A Sacramental Oasis

By Jenny Dendinger

Blessing ourselves with holy water might appear to be a simple act, but its absence in our lives these last few months has been painfully noticeable for my family.

Before COVID-19, the only time the holy water was missing from the font was during the Triduum. I’ve also heard that some churches remove it for the entirety of Lent, but thankfully, my parish has never adopted this practice.

Even though the fonts in most churches have been emptied due to COVID-19, it recently occurred to me that this does not mean we have to go without holy water. It is merely another obstacle presented to us in our battle, and it has a simple solution.

Holy water bottles are easy to find, so if you don’t own one already, go purchase one from your local Catholic store or order one online. Then, bring it with you to church, and ask your priest where you can fill it. (We should all still have holy water available to us; it’s just not being put in the fonts for us to dip our fingers into anymore.)

Because of the current restrictions in place, I have been keeping a small bottle of holy water in my purse. Before and after Mass, I pour a few drops in my husband’s hand, and we all take turns dipping our fingers into it and blessing ourselves.

Holy water is a sacramental, which means it is used to help point us to the sacraments which unite us to God. Blessing ourselves with it while making the Sign of the Cross not only reminds us of our baptism, but also prepares our minds and hearts as we enter a sacred place. It is used as a prayer of purification, asking God to help clear our minds of worldly thoughts so we can worship him and receive him worthily.

Since no one knows how long we will remain in this desert, we must do everything we can to properly care for ourselves on the journey. Do not let that empty font be one more painful reminder of our struggles. Instead, bless yourself with your own holy water, and let the empty font reinforce the truth that our faith cannot be taken from us.

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