Spiritual Weapons: Holy Water

December 2, 2013

In her many rituals, the Catholic Church uses elements from creation: oil, ashes, burning incense, and more. Of these elements, water is one of the most common and the most rich in symbolism. Today, I specifically want to discuss Holy Water, which is a powerful spiritual weapon for your arsenal.

Origins and Meaning

holywaterfont1The symbolic importance of water is ancient, and its ritual use can be found in the Old Testament, where it was used for purifying rites privately and liturgically. It is also a sign of God’s creative power (Genesis 1:2), a metaphor for Jehovah as the source of life spiritually (Isaiah 55:1-2), and it is used as an agent of healing (2 King’s 5:10). There are also many Old Testament types of water’s significance in the New Testament, such as Pharaoh’s army (sin) being drowned in the sea (the waters of baptism, Exodus 14:28).

In the New Testament, water takes on even greater significance in its connection with Christ, who identifies himself with the Living Water (John 7:37-39). Baptism in water is also declared as necessary for our salvation, as Jesus himself said, “unless a man be born of water and the Holy Ghost” he cannot be saved (John 3:5).

There are many, many more scriptural references to water, and its significance is deep. But for the Catholic, water is first and foremost a reminder of our baptism—one of the most significant events in the life of a Christian. In baptism, we are freed from sin, born anew spiritually, and adopted into the covenant family of God. Many of the saints, realizing the importance of baptism, venerated the place and day of their baptism with great fervor, just as we would celebrate our physical birthday. St. Louis de Montfort even changed his last name to “de Montfort” as Montfort was the town in which he was baptized.

Holy water is the primary way Catholics encounter water as a sacramental. It is blessed on the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6) and is used throughout the year.

Use and Power

Holy water is used in the rites of the church for blessing churches, altars, and other objects. In the Extraordinary Form, each high mass is preceded by a rite known as the “Asperges.” The priest sprinkles the congregation and altar servers with holy water while the choir chants portions of the penitential Psalm 50. This rite is also performed in the Novus Ordo mass during some liturgical seasons.

Holy water is also used to bless ourselves before entering and leaving a church. A church building is a picture of the Catholic Church, and blessing ourselves with holy water upon entering a church reminds us that baptism was how enter the Church, the Body of Christ.

Holy water can also be bottled and taken home for personal use. Many Catholics have holy water fonts in their homes. Again, you can use this sacramental for blessing yourself before bed, when entering and leaving the home or for blessing your children.

But the question arises, why use holy water? What’s the point?

First of all, holy water has the power to forgive venial sins. When we turn to God and remember our baptism, in which we vowed to reject sin and satan, our sins are forgiven!

Second, holy water prepares us to receive the sacraments. With our sins forgiven, our baptism remembered, and with God’s blessing upon us, we are ready to receive the grace of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.

Finally, demons hate holy water. St. Teresa of Avila once said, “I have found by experience that there is nothing from which the devils fly more quickly than from holy water. They also fly from the cross, but they return almost immediately. Certainly, the power of holy water must be great; for my part, my soul feels particular comfort in taking it, and very generally a refreshment and interior delight which I cannot express” (Autobiography). Holy water is an excellent way to protect yourself, your family, or your home from the attacks of the evil one!

What about you— do you use holy water in your devotional life? Have you ever experienced any signs of its power?

Sam Guzman


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Reader Interactions


  1. Darran says

    Very good article. When I had began to wear the brown scapular I had been given a short-form of the enrollment by some carmelite nuns for enrollment. Where I usually rarely remember any dream and very seldom have bad ones, that night I had atrocious nightmares, like being in a fierce argument with someone about Mary, it was terrible.

    The next night the very same happened, I had gotten to where I was reluctant to go to sleep even after losing so much. I had hit google on the matter and it seems that having very bad nightmares does indeed happen with some regularity when wearing the scapular without being enrolled (or enrolled properly in my case). Someone had pointed this out to me and given me the long form, and I was told to sprinkle my bed with holy water before going to sleep.

    Bam. For the week or so until I could see a priest for the enrollment, with sprinkling holy water it went from being similar to fighting off an attacker at night to being slightly disrupted in sleep.

    After the proper enrollment, it never happened again.

    Holy water is powerful, as is the brown scapular. The devils bias proves much!

  2. keithp says

    On a fairly routine basis, I use holy water to bless all the rooms of our house with special emphasis on my childrens rooms. I will also use the hoiy water to bless the entrances to our house. I’ve had a similar occurance (although not as severe) as Darran describes that was ameliorated by holy water and prayer to the Holy Mother and St. Michael the arcangel for protection.

    I also have seen mentioned that the blessing of the holy water in the older form (’62 missal) is considerably more detailed and powerful. It might be worthwhile for those concerned about the quality of their weapons to take heed.

  3. Ellen says

    My husband and I use holy water to bless our elementary music classrooms. Unfortunately, Satan’s effects on some of our students is still made known in them.

  4. Eseoghene Akhabe says

    I have used the Holy water and it has delivered me and healed me from the power of darkness, setting me free

  5. Ludy O. Dote says

    I’m happy to hear from you that the the holy water has the power to forgive our venial sins since it supports what I was taught to pray when dipping my fingers with the holy water in church: “May this holy water forgive my sins and bring me to eternal life.”

      • Lover of our Lord and Savior! says

        Amen, the power to heal and to forgive comes ONLY from the Lord our God, no one else, not the pope, not Mary, NO ONE ELSE!

  6. cc says

    I use holy water a lot. I put mine in small travel sized spray bottles and bless myself at least every morning after showering and every night before going to bed. I have a few bigger bottles I filled at shrine visits so my stock is always plenty! I feel the spiritual help from using it.

  7. Caitlynne Grace says

    Blessing ourselves with holy water is not a practice is our home. But a few weeks back, my husband filled the font by the altar in our home. You post reminds me to go back to the practice of holy water blessing. I don’t quite feel the urge for it, but maybe, I need to just get on with it, and not wait for “urges”.

    Thank you, Sam.

  8. donnamarie ramos says

    I definitely feel some protection of blessing my self with holy water. I bless each room in my home about once a month. Holy water is used in the church so I feel comfortable using it.My husband don’t use holy water, that’s okay for him but I use holy water in my home, and I carry a small bottle in my purse.

  9. Eric A Vargas says

    Personally, I encourage the use of holy water to all; especially to those being attacked by evil spirits. My encounter with them have not been pretty surely but it is the heartly prayer and holy water which have made them flee almost immediately. Faith is important. Trust!

  10. Vince Contreras says

    My wife and I were just discussing this today, as well as the use of blessed salt, especially in the home. It would great if you could find time to write on that as well, as it is less known but is also a highly regarded weapon of spiritual warfare.

  11. bll says

    I put Holy Water on my car and keep it in my car as well. On a Saturday, I was told by the porter at the car dealership that the wait for an oil change in the express lane would be 2 and a half to 3 hours wait. I was heading to a conference out of town and didn’t have time to wait. He asked over and over if I had an appointment and I said no. He finally asked me exasperated, “Ok, what do you want to do?” I grabbed a gallon of holy water from the back seat and told him, “Ok, here, you take the key. And I’ll just bless the car.” I sprinkled a fair amount of holy water on the hood and front windshield. His eyes looks so big. He said, “I’ll go put it in line.”

    Then 45 minutes later, I had already paid the bill and was walking out to the car to leave, when the porter walked by. He had the most shocked look on his face, and said, “IT must have been that water!”


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