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Posts Tagged ‘Eucharist’

Some five years ago Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, as he was confirmed Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, stated that reception of Holy Communion according to the Church’s ancient tradition, kneeling and on the tongue should be encouraged. When asked if this were simply a question of external form, he replied that “it is not just a matter of form,” and went on to discuss the “profound meaning” of a man kneeling before God in adoration.

At the time of his statement, many believed that his concluding words on the subject may have pointed to an alteration in the Church’s current discipline for the novus ordo Mass: “What we have to grasp is that profound attitude of the man who prostrates himself before God, and that is what the Pope wants. (Emphasis mine.) Although Vatican prefects don’t generally say something is “what the Pope wants” unless they are really speaking for the Man in White himself, Pope Benedict at the time. That Canizares Llovera has earned for himself the name he Ratzingerino — the “Little Ratzinger” — is a sign of his like-mindedness with the Pope Emeritus, who was said to be amused by the sobriquet.

Several years on, since the statements above, we continue to witness worldwide triviality of Catholics while receiving Holy Communion. It makes one wonder whether there is an intrinsic problem with the way Catechism has been taught since the II Vatican council. That is, are Catholics still being taught to appreciate that Holy Communion really is the Presence of the Lord at Mass? If so, it is rather puzzling to verify that although most would not hesitate to prostrate before God should anyone be blessed with a ‘burning bush’ like encounter, most Catholics are reluctant to solemnly kneel at communion.

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It is a bedrock Catholic truth, taught by the Church since the time of the Apostles, that Our Lord Jesus Christ is truly present in the Most Holy Eucharist: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

The Council of Trent defined dogmatically that Our Lord Jesus Christ is present in every part of the Blessed Sacrament. The Council taught infallibly:

“If anyone denieth that, in the venerable Sacrament of the Eucharist, the whole Christ is contained under each species, and under every part of each species, when separated; let him be anathema.”
This means that Our Lord is present even in the smallest particle of the Host, and in the smallest particle that may fall to the ground. Thus the reverence that we owe to the Blessed Sacrament demands that we take every precaution that no particle of the Host — not even the smallest — is left open for desecration in any way.

First of all, Saint Thomas Aquinas taught that “out of reverence for this Sacrament, nothing touches it but what is consecrated.” Thus, he said the sacred vessels of the altar are consecrated for this holy purpose, but also, the priest’s hands are consecrated for touching this Sacrament. And St. Thomas said that it is therefore not lawful for anyone else to touch it, except to save it from desecration. (Summa, III, Q. 82. Art. 3)

This reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, and even for the smallest particles, was incorporated into the traditional Mass — the Old Latin Mass — which contained strict rubrics on this point:

1) From the moment the priest pronounces the words of the Consecration over the Sacred Host, the priest keeps his forefinger and thumb together on each hand. Whether he elevates the chalice, or turns the pages of the missal, or opens the tabernacle, his thumb and his forefinger on each hand are closed. The thumb and forefinger touch nothing but the Sacred Host;

2) During Holy Communion, the altar boy holds the paten under the chin of those receiving Communion, so that the slightest particle does not fall to the ground. This paten is cleaned into the chalice afterwards;

3) After Holy Communion is distributed, the priest scrapes the corporal (the small linen cloth on the altar) with the paten, and cleans it into the chalice so that if the slightest particle is left, it is collected and consumed by the priest;

4) Then, the priest washes his thumb and forefinger over the chalice with water and wine, and this water and wine is reverently consumed to insure that the smallest particle of the Sacred Host is not susceptible to desecration.

Communion in the hand and so-called Eucharist lay-ministers make a mockery of the Divine Truth that Our Lord is truly present in every particle of the Eucharist, and make a mockery of the holy rubrics used by the Church for centuries as a safeguard against desecration.

Because what happens with Communion in the hand?

The Host is placed in the hand, which is not consecrated. The communicant picks It up with his own fingers, which are not consecrated. The sacred particles fall to the ground, are stepped upon and desecrated.

Likewise with so-called Eucharistic lay-ministers, their hands are not consecrated; they should not be touching the Sacred Host. The sacred particles of the Host fall to the ground, are stepped upon and desecrated. The fingers of “lay-Eucharistic ministers” are not washed, so any particle remaining will also be desecrated.

No authority in the Church, not even the highest, can dispense a Catholic from the duty of preserving the necessary reverence owed to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Any Church leader who does so labors under the “diabolic disorientation of the upper hierarchy” warned against by Sister Lucy of Fatima, and is derelict in his duty.

