The Power of Holy Water

What is a sacramental? According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Sacramentals are sacred signs instituted by the Church. They prepare men to receive the fruit of the sacraments and sanctify different circumstances of life.” (CCC, 1677) Some examples include the sign of the cross, medals, indulgences, scapulars, rosaries, and last but not least, holy water.

Holy water is a sacramental that is often overlooked in everyday circumstances, but it is extremely effective at protecting us from the devil and temptation. Holy water is simply water that has been blessed by a priest, but those simple words of consecration make all the difference in its utility.

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 value. 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.”  (St. Teresa of Avila)

But why water? Why not just a laying on of hands? Why not oil, or why not just make the sign of the cross? It is because water is a tool of cleansing and purging. It plays a part in countless instances from scripture, and we can see several examples in the New Testament in which Jesus uses water to heal people. We read about the great flood which God used to cleanse the world, the red sea which was used to destroy the Egyptians and save the Israelites, the cleansing of the man at the Pool of Bethesda, and the healing of the blind man using spit and mud.

“‘While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed, and came back able to see.” (John 9:5-7)

And just as holy water is used to cleanse us of our sins in Baptism, holy water can also help cleanse us of the demonic. In exorcisms, priests are always equipped with both a crucifix and holy water, sacramentals that have been exorcised of anything evil and unclean. They are not only used as shining beacons of protection but as weapons that can eradicate the evil around them. This is why we bless things with holy water and hang crucifixes in our homes. We don’t want to invite evil in, and we don’t want to allow it to stay.

As a good practice, always keep a container or receptacle of holy water in your home and use it every day, perhaps before you go to bed every night. Dip your fingers in the water and make the sign of the cross: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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John Hanretty serves as a Digital Media Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of the Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas. Besides being passionate about writing, his hobbies include drawing and digital design. You can read more of his daily articles at and on the Relevant Radio® app.