Question: What is holy water and how do I explain the reason that it is placed at the entrances of churches to my non-Catholic friends?
Answer: Holy water is a sacramental; a reminder of the life of the Church expressed and celebrated through the sacraments. By blessing ourselves with holy water as we enter the church, we are reminded of our own baptism and our call to conversion. Remember, the Church is sacramental. God’s grace is mediated through word and gesture (the outward signs). This comes to us through Jesus (instituted by Christ) as he entrusts to the Church his saving mission (to give grace). In turn, the Church shares that grace and mission with us.
We especially use holy water during Easter when the priest sprinkles the people. It serves to remind us that we are indeed on a journey of faith that makes us one with Christ. Blessing ourselves not only reminds us that we are baptized into a community of faith, but also helps us renew our own baptismal promises to reject sin and to believe in God. It is the heart of Christian belief to turn from sin and toward God. Holy water and baptism make it a visible sign for all of us to follow.
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