times when new Holy Water was made, but I must say I haven't seen it done with the candles quite like that. As I recall I held open the ritual book while Father did the honors right next to the Holy Water container.

Is that big jug what you keep the Holy Water in, or was that just for mixing purposes? That looks awkward to pour out! Here is a picture of what ours looks like. The base is the original 1916 base, but the receptacle part we've had for about the last 25 years or so...I remember the old one was starting to corrode! I like "old things" in general, but there's something to be said for stainless steel particularly for such purposes.

Karen

Mac McLernon said...

I keep an eye on the level of Holy Water, and will move heaven and earth to be present at the blessing of a new batch!

Yes, that is the jar... but we don't pour from it. There's a little hand jug which people can use. It's a hang-up from the 60s, I suspect... I remember my mother having an identical one at home when I was a kid... though it wasn't used for Holy Water !!

la mamma said...

Oh Mac, think twice before you ever consider moving parish (and then decide not to)! Look at you, wondering why Fr. Tim wasn't wearing his biretta! I almost fell over when I found out that the pp in our new parish owns a biretta (though a year on, we still haven't seen the thing). Not that I mind - they're not the most becoming of tiles, are they?

Ottaviani said...

I suppose the Litmus test for real holy water would be to use some in an exorcism and see if it works...

FloridaWife said...

This is all really interesting. I had no idea how holy water became holy water. Thanks for sharing.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Mac: Great photos! I've never actually seen that ritual before. Thanks.

Andrew said...

Wow... in my parish, Holy Water is stored in a huge stone/clay jar... kinda like the ones Jesus used to turn water into wine... we never run out. Although, if the jar were to suddenly spring a leak....

Coffee Catholic said...

oooo! Fascinating!!

Aquinas said...

Ok... I'm feeling a little cheated here. I've only been present once when our parish priest (associate pastor—the pastor won't do it...) blessed a new batch. It was pretty much a) fill up the pitcher from the tap, b) pour into holy water dispenser, c) repeat until full, and, finally, d) "May almighty God bless this water, in the name of the Father, + and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen." e) Throw the lid back on the thing and there you go.

Reading about how it should REALLY go makes me sad...

holy water salt said...

This is an incredible post. I plan on drinking Holy H20 regularly now.

I blog on exorcism, psychopaths and narcissism-so I find this blog entry fascinating.

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