Only forty-five years ago, Communion in the hand was unthinkable in Catholic churches. It was recognized for the sacrilege that it is. Only forty-five years ago, Eucharistic lay-ministers were unthinkable in Catholic churches. It was recognized for the sacrilege that it is.

But now, these abuses are permitted and promoted by a liberal hierarchy who — in this area and in many other areas — suddenly approve what the Church always rightly condemned. This “suddenly blessing what the Church always condemned” is the hallmark of the Vatican II reforms.

The truth, however, is that God does not change, and man’s duty of reverence toward the Blessed Sacrament does not change, even if we have many leaders who in their destructive liberalization of the Catholic Church, seem to care little or nothing for the true reverence we owe to Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist.

Thus, anyone who receives Communion in the hand, or who receives Communion from a Eucharistic lay-minister, or who is a Eucharistic lay-minister himself or herself — in the objective order — is committing a sacrilege. It is a misuse of a holy thing. It is a mockery of what the Church has taught and practiced. It is a desecration of the greatest gift that God has given us: the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.

The Need for Reparation

In 1916, a year before Our Lady’s visitations at Fatima, the “Angel of the Eucharist” appeared with Chalice and Host to the children. He administered the Sacred species to the three children saying, “Eat and drink the Body and Blood of Our Lord, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.” The Angel left the chalice and the Host suspended in the air, and prostrated himself before It. The children imitated him. The Angel then prayed repeatedly this act of reparation:

“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I offer Thee the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which He Himself is offended. And by the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.”

Let us commit to memory this prayer and say it throughout the day as often as possible. The “outrages, sacrileges and indifference” toward the Blessed Sacrament. Sacrilege is so commonplace that it is no longer recognized as sacrilege. The need for reparation is colossal.

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Jesus said: “Whoever comes to Me will never hunger, and whoever believes in
Me will never thirst” (Jn 6:35).

JESUS CHRIST,  MARTIN LUTHER OR HULDREICH ZWINGLI?

Behind the high altar of the Benedictine Church of Ottobeuren in Swabia, Germany, there is a painting representing Christ, whose countenance radiates heavenly calm and divine majesty.  On one side of Him is Luther and on the other Zwingli.  Beneath the picture is written:

“Christ says, this is my Body; Luther says, this will become my body; Zwingli says, this represents my body.”

Which of the three is correct: Jesus Christ, Martin Luther, or Huldreich Zwingli?

THE HOLY BIBLE: THE MOST AWESOME STATEMENTS EVER MADE

Of all the books ever written—in the history of the world—it is most probable that the only statement of a truth ever mentioned nine (9) consecutive times is found in the Holy Bible, St. John’s Gospel, the sixth chapter,verses 48-58:

(verse 48): “I am the bread of life.”
(verse 49): “Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.”
 (verse 51): “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
(verse 53): “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”
(verse 54): “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
(verse 55): “My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.”
(verse 56): “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”
(verse 57): “Just as the living father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.”
(verse 58): “This is the bread that came down from heaven.  Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
(verse  6l):
“Does this shock you?”

No words Our Lord spoke were ever more relevant than “Does this shock you?”

THE FOUR EVANGELISTS

The Four Evangelists quote Christ’s Divine authority on this matter and they not only affirm what He said, they actually equate His body and blood in the Holy Eucharist with His body and blood offered on the cross!  They, therefore, are both literally true or they are both symbolic!
(Mk l4:24): “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.”
(Lk 22:l9):  “This is my body, which will be given for you.”
(Mt 26:28): “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.”
(Jn 6:5l): “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever, and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

History proves Christ did offer his real flesh and blood on the cross—therefore His real flesh and blood are available to us in Holy Communion.

FOOD THAT ENDURES

Recall Christ’s words: “Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for that which endures unto life everlasting which the Son of Man will give” (Jn 6:27).  Only a Catholic priest, by the power of the Holy Spirit, can give us the Bread “which endures unto life everlasting,” by changing bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ—the Sacred Host, the Holy Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament.  The bread and wine at Mass, “By the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ’s Body and Blood” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1333). 

SYMBOL?

“When you look at the crucifix, you understand how much Jesus loved you. When you look at the Sacred Host you understand how much Jesus loves you now” (Mother Teresa of Calcutta). 

Protestant denominations claim that at the Last Supper, in His last will and testament, Jesus Christ, God and man, who said: “I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world” (Mt 28-20), meant He was going to leave us a symbol of Himself—but not literally Himself! 

