This sermon from a few years ago talks about how to increase the holy water we have at home just in case we can’t get back to Church for a few weeks. The method from Monsignor is towards the end but the sermon is worth reading again.
Rt. Rev. Msgr. Patrick Perez – 07/14/13
8th Sunday after Pentecost
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Father began the sermon by reciting the Hail Mary.
I’m trying to remember to say a Hail Mary before every sermon now since I read in St. Louis-Marie De Montfort’s Secrets of the Rosary that Our Lady appeared to St. Louis-Marie De Montfort and told him that the reason why sometimes his sermons weren’t as effective as they could be is that he failed to say a Hail Mary before them. She said, “By the Angelic Salutation, God changed the world and changed all of creation”. And, so, it will prepare the minds and hearts of people you are going to give a sermon to and give them the added grace by saying a Hail Mary. So it’s laminated and I have it sitting here. It’s just a matter of getting in the habit of doing it. But since Our Lady said it, I think I should obviously do it.
I want to say a few words this morning about a particular subject – where to begin. There is no doubt that our world is becoming more and more evil, that we are surrounded by more evil. Very recently, I think it was week before last; there were pro-life demonstrators in front of the Capitol Building in Texas. Texas has passed some new pro-life laws and we’d look at them and say, Well, that’s not perfect. But, you know, it’s going to save many lives and maybe they have to do it incrementally like that. But what they’ve done is pass laws that will save many of these babies.
In any case, the protest outside was of a Christian character. I’m sure there were Catholics there; it wasn’t precisely Catholic because they were singing things like Amazing Grace and other Protestant hymns, but still Christian in character. The video which I saw from the news station shows the pro-murder protestors there as well, the feminists and these evil people. And they are chanting hail, Satan. While that is blasphemous, I’m glad it happened because that is these people showing their true colors. Abortion is about hail, Satan. It is not about a woman’s rights; it’s not about bodies, it’s not about unwed mothers. It is about Satan worship. That is what abortion is for.
I remember an interview with Anton LaVey many years ago. He let it be known that even though he did not, of course, he said, do the practice, that the sacrifice that Satan most desires is the soul of an unbaptized baby. And that is what he is getting through his orchestration of his minions; namely, these evil pro-death people and the feminists. He is getting the sacrifice of unbaptized babies in the millions.
So, that’s just an example. We know that any time we step out into the world we are increasingly surrounded by evil. I mean look who people elected president, the closest thing to the antichrist that I can think of. And, yet, we are surrounded by people in everyday life who think he is the bees knees and who voted for him. So these people, whether willingly or not, are minions of Satan as well.
Why I am bringing this up is not to restate the obvious, but to give us some advice on what we should be doing, little things and big things. Obviously we should be pursuing our spiritual lives and learning to love God with our whole being, but there are other objects and things that the church gives us that we should not neglect, and that we neglect at the risk and danger of our souls. These things are what we call blessings.
Now, why a blessing or a blessed object in the first place? If God made it, shouldn’t it be good and holy and so forth? Well, God made things good and holy and so forth, however, in the fall of Adam, at first the entire universe, all of creation, was given over to the dominion of Satan with the fall of Adam. Now with Our Lord’s redemptive act on the cross, his dominion was overthrown but his influence was not. The devil still retains his influence over creation, if not his absolute dominion. And it’s because of this influence that we have blessings and blessed things and these certain prayers.
So what do these do? Through the intersession of the church the blessing removes the influence of Satan from a particular object or person and gives it back entirely to God. Furthermore, it invokes the patronage and the intersession of Our Blessed Virgin Mary, the angels and the saints; it invokes the power of Our Lord and the Holy Trinity, or in any combination of things. But what determines the combination of things that the blessings do? Our Lord said to the Apostles before He left this earth, “Whatsoever you ask in My name it shall be given to you”. Now, in a sense this applies to people individually according to their personal holiness. It applies much more to the church. Now, what do I mean “individually”? Well, any of you can, in a sense, bless something, not in the sense that the church does, but certainly you can bless something. Parents should bless their children frequently, make the sign of the cross over them; say, May the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost descend upon you, etc. If you were in a pinch and you couldn’t get to a priest in time but you wanted a cross blessed or something like that, you could pronounce a blessing over it as an individual, and that object or person will be blessed in the measure of your personal holiness. But our personal holiness is never equal to that of the church. And the Lord promised to the church overall, “What you ask in My name it should be given to you.”
