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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Here We Go!

Here we go!

I'm just going to post the Nun So Beautiful pictures in the order in which they were received. Thank the Good Lord we are not required to pick a winner.

Here's the very first one that came in and a great start to the big parade of nuns.

Hello Sister, I would like to enter my friend, Sister Agnes Marie of the Eternal High Priest OCD Who is one of the Extern sisters at our Carmelite Monastery here in Buffalo, NY. She recently made her Perpetual Profession and we had permission from Mother Mariam of Jesus To take pictures.. I hope she wins.. Love, Ellen from Buffalo,NY

Now back to the grindstone.

Sister, I have a question for you about holy water. I understand there are two types - the kind consecrated by a priest (that I use to cross myself when entering and leaving church), and the kind from shrines such as Lourdes. I am wondering what Catholics are required to believe about these two types of holy water vs. what we might believe from Catholic small-t tradition (as you've called it in other posts.) Do we believe consecrated water has special powers of healing the sick, or the ability to ward off evil? Thank you.

Pretty much, yes we do. Although there is a difference between Lourdes water and holy water.

I have to have a nap before I try to explain. There is also a difference between blessed and consecrated.

Two naps.

If I sneeze and you say, "Bless you!" you are wishing me goodness and health. Blessings are the transference or prayer for good. Goodness is transferred from God to you. Are we on the same page here?

When the priest blesses someone or something (like your rosary) that's exactly what he is doing but, because he is a priest, he has supernatural power.

I hope that doesn't upset you. When we say supernatural we mean exactly that. Outside the realm of the earth. We aren't referring to werewolves, vampires and zombies.

I once had a third grader who was concerned that when Lazarus was brought back form the dead he came back as a zombie. I had to explain that Lazarus was just alive and happy again, not a dead person who had a spell cast on him to take away his will and make him forever slowly serve drinks on a silver tray and trudge around and strangle people one doesn't care for.

A priest giving a blessing is not a person casting a spell. He is bestowing good from outside nature. Supernatural good from God.

Still on the page?

The priest blesses objects to set them apart for sacred use for the Kingdom of God. Easy breeze lemony squeezy.

There are two types of blessings: simple and solemn, also called consecrations. What's the dif?

Consecrations are a bigger deal. It doesn't exactly make the object or person any more blessed. It makes the person or object more specifically blessed. A consecration is a more specific blessing, just like a prayer can be general ("Please look after the good health of my family") or specific ("please heal Aunt Agatha's gout").

Lourdes water is a whole other category. Lourdes water was consecrated by Mary herself, set aside for specific use (except for poor little Bernadette).

Anyhow, to answer your final question, 'are we to believe that holy water has supernatural power?', I would say, yes, by definition it does. Otherwise, during an exorcism the priest could just stick your head under the faucet or douse you with a hose.

Lazarus might make a fun Halloween costume. Everyone would think he was a zombie, but we would know better.


Shannon said...

Dear Sister,

I just ran across your blog and I'm delighted!! I have a blog about big 'ol Catholic family life and I added you to my side bar. Thanks so much. We all need people like you!!

Missy Francis said...

Yes, delightful is the word that comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

I love that picture! It makes me smile just to look at it- how can you not?! =D

I can't wait to see the rest!

Martha Mary said...

I am SO glad that you said Priests have supernatural power. Obviously, random people can't run around consecrating and blessing things, but it's so nice to have it in words. I think people have forgotton that! Seriously! Which leads me to my question... in my parish, every time there is an anniversary of note, at the end of mass he asks the couple, e.g. 'Ed and Myrtle', celebrating their 70th anniversary, to stand for a special blessing. He then asks ALL OF US to raise our hands over the couple. WHAT??? I refuse to do it, and sit there feeling dejectedly creepy for the duration of the blessing. Is this okay? Should the priest be doing this? Is there something I'm missing here? I just feel that it's demeaning to the priest's authority, his specialness, his, yes indeed, SUPERNATURAL POWERS for every Tom and Jane in the building to do it, too. What do you think?

Scott W. said...

Wonderful explanation. I get mildly annoyed when people say when we dip in to the holy water font that we are not blessing ourselves, that it is really a reminder of our baptism. The way it was explained to me is that sacramentals are connected to the prayer of the Church. And if the prayer of the Church is efficacious, then the sacramental is too. So it is one thing to say holy water is symbolic and another to imply that it is soley symbolic.

[soapbox]Speaking of desacramentalizing-in-favor-of-symbolism, some parishes are still emptying their fonts during all of Lent. I'd recommend starting sooner rather than right on the heels of Lent to get people to scrap this practice because although it is a fasting season, it's not a fast from sacramentals.[/soapbox]

Anonymous said...

Sister, which water (Holy or Lordes) is best for sprinkling the home - and the people in it (especially if there are some real "issues" that need Confession?)