Who can possibly conceive of a dying father, whose only surviving family members are a daughter and a son, in his last will and testament, presenting a picture of his multi-million dollar home to his daughter and saying:

“Sweetheart, here is a picture of my beautiful home.  I leave this picture to you as a remembrance of me.”  And, to the son, presenting a picture of his lucrative family business and saying: “Son, here is an aerial photograph of my huge multi-million dollar business.  I leave this picture to you as a remembrance of me.”

THE CHALLENGE

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (l774-l82l), Foundress of the Sisters of Charity, and a convert, offers all Protestants this challenge: “The words of our Lord are clear enough when taking bread He blessed it, broke it, and gave it to His disciples and said: “Take and eat: this is my Body . . .”  I defy Protestants to produce the authority of any of the Fathers of the first four centuries (whom they often quote as good authorities to prove religious truth), in support of their opinion that the words of Jesus Christ in the institution of this sacrament are to be taken in a figurative sense.” 

St. Justin Martyr, an Early Church Father, explains: “We do not receive this food as ordinary bread and as ordinary drink; but just as Jesus Christ, our Savior, become flesh through the word of God and assumed flesh through the word of God and assumed flesh and blood for our salvation, so too we are taught that the food over which the Eucharistic prayer is said, the food which nourishes our flesh and blood by assimilation, is the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ.”

THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE“You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to Me; and yet you refuse to come to Me that you may have life” (Jn 5:39).  Would He who said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn l4:6) confuse?  Would He who said “I came into the world, to testify to the truth” (Jn 18:37) lie?  Would He who said “If I speak the truth, why do you not believe me” (Jn 8:46) deceive? 

“PILLAR AND MAINSTAY OF TRUTH”The Bible says the Church—not the Bible—is the “pillar and mainstay of truth” (l Tim 3:l5)!  The ex-Satan worshipper Betty Brennan, in speaking to a Pentecostal prayer group, said of the Bible and the Church that gives us the Eucharist:
“For years, for years, I have persecuted the church.  When I left and went back to the church, I picked the Roman Catholic Church because every Satanic ritual is a take-off on the Roman Catholic Sacraments.  They [Satanists] know what the Eucharist is . . .  if everybody here, and everybody that came into the renewal, understood the Sacrament of the Eucharist—the Word enfleshed—they would not end up in a Pentecostal Church with a relationship with a book—how can you leave a Sacramental Church and go to another denomination following a word, a book?  The word of Jesus Christ brings you to the Word enfleshed, the Eucharist!

“Do you know that if there was a bona fide witch here, and you put out thirty hosts, or a thousand hosts, and only one was consecrated, they would know immediately which one was consecrated—because of the presence!  And yet we will go to x amount of prayer meetings, x amount of time with our prayer partner, but we don’t have that desire to be one with the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ Himself!” 

THE HOLY EUCHARIST—JESUS WITH US—2,000 YEARS

lst century: St. Paul gave witness to these words of Christ: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes ” (l Cor 11:26).
Over the centuries, whenever the Real Presence of Jesus was questioned, the Church continued to affirm the truth that in the Sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1374; Council of Trent 1551: DS 1651).

20th century:
“The Second Vatican Council rightly proclaimed that the Eucharistic sacrifice is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’  ‘For the most holy Eucharist contains the Church’s entire spiritual wealth: Christ himself, our passover and living bread. Through his own flesh, now made living and life-giving by the Holy Spirit, he offers life to men.’ Consequently the gaze of the Church is constantly turned to her Lord, present in the Sacrament of the Altar, in which she discovers the full manifestation of his boundless love” (Pope John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 1).

TRUE WORSHIPERS: PERSONAL FRIENDS OF GOD

“The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship Him” (Jn 4:23).  When we come before the Holy Eucharist we worship God in “spirit and truth,” offering Him our adoration, thanks and praise. 
“The Eucharistic gift assumes even more awesome proportions when we reflect that . . . the total Eucharistic mystery [also] includes the presence of both the Father and the Holy
Spirit”
(Fr. Richard Foley, S.J.). 

“To be alone with Jesus in adoration and intimate union with Him is the greatest gift of love—the tender love of our Father in Heaven”  (Mother Teresa of Calcutta).

“Could you not watch one hour with Me?” (Mt 26:40).  Jesus asked His disciples for their true friendship, to watch, wait and worship.  Jesus watches and waits for us in the Holy Eucharist today, to heal, console and strengthen us.  Jesus longs to be our True Friend, and fill us with His love, joy and peace.  In our hour of Adoration, we enter into a personal relationship with God.
            
