Under Formation “Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary”, there is information regarding Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Bernadette. It is only right that the talk this week should be about Holy Water – another forgotten sacramental. Since Our Lady felt it was necessary to give us a miraculous spring of water, it is important for us to reflect upon the use of Holy Water – true Holy Water!
First, we must come to the understanding that like everything else, the Conciliar Church has changed the rite of the blessing of Holy Water. There is a big difference in the water. First, the new rite has no exorcism but it also is blessed differently. Here are some explanations I found on Fr. Z’s blog - He wrote the following:
In the new post-Conciliar book of blessings “Missale Romanum”, only a couple of the prayers in the book explicitly bless something. All the rest refer to the blessings God could give to someone nearby, or around the place, or who might look in the direction of something, etc. The book attempts to change the Church’s theology about blessings, effectively trying to eliminate the concept of the constitutive blessing and reducing every prayer and action to an invocative blessing.
In his review of the Ordo ad faciendam aquam benedictam, used outside Mass to “bless” water, even though he found a rubric that says that the “celebrans… dicit orationem benedictionis… the celebrant … says the prayer of blessing” and there are three options that follow, he cannot find in any of the three prayers, in the Latin mind you, an explicit statement that the water is to be blessed water. These paragraphs use the word “blessing” throughout and the prayers ask for blessings on those on whom the water is sprinkled. Also, the “celebrans” can be a deacon, which is not possible in the older rite, with the traditional Rituale Romanum.
Here is the first of the new prayers as an example:
Benedictus es, Domine, Deus omnipotens,
qui nos in Christo, aqua viva salutis nostrae,
benedicere dignatus es et intus reformare:
concede ut qui huius aquae aspersione
vel usu munimur,
renovata animae iuventute
per virtutem Sancti Spiritus
in novitate vitae iugiter ambulemus.
Blessed are you, Lord, Almighty God,
who deigned to bless us in Christ, the living water of our salvation,
and to reform us interiorly,
grant that we who are fortified
by the sprinkling of or use of this water,
the youth of the spirit being renewed
by the power of the Holy Spirit,
may walk always in newness of life.
The other prayers are not more explicit.
The difference with the older rite is not just that there is no exorcism or blending of exorcised and blessed salt. There is no explicit act of blessing. The fact that a deacon can use this rite means that it is not connected to the power of the priestly office. The words don’t say the water is blessed.
In the older rite, which priests can use (reason #4378 for why we needed Summorum Pontificum) first salt is exorcised and then blessed. Then water is exorcised and then blessed. In the exorcism of the salt and the water, the two elements are addressed directly, personally, in the second person. By this exorcism they are entirely and without question ripped from the domination of the “Prince of this World”, as our Lord calls our Enemy. Then they are blessed with explicit words and gestures of blessings. Here are the prayers for the exorcism and the blessing the water (before the exorcised blessed salt is added), with his emphasis:
God’s creature, water, I cast out the demon from you in the name of God + the Father almighty, in the name of Jesus + Christ, His Son, our Lord, and in the power of the Holy + Spirit. May you be a purified water, empowered to drive afar all power of the enemy, in fact, to root out and banish the enemy himself, along with his fallen angels. We ask this through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is coming to judge both the living and the dead and the world by fire. All: Amen.
O God, Who for man’s welfare established the most wonderful mysteries in the substance of water, hearken to our prayer, and pour forth your blessing + on this element now being prepared with various purifying rites. May this creature of yours, used in your mysteries and endowed with your grace, serve to cast out demons and to banish disease. May everything that this water sprinkles in the homes and gatherings of the faithful be delivered from all that is unclean and hurtful; let no breath of contagion hover there, no taint of corruption; let all the wiles of the lurking enemy come to nothing. By the sprinkling of this water may everything opposed to the safety and peace of the occupants of these homes be banished, so that in calling on Your Holy Name they may know the well-being they desire, and be protected from every peril; through Christ our Lord. All: Amen.
In the newer prayer, we pray that people have spiritual benefits, because we are invoking God’s blessing. The water is a symbol of those blessings. In the older prayer something entirely different seems to be going on. The water is taken from the realm of the profane and made something of the sacred realm. Then the water is used to bring about the things we pray, through God’s power of course, but by the use of the water. Use of the water is a direct contradiction to the powers of evil who wish us harm. (Who would want to change this and Why?)
Furthermore, the water which has been blessed has itself now a role in the blessing of other things. Consider the principle that something cannot give what it does not have.
That said, the rite of blessing water during Mass found in the newer, Ordinary Form Missale Romanum, includes the words:
“… dignare, quaesumus, hanc aquam + benedicere… deign, we implore, to bless + this water… “
The second option (aren’t there always options in the Novus Ordo?) has:
“…hanc aquam, te quaesumus, + benedicas... we implore You that You + bless this water… “
Mind you, there is no exorcism of the water in the newer Missale Romanum during Mass. And keep in mind that in the older rite, the water was blessed outside of Mass. Blessing of Easter water is a special rite.
CONCLUSION: There is a world of difference, of sensibility, of theology, between what we find in the newer Missale Romanum and what we find De benedictionibus.
Therefore, I exhort you to get some Holy Water blessed in the OLD RITE and use it in your homes, during this Lent, on your children, on your grandchildren, on the sick and aged ----- daily.
In Chapter 31 of St. Teresa of Avila’s Autobiography, she tells of a time that she was harassed by a demon and her use of Holy Water:
“Out of his body there seemed to be coming a great flame, which was intensely bright and cast no shadow. He told me in a horrible way that I had indeed escaped out of his hands but he would get hold of me still.”
Frightened, she tried to shoo him away with the Sign of the Cross. The demon left her, but soon returned. This happened several times, until she noticed she had some holy water nearby. “So I flung some in the direction of the apparition,” she wrote, “and it never came back.”
Another time, she wrote, “the devil was with me for five hours, torturing me with such terrible pains and both inward and outward disquiet that I do not believe I could have endured them any longer. The sisters who were with me were frightened to death and had no more idea of what to do for me than I had of how to help myself.” She only found relief after she requested holy water and threw some to the place where she saw a demon nearby.
It’s in her explanation of all of this that the famous quote comes in.
“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.” (when blessed right!)
She continues: “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.”
WARNING TO ALL – It is critical that you go to a Church that uses the Old Rite in Blessing the Holy Water or the demons will NOT be put to flight! Use it daily in your homes! Start it this Lent!
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel – pray for us and all priests!
Bernadette Porter is a Traditional Catholic, a wife of 41 years with 6 adult home-schooled children and 5 grandchildren. A sincere devotion to Mary, the Mother of God leads me to want to share "The Church's best kept secret" - Mary!