Question on Holy Water & Praying

by Rev. Jack Barr

Subject: Questions
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 09:23:09 +0200
To: "''"

Hi Jack

What is holy water and what is it used for?

>From "Catechism of the Catholic Church", Printed by The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, (USA), Pg. 415 Chapter 4, Other Liturgical Celebrations, Article 1, Sacramentals, item #1688 reads: (Highlight and underlining is mine and not in the text)

Sacramentals are instituted for the sanctification of certain ministries of the Church, certain states of life, a great variety of circumstances in Christian life, and the use of many things helpful to man. In accordance with bishops' pastoral decisions, they can also respond to the needs, culture, and special history of the Christian people of a particular region or time. They always include a prayer, often accompanied by a specific sign such as the laying on of hands, the sign of the cross, or the sprinkling of holy water (which recalls Baptism).

From The Encyclopaedia Britannica

holy water

in the Eastern Christian churches and the Roman Catholic Church, special water that has been blessed and is used to bless churches, homes, and articles of devotion. A natural symbol of purification, water has been used by religious peoples, both primitive and advanced, as a means of removing uncleanness, either ritual or moral.

In the early Christian community the "living" water of rivers and streams was preferred for Baptism and apparently received no special blessing. By the time of the 4th century the still waters of the baptismal font or pool were exorcised and blessed with the sign of the cross. Other water was blessed for the use of the faithful as a means of warding off the unclean spirit and as a safeguard against sickness and disease. In the course of time, this blessed, or holy, water was used as a reminder of Baptism by the faithful on entering the church and by the celebrant in sprinkling the congregation before the Sunday mass.

Alexander I, Saint

d. c. 115, /119, Rome?; feast day May 3

fifth pope after St. Peter and successor to St. Evaristus. His 10-year rule (105-115 or 109-119) is attested by Pope St. Eusebius (309/310). Some Catholic writers ascribe to him the introduction of holy water and the custom of mixing sacramental wine with water, and he may have made additions to the liturgy. It is believed he suffered martyrdom, possibly by decapitation, under the Roman emperor Trajan or Hadrian. He has sometimes been confused with St. Alexander, one of three Roman martyrs buried along the Via Nomentana. Alexander's jailer, St. Quirinus, and his daughter St. Balbina are said to have been converted by him.

These articles would indicate that the use of Holy Water in the Church didn't start until almost 100 years AFTER the death of Jesus Christ. That if the water were blessed, that the Holy Water would ward off Evil spirits, and would keep people from becoming sick.. This would then fall under the use of Amulets, or the casting of spells, The trusting of the water, or the trusting of superstition to protect them, instead of trusting to God for that protection. This is forbidden in the bible (see Deuteronomy 18:10-11) where some of the abominations against God are listed. The Enchanter who uses omens and amulets to cast spells, the Witch which uses magic formulas and incantations. The people were led to believe that the water once blessed by the priest would protect them. Note that I said that they believed that THE WATER WOULD PROTECT THEM!!! Not God, but the water would take on magical properties.

Now, the only claim about the Holy Water is that the Holy Water is a reminder of their baptism. This sounds good, that is, until you ask the question, "Why does it have to be blessed by the priest before it can remind you of your baptism??" Wouldn't just any old water do as well for that purpose? Does it not leave the person who dips into, or is sprinkled with Holy Water, believing that the blessing of the water is transferred to themselves by their use of, or being touched by, the Holy Water? If I tried to take this any further, I could end up with a book on the subject.

I do my anointing in the Name of Jesus Christ - am I suppose to do it in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

They are 3, but 1 -

I believe that you can anoint someone using almost any combination of words. The bible has many verses on anointing. Most of them do not give any formula of words to use. However, I will show two verses which calls for the anointing with oil in the name of the Lord. If you were to choose these as an example, then I believe that any of the three (or more ) sayings would be correct. Example: "In the Name of the Lord"; "In the Name of Jesus Christ"; "In the Name of the Lord God"; "In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." I believe that you might think of other words that would also be in keeping with anointing in the Name of The Lord.

James 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

1 Corinthians 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

do I always speak to the Father in the Name of Jesus Christ.

There is controversy over this question. For myself, I many times pray direct to God (period), other times I pray to Jesus Christ, or to the Father. Do I speak to the Holy Spirit sometimes? Indeed I do. The scriptures gives us different ways to speak with God.

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

This verse in Colossians would have us speak thanks to GOD and The FATHER through Jesus Christ.

Matthew 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

These two verses in Matthew and Luke tells us to ask or pray to the Father directly.

John 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

John 14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

In John we are told that if we ask, or pray for something, direct to Jesus Christ that He will do it for us.

John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

John also would have us go direct to the Father and to ask the Father in the Name of Jesus Christ.

John 11:22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.

James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Then both John and James tells us to simply ask God.

From all of these verses (and others) we find that there is not any one fixed formula of words when we speak with God. For the Father is God! And the Son, Jesus Christ, is God! And the Holy Spirit is God!. Therefore you can pray to each name or all of the names, because God has opened His Throne Room to us that we may enter into Boldly. (Hebrews 4:16, 10:19)

What about the Holy Spirit?

Am I allowed to speak to the Holy Spirit.

You most certainly May speak to the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit never speaks on His own, but only speaks what the Father or Jesus tells Him to speak (John 16:13 - what He hears) The Holy Spirit will not give you an answer Himself, but He will hear you, and will pass on to you the answer from the Father or from Jesus. The bible also speaks of not being forgiven by The Holy Spirit IF you blaspheme the works of the Holy Spirit. This would be because the Holy Spirit, in not speaking for Himself is therefore not able to forgive you.

Rev. Jack Barr

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