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen gave witness to the awesome movement
of hundreds of thousands of souls, Catholic and non-Catholics, who were inspired to accept his challenge of making  a daily Holy Hour.
 

Over 100,000 Protestants, said Archbishop Sheen, pledged themselves to spending this daily “hour of power” with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

THE GREATEST LOVE STORY OF ALL TIME!

The noted English writer, J. R. R. Tolkien, loved his Catholic Faith.  The heart and soul of his love was the Holy Eucharist, and Christ’s presence in the Mass.  To him this was the graduate school of divine love.  When his son, Michael, said that his faith was weakening, Tolkien wrote to him: “Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament . . . .  There you will find romance, glory, honor, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth” (J. R. R. Tolkien).

God can give no greater gift than Himself!  “The greatest love story of
all time is contained    in a tiny white Host”
(Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen). 

Every thing in the world pales into in significance when compared to the Holy Eucharist. This is why Church Father and Doctor St. Augustine could say

“Although God is all-powerful, He is unable to give more; although supremely wise,
He knows not how to give more; though vastly rich, He has not more to give,”and why St. Bernard could say “The Eucharist is that love which surpasses all
loves in Heaven and on earth.”  Heaven has nothing greater!

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Holy Eucharist

The testimony of Scripture and the Early Church is clear. When Jesus recited the prayers over the Passover bread and wine at the Last Supper, saying “This is my body” (Mt 26:17-30, Mk 14:12-26, Lk 22: 7-22), the Church has always believed that the Eucharistic the substance of the elements were transformed into his literal Body and Blood. This is called the transubstantiation miracle which happens daily at Mass all over the world.  The Catholic Church has been proclaiming the Eucharist mystery for the past 2000 years. 

The Eucharist is a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Father, a blessing by which the Church expresses her gratitude to God for all his benefits, for all that he has accomplished through creation, redemption, and sanctification. Eucharist means first of all “thanksgiving.” 1361 The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of praise by which the Church sings the glory of God in the name of all creation.(Catholic Catechism)

I regret that so many Christians do not take literally this command of our Lord. Most denominations believe Jesus was talking figuratively and that  he never meant for us to receive His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity at communion. So why do Catholics are so strict about this particular teaching of Jesus? I suppose the shortest answer to this is: Because that is what Jesus told us to do! 

But how do we know that the Apostolic teaching included faith in the Eucharist as Real Presence? The Scripture is clear, in 1Cor 11:27,28, written only twenty years after Jesus’ death, St. Paul tells us that the bread and cup of the Lord’s Supper is so sacred that the person who partakes without examining his conscience, ‘sins against the body and blood of the Lord’, could even make himself ill. 

Further more, there are records of the early Fathers of the Church as well as Apostolic writings that attest to that the early Christians took literally Jesus’ teaching that “the bread I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (Jn 6:51). By examining these early writings, we discover that  the Eucharistic “traditions that you were taught” (2 Thes 2:15), are interpreted precisely the same way by the RCC of today as they were two millenia ago. 

So what did the Apostolic Fathers write about the Eucharist?

The Didache, 50 – 100 AD:

Also called the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, the Didache is a manual of catechetical instruction and liturgical procedure. It is the oldest existing document of Christian antiquity and it says: 

Consecrated Eucharist is sanctified: ‘Let no-one drink of your Eucharist but those baptized in the name of the Lord, for concerning this also did the Lord say: “Do not give to dogs what is sacred” (Chapter 9).
“Upon us, however, you have bestowed spiritual food and drink, and eternal life through your Servant”. (Chapter 10)
“If anyone is holy, let him advance [to the altar]; if anyone is not, let him be converted” (Ibid). 

Eucharistic Sacrifice:

“On the Lord’s Day (Sunday), assemble in common to break bread and offer thanks, but first confess your sins, so that your sacrifice may be pure” (Chapter 14) 

St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, 35-107 AD

A disciple of the Apostle John, who wrote the letters to various local churches on his way to Rome to be thrown to the beasts i the arena. The letters reveal internal conditions of early Christian communities. 

“From the Eucharistic and prayer they [ Donastic heretics] hold aloof, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who suffered four our sins…And so, those who question the gift of God perish in their contentiousness” (Smyrnians,7). 

