This is What Happens Spiritually Anytime You Use Holy Water

Holy water holds a special place in the Catholic faith as a sacramental—a sacred sign instituted by the Church to prepare us to receive grace and to sanctify different circumstances of life. But what really happens spiritually when you use holy water? The answers might surprise you.

What Is Holy Water?

Holy water is water that has been blessed by a priest with specific prayers. You often find it in Catholic churches at the entrances, sometimes stored in vessels called stoups. People use it to bless themselves when entering or leaving the church. Some people even keep holy water at home, using it to bless their dwellings or family members. It serves as a powerful reminder of our baptism and an effective tool in our spiritual arsenal.

The Origin: Linking Back to Baptism

The first thing to understand is that holy water is intimately connected to the sacrament of Baptism. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, “Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments” (CCC 1213). Holy water reminds us of our baptismal promises—our resolve to reject sin and to live as followers of Christ. In fact, anytime we use holy water, we recall and renew our Baptism.

Protection from Evil

The Bible, in many instances, tells us about the power of God overcoming evil. For example, in the Book of Exodus, Moses parts the Red Sea by the power of God to help the Israelites escape the clutches of the evil Pharaoh. The New Testament also contains examples of Jesus casting out demons. Holy water serves as a form of protection against evil, like a spiritual shield. When sprinkled with holy water, evil spirits are repelled and grace is invited.

The Church’s teaching on this is universal. The use of holy water is recommended in various rites and blessings to ward off evil and to bless people, places, and things. A priest will sometimes use holy water during the Rite of Exorcism, for example.

A Tool for Personal Sanctification

When we dip our fingers in holy water and make the sign of the cross, we are not just performing an empty ritual. The Catechism states, “Among all the liturgical objects, those deserving special respect are sacred vessels, the liturgical books, especially the Book of Gospels, the paschal candle, the icons, and statues of the Lord, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the saints” (CCC 1188). Although holy water is not listed among these objects, it is a sacramental that, like the others, serves to sanctify us or make us holy. In other words, holy water prepares us for a deeper relationship with God.

Remission of Venial Sins

A unique aspect of holy water is that it can remit venial sins. The Church teaches that sacramentals like holy water prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it (CCC 1670). While the sacrament of Confession is necessary for the forgiveness of mortal sins, the use of holy water can help cleanse us of venial sins—the less severe sins that still damage our relationship with God.

However, this should not be mistaken as a replacement for the sacrament of Confession. Confession remains the normative means for the forgiveness of sins, both mortal and venial, as per the teachings of the Church.

Blessings: A Way to Sanctify Ordinary Life

Holy water is often used in blessings. Whether it’s a new home, a child, or even a pet, holy water sanctifies and sets apart things and people for the service of God. This corresponds with the scriptural call to “sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 20:7, KJV).

The Theological Opinion: A Tangible Connection to the Divine

Some Catholic theologians have opined that the use of holy water serves as a ‘tangible’ connection to God. This is not a universal teaching of the Church, but rather a theological opinion. It’s the idea that the physical act of using holy water can serve as a bridge to the spiritual, a visible sign of invisible grace at work in our lives. In a world increasingly obsessed with the material, the act of using holy water serves as a reminder that the spiritual realm is just as real, if not more so, than the material world.

In Conclusion: More Than Just Water

Holy water is far more than just water. Its use connects us to our baptism, offers protection against evil, sanctifies us, remits venial sins, and even serves to sanctify the ordinary things of life. It is a treasure of the Church and a rich symbol of the grace that God pours into the hearts of the faithful. Whether we are entering a church, blessing our children, or sprinkling our homes, the use of holy water is a powerful sacramental that deepens our faith, drawing us closer to God.

Remember, every time you use holy water, you are participating in a rich and ancient practice that not only reminds you of your baptism but also prepares your soul to receive God’s grace. It is a small but significant way of inviting God into every aspect of your life. So the next time you pass by a stoup, consider the spiritual realities that this simple act unlocks, and take a moment to thank God for this gift.

🙏 Your PayPal Donation Appreciated

Select a Donation Option (USD)

Enter Donation Amount (USD)


As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you.

Note: While content aims to align with Catholic teachings, any inconsistencies or errors are unintended. For precise understanding, always refer to authoritative sources like the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Always double-check any quotes for word-for-word accuracy with the Bible or the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Scroll to Top