The blessings are asking in His name certain properties for these blessings. Now these blessings are contained in a book called, The Roman Ritual, The Rituale Romanum. After Vatican II they put out another edition of this which is actually worthless. It’s not worth the paper it is printed on. It doesn’t even burn well, because we have to rip the pages out individually. Books don’t burn that good. (Monsignor laughing) So what you want is the old Roman Ritual. This contains the official blessings of the church for objects and persons accumulated over the millennia. In the old days there was a distinction, of course, between the sacraments that Our Lord left us, the seven, and the blessings. But they were called the Major Sacraments and the Minor Sacraments. Now we call these blessed things sacramental as a further distinction. But think about what a sacramental is. It is an outward sign to give an inward grace. The only problem is that a sacramental was not instituted by Christ while he was walking the earth but sometimes given to us by His Blessed Mother.
I wanted to go over a few of these things because they ask for certain things, and you should know what those certain things are. You should know what it is that these blessed objects and blessings are all about. You know, some people read romance novels; I read The Roman Ritual in my spare time, because it has all these great blessings in it that we almost never use. You don’t have to bless it to be anointed with it at the hour of death. You bless it to use in everyday life. For example, there are seasonal blessings I think. This time of year I would recommend the blessing for beer, which is found in The Roman Ritual. And if anybody wants to orchestrate an everybody-bring-a-six-pack-and-I-will-bless-it-for-you, I would be more than happy to do that. I just don’t want to do it like a million times, so one of you fans of the brewskies may want to organize this.
There is also a blessing of cheese; there’s a blessing of grapes; bread to be consumed against rabies and things on the feast of St. Wilfrid. But there are some more common ones that you ought to be familiar with. The first I want to talk about briefly is the blessing of holy water. People just think, Well, oh, may the blessing of God, bla, bla, bla, bla, bla, and it’s holy water. No. These things have intricate blessings that ask for various and specific things. The reason why I am starting with holy water is that holy water is used for all the other blessings. For all the other blessings you first do the blessing for the object and then you throw holy water on it to complete the blessing. And so we have to say, What is holy water? Well, holy water is made up of various ingredients done in various stages. We have first the exorcism and then the blessing of the salt, and then an exorcism and blessing of the water, and then the two are combined in a particular manner, and a final blessing is given to the final product. This is then used for other blessings.
I’m not going to read the whole blessing; it is lengthy, but I just want you to know (we have blessed salt in the book store) it is essentially the same blessing as the blessing of holy water, and is preferable under certain circumstances. You can actually even cook with blessed salt. It will get you the things asked for in the blessing.
So, for example for the blessing of the salt, “Be thou a purified salt for the health of believers, giving soundness of body and soul to all who use thee; in whatever place thou art sprinkled, may phantoms and wickedness and Satan’s cunning be banished and let every unclean spirit be repulsed by Him who shall come to judge the living and world by fire”.
To that end, remember I told you that you get what you ask for; especially the church gets what it asks for. The converse of that is you do not get what you do not ask for. So in the marvelous post Vatican II era where there is no more devil or hell or evil spirits; everybody is our friend now. As one priest put it, Well, we have to believe in hell but we don’t believe there’s anybody in it. They found that the new happy, fluffy book of blessings for things that contains the new happy, fluffy blessing of holy water, it doesn’t say anything about evil spirits. And, so, when the exorcists got together in Rome several years ago and had their convention led by the chief exorcist in Rome at the time, Father Gabriele Amorth who was Pope John Paul II’s personal exorcist, although he never availed him of his services personally or we might have ended up differently.
In any case, one thing they noted is that when they used water blessed with the new blessing, the devils just laughed at them. It didn’t do anything, and so they came to the marvelous realization that they had to use the old blessing.
It talks about, To drive forth and exile Satan, together with his fallen angels. “Let this creature serve thee in expelling demons and curing diseases. Whatsoever it sprinkles in the homes of the faithful be it cleansed and delivered from harm. Let such homes enjoy a spirit of goodness and an air of tranquility, freed from baneful and hidden snares. By the sprinkling of this water, may everything opposed to the safety and repose of them that dwell therein be banished, so that they may possess the well-being they seek in calling upon Thy Holy Name, and be protected from all peril”.