The Eucharist is “the medicine of immorality, the antidote against death, and everlasting life in Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 20:2). “Take care then, to partake of one Eucharist; for one is the Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one the cup to unite us with His Blood” (Philipians 4). “Let that Celebration of the Eucharist be considered valid wich is held under the  bishop or anyone to whom he has committed this” (Symerians, 8:1). 

Ever since the begining of Christianity, not only faith in the Eucharist and the Real Presence is explicitly expressed, but so is our own hierarchical Church structure, with the local bishop passing on his authority to the priest. There is a wealth of records that attest to the doctrine of the Eucharist in the  Catholic Church throughout its history, from as early as the first century, as shown above.  I used the writings of Daniel Gallilo “Christ Lies Here Slain” as a reference for this post, and would not hesitate to recomment it to those who are interested in further readings on the Holy Eucharist.  

Recent Eucharistic Miracle

It is well documented that various Eucharist Miracles have taken place in the history of the Church. I believe the most recent ones are those that have taken place through Julia Kim, a pious Catholic woman, who since the early 90’s has been involved in twelve Eucharistic miracles; of which the most recent one happened in February this year. These miracles are currently being investigated by the Vatican.  

Besides the mysterious events related to the Eucharist, Julia Kim is also known to occasionally feel the pains of the Crucifixion and tortures endured by Jesus, especially during Good Friday.

  

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The Catholic Worship is called Holy Mass and, unlike what people might think, it is not the same as an ordinary  Christian ‘service’. In fact,  a Catholic Mass is not a service, but  both a Sacrifice and a thanksgiving celebration. However, even before Mass begins there are many things one sees in church, such as blessing with Holy Water, The Sign o the Cross and so on, that may seem strange at a first look, but all these ‘funny’ traditions can be easily explained as they all have a reason d’etre.

Candles in Church – Symbolize the Teachings of Christ, ‘the light of the world’ ( John, 8:12). They also symbolize prayer. Whenever someone cannot physically be or stay in church to pray for a special petition, it is common that they will light a candle to symbolize their prayer that will be said somewhere else whilst the candle burns out. 

Incense – Also used a symbol of prayer since biblical times. The smoke floats upward to God representing our prayers (Rev. 5:8, 8:3-4). Incense is also used as a symbol of purification.

Statues, Carvings and Pictures of Saints – This custom goes back to the Bible, when God commanded to the Israelites to fill their places of worship with images of angels (Exodus 25:18-20, 1 Chronicles 28:18-19, Ezekiel 41:17-20). This is because holy places symbolize heaven, and to remind us of that, God had them place representations of the inhabitants of heaven in their place of worship. Furthermore, the ancient Christians, before the Bible was compiled by the Church, were mostly illiterate people who could not read. Using paintings, statues and images to depict scenes of the Gospel or Biblical characters was a practical and effective way of teaching the Gospel, passing it on and keeping alive the teachings of Jesus.

The Tabernacle – Is the place where the Eucharist is kept for the devotion of the faithful and so that it may be taken to the sick. The Tabernacle is like the Biblical Ark of the Covenant that held the manna God send from heaven for the Israelites to eat ( Exodus 16:4). Jesus in the Eucharist is the manna that God had sent from heaven to the Christians to eat (John 6:32,41). In this way, the Tabernacle that holds the Eucharistic is like the Ark of the Covenant.  Catholics believe Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist, this is why to show their respect, people genuflect or kneel briefly when they pass in front of the tabernacle.

The Priest Vestments – Catholic priests cannot wear just any clothing while performing ecclesial ceremonies, especially while celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The liturgical vestments have by no means remained the same from the founding of the Church until the present day. There is as great a difference between the vestments worn at the Holy Sacrifice in the pre-Constantinian period, and even in the following centuries, and those now customary at the services of the Church, as between the rite of the early Church and that of modern times. The liturgical vestments of the Latin Rite are: the amice, alb, cincture, maniple, stole, tunicle, dalmatic, chasuble, surplice, cope, sandals, stockings (or buskins), gloves, mitre, pallium, succinctorium, and fanon.

The Blessing with Holy Water –  Catholic Churches often have holy water fonts, or a baptismal font,  just inside the main Entrance of the church, in which the faithful will dip their finger into and bless themselves as they make the sing of the cross. Old Testament Jews washed with water before entering the Temple precincts.  Building on a ritual familiar to the Jews, John the Baptist used water to represent repentance of sin and purification. So when we cross ourselves with holy water entering and leaving the church, we recall that history.  But we also refer to our Baptism when the priest used water to symbolize the washing away of our sins and to protect us from evil.

 

 

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