Prior to the many changes that came about in the Church, Holy Water had been and still is a great part of our faith. It is used in many instances from the liturgical to our personal blessing of ourselves when entering the Church. Many people keep a vial of Holy Water in their homes for special moments of blessing our children or ourselves in times of joy or sorrow.
It has come to my attention that the former ‘strength’ of today’s blessed water leaves out what, to me, is an important component. In the 1940’s Book of Blessings used by the clergy, the blessing of holy water included an exorcism blessing of salt and the water which would then be mixed together. The current Book of Blessings, however, does not include this type of prayer but just prayers for Blessing of Holy Water. Given the ever worsening state of the world, it seems very remiss to leave out the Blessed Salt in the blessing of the water. Why would the power of exorcized salt be considered unnecessary in the total blessing? Was this decided by the same people who decided to leave out the St. Michael’s Prayer at the Foot of the Altar? Does the fact that there are not enough exorcists in the world today seem to indicate a battle on all fronts?
All of us have seen minor and major infractions at Masses every once in awhile when people decide to ad lib what is already perfect. I never had a concern about the Holy Water fonts, however. Several years ago, I was at a parish and overheard the office staff worrying about whether the blessed water on hand would last until the pastor returned from a week-long trip. They decided the best thing to do was just fill up the fonts and large Holy Water receptacle in the church with regular water as blessings don’t dilute, do they?
I did a little research and have to say that the ‘old’ version made a lot more sense in providing the parishioners and liturgy with the best blessed of Holy Water. In a world that is embracing more sin than faith in anything, I like the idea of the inclusion of the Exorcism prayer over the salt mixed into the water.
THE BLESSING OF HOLY WATER
“Prior to Vatican II, when holy water was blessed, the priest reads several prayers, which included an exorcism of the salt and the water. An exorcism is the banishing of evil spirits. The Fathers of the Church teach us that when Satan caused the fall of our first parents he also obtained an influence over inanimate things intended for the use of man; and therefore, when any material object is to be devoted to the service of God, the Church often prescribes for it a form of exorcism, to free it from the power of the Evil One.
The prayers used in this ceremony are very beautiful, and express well the reasons for the use of holy water. Those said over the salt invoke the power of “the living God, the true God, the holy God,” that whosoever uses it may have health of soul and body; that the devil may depart from any place in which it is sprinkled; that whoever is touched by it shall be sanctified, and freed from all uncleanness and all attacks of the powers of darkness. The prayers said over the water are addressed to the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, that through the power of the Blessed Trinity the spirits of evil may he utterly expelled from this world and lose all influence over mankind. When God is besought to bless the water, that it may be effective in driving out devils and in curing diseases; that wherever it is sprinkled there may be freedom from pestilence and from the snares of Satan.
Then the priest puts the salt into the water in the form of a threefold cross, saying: “May this mingling of salt and water be made in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost ” — after which another prayer is recited, in which God is asked to sanctify this salt and water, that wherever it shall be sprinkled all evil spirits shall be driven away and the Holy Spirit shall be present.” Fr. Sullivan, Externals of the Catholic Church.
Text of the Blessing
(This blessing was in official use before the reforms of Vatican II.)
“V. Our help is in the. name of the Lord.
R. Who made heaven and earth.
Exorcism of Salt
O salt, creature of God, I exorcise you by the living God, by the true God, by the holy God, by the God who ordered you to be poured into the water by Eliseus the Prophet so that its life-giving powers might be restored. I exorcise you so that you may become a means of salvation for believers, that you may bring health of soul and body to all who make use of you, arid that you may put to flight and drive away from the places where you are sprinkled every apparition, villainy, and turn of devilish deceit, and every unclean spirit, adjured by Him Who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.
Let us pray.
Almighty and everlasting God, we humbly implore Thee, in Thy immeasurable kindness and love, to bless + and sanctify + this salt which Thou did create and give over to the use of mankind, so that it may become a source of health for the minds and bodies of all who make use of it, and may rid whatever it touches or sprinkles of all uncleanness and protect it from every assault of evil spirits. Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. R. Amen.
Exorcism of Water
O water, creature of God, I exorcise you in the name of God the Father almighty, and in the name of Jesus Christ His Son, our Lord, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. I exorcise you so that you may put to flight all the power of the Enemy, and be able to root out and supplant that Enemy with his apostate angels: through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by lire. Amen.
Let us pray.
O God, Who for the salvation of mankind has built Thy greatest mysteries on this substance, water, in Thy kindness hear our prayers and pour down the power of Thy blessing + into this element, made ready for many kinds of purification. May this, Thy creature, become an agent of divine grace in the service of Thy mysteries, to drive away evil spirits and dispel sickness, so that every- thing in the homes and other buildings of the faithful that is sprinkled with this water may be rid of all uncleanness and freed from every harm. Let no breath of infection, no disease-bearing air, remain in these places. May the wiles of the lurking Enemy prove of no avail. Let whatever might menace the safety and peace of those who live here be put to flight by the sprinkling of this water, so that the healthfulness, obtained by calling upon Thy holy name, may be made secure against all attack. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.