Now, think about your home. The devil is attacking us on all fronts. He wants to divide good Catholic homes. And sometimes you may experience bickering, fights and stuff between family members. This happens in every family. But, if you take the precaution of sprinkling your home with holy water, this will certainly be a lot less. In the heat of your wife screaming at you, I don’t recommend just throwing holy water at her at that moment, (Monsignor laughing) because it may drive out the devil, alright, but it will drive him out into the room and may fan the flames! But use it regularly. Holy water is one of those things that you should be using frequently.
Another is the brown scapular of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, with a very beautiful blessing and investiture service in the Roman ritual. First of all, I want to say that you know what the scapular is. The brown scapular is a miniature of the monastic scapular of the Carmelites. The Carmelites wear a scapular, it’s about as wide as this (Monsignor designating width) goes all the way to the ground in the front and back, and it is worn over the head like this. It is part of their habit. We don’t have the ability or even the desire, I suppose, to run around in the full habit of the Carmelites, and so they have miniaturized it for us. It hangs in the front and the back and it is a little teeny habit. The important part is that it is brown, brown cloth. It doesn’t matter, to a certain extent, what design is on it. Because people go, Oh, well, this isn’t the brown scapular. It has Padre Pio on it, or St. Michael. It doesn’t matter. Is it brown? It’s the scapular. And then there is a particular way to bless it.
Just to give you kind of an idea of what it does, “O eternal Father, Almighty God, who didst will that Thy sole begotten Son be clothed in our corruptible nature, we humbly beg Thee of Thine immeasurable kindness to pour forth thy blessing upon this garb, which our holy forefathers sanctioned to be worn as a badge of innocence and lowliness by them who have renounced the world. Let it please Thee to endow it with Thy blessing, and whosoever uses it may likewise deserve to put on Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son. We earnestly beg Thee, O Lord, that thou wouldst allow Thy gracious blessing, etcetera, and may it be divinely empowered to drive afar all vicious assaults of our visible and invisible enemies.”
So the scapular is of particular importance because it is one of the sacramental backed by Our Lady’s guarantee, the guarantee of heaven in visible form in an apparition to St. Simon Stock. It’s to drive away all (besides the other promises) visible and invisible enemies, not just demons and these kinds of things, but the people who are trying to get you. And there is no shortage of them out there. So we can ill afford to neglect that.
It also asks for Our Lady’s presence at the moment of death. And the scapular promise carries with it the fact that whatever your condition, if you are faithful to wearing the scapular, Our Lady will appear to you at the moment of death with all the graces you need for perfect contrition and to save your soul, and that if you went to purgatory you would be rescued from purgatory by Our Lady on the Saturday following your death. So try to die Friday night about midnight or so, just before midnight, and you won’t have that much time to spend in purgatory. I say that as a joke, but one of our long-time parishioners actually did die at like 11:59 Friday night. It was great because I thought, you know, There you go. He was always very devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Two more that I will mention briefly. That one, the promise was given by Our Lady. The next one is the miraculous medal, which has its particular blessing in here. Now, the miraculous medal, Our Lady herself appeared to St. Catherine Labouré and designed the medal, and said, “Here is what I want”, exactly. “You do this and have it put on to a medal and I will give abundant graces to anybody who devoutly wears it”. So, what’s in there?
“Almighty and merciful God, in virtue of the many apparitions on earth of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, it has pleased thee to work miracles again and again for the salvation of souls; be Thou gracious and pour out Thy blessing upon this medal, so that all who piously reverence it and devoutly wear it may experience the patronage of Mary Immaculate and obtain mercy for Thee.
‘May the Immaculate Queen of Heaven protect and defend you and as she is ever ready to renew her wondrous acts of kindness, may she obtain for you in her mercy whatsoever you humbly ask of God, so that both in life and in death you can rest securely in her motherly embrace.”
So not only the normal graces, but whatever you ask she shall obtain for you.
I want to mention a quickie on the side here. Merely wearing the scapular and the medals and things is an act of devotion. You had to put it on; you put it on for a reason, so you don’t have to be thinking about it all the time. Wearing it is your act of devotion. If you do think about it, if you kiss your scapular, if you kiss your medals from time to time, it is an extra act of devotion and you get the extra grace.
The final medal I want to talk about here is the medal of St. Benedict, specifically the Jubilee medal of St. Benedict, which was commissioned to commemorate 1500 years, I think it was, of the founding of monasticism by St. Benedict at Monte Cassino Abbey in Italy. The church gave it tons of blessings and exorcisms. It’s a longish blessing. That’s why if somebody comes to me and says, I have a St. Benedict medal; would you bless it? I go, yeah, leave it with me and I’ll get it back to you, because I have to go home and take out the Rituale and do this lengthy blessing, of which I’ll just tell you parts of it.
Okay, it asks for health of body and soul; of course, they all do that; it asks to gain whatever indulgences you can through it; it’s an indulgenced medal.
“Through Thy sacred passion I humbly appeal to Thee to drive away all snares and deceits of the devil from him who devoutly calls upon Thy Holy Name, using these words and symbols appointed by Thee, and may it please Thee to escort him unto the port of salvation”.
Now, symbols – if you look at the St. Benedict medal, the working side of it has kind of a cross with letters in it, and letters all around it, and letters between the arms of the cross. The blessing asks in the church’s name to confirm what is expressed in those letters. So, skipping the Latin part, they are all letters, just single-letter initials, it says, “May the Holy Cross be my light and let not the dragon be my guide.” It says, the cross of Holy Father Benedict, and then going around it, it says, Get behind me Satin; don’t give to me your vane things, they are bad or evil what you offer. Drink your own poison. And that is all expressed on the St. Benedict medal.
One of the two most indulgenced and blessed and exorcised and approved medals in the church.
Now, the very last thing to say is the blessing for all things. If you come up to me after church or before with a nondescript medal of St. Ferdinand or something like that, for which there is no specific blessing in the book of blessings, we use what we call the blessing for all things. And what it does, then, it says, “Pour out Thy blessing on this creature or these creatures and grant that whosoever uses them in accordance with Thy Will and law, and with the spirit of thanksgiving, may experience by Thy power health in body and protection in soul, as he invokes Thy Holy Name through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Parting comment: No one should be without any of these things that I discussed today. You should all have holy water in your homes at least. I have it in the arm rest of my car; it’s in my pouch in the back of the car; I have a holy water bottle in every room of my house, and I make it in two-and-a-half gallon containers with a little spigot on it, one of those like beverage kind of things that are for water. Why? Because I go through it; I use it all the time.
You’re saying, Well, that’s all very nice, Father, but I can’t be running to church filling up my bottle all the time. And the good news is you don’t have to if you listen carefully to this formula. Because I’m always getting questions after I say it. What did you say? Okay, listen carefully:
Let’s say you have some holy water at home. Let’s say you have a cup of it. You may increase the volume as long as each time you add water to that holy water you do not add more than half of what was there already in any one pouring.
So, if you have a cup, you can add a quarter cup, stir it up, wait a second, add another quarter cup, stir it up, wait a second and add more. You can make a whole swimming pool full of holy water if you so desire. But in each pouring you can’t add more than half of what was there before. And why is this? Because then it’s not what it was before. At the Masses, after receiving Holy Communion, we have the altar boy come up, and in one pouring he pours wine into the chalice because there are drops of the Precious Blood there. But when you add that much wine, the Precious Blood is no longer there. We purified the chalice so that there is no accidental use of the Sacred Blood or the Precious Body of Our Lord. So remember that part.
Okay, holy water, sprinkle it. You are having problems, you know, whatever problems, illness, the devil bothering various people in your family, sprinkle it all over the place. Go around saying the rosary, or saying a psalm, whatever, just sprinkle it and pray.
The miraculous medal, the holy scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and the medal of St. Benedict; these are the hand grenades, holy hand grenades; these are the land mines at our disposal; these are the M16s of the Christian arsenal. If you go out without these things, why would you not be wearing a scapular? Why would you not have the blessed medals of the miraculous medal and the medal of St. Benedict? Is there some problem; like, does it burn you when you put it on? Then you’ll have to talk to me and we’ll go another way. All right? But why would you not? That’s like, Oh, well, I’m a Marine; I’m a Marine and I’m about to go out there into the Afghani fight thing, but I’m just going to leave my bullet-proof vest and helmet and my gun, and I’m going to go tiptoeing through the tulips promoting peace. Okay? Well, boom! All right, the guy deserved it. Well, the same thing can be said of a Catholic who neglects the sacramental. You can’t afford to do that; you can’t afford not to have these things. Remember, the people chanting hail, Satan are out in the world and around us, and their father is looking for ways, looking for chinks in our armor, and we must have these things.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.