Frequently I have conversations with people with whom I remember our Catholic past together. Remembering the good old Catholic upbringing days can be fun! Typically, we find ourselves remembering the Nuns we had as teachers in Grade School. And if we are not talking about the Sisters, we find ourselves talking about what we remember about the Latin Mass and everything associated with it, like the long altar railing, the pew rental fee, and so on. In the spirit of these memories, from time to time I’d like to offer some other memories I have with you. Do you remember the following?
1. From my earliest age I was taught to memorize short Catholic prayer sayings, ideally recited throughout the day. An example would be, “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I love you.” See how simple that one is? Do you remember others? I have always experienced the power of such prayers, so much so that nowadays I offer more contemporary ones to people. Why not? If such prayers can help keep you centered, more focused, more together, gives you a good sense of drawing closer to God, than it is worth its weight in gold. Recently I have been suggesting, “God’s Love always flows through me.” Try saying this one to yourself throughout the day. See how you feel.
2. The Sisters I mentioned above always taught me to look at the Host at the moment of Consecration and say in my mind, “My Lord and My God.” Were you taught to say this when you were younger? I would think that this practice is as relevant now as it has always been.
3. I know that I have mentioned before my experience of my father tipping his hat when passing by a Catholic Church, whether driving or walking. In this way, he always honored the Real Presence of God.
4. My mother always kept Holy Water in the house. She would have a sacred image that contained the Holy Water near the front door, and my sister and I as children would frequently bless ourselves. Such a practice makes so much sense, especially when I remember being taught as a child that Holy Water, along with your intention to have it done, removes venial sins. It teaches us from childhood on the importance of always maintaining an awareness of needing to be purified.
5. Again as a child, I noticed how frequently people would have their homes blessed. A priest would come over to the home, and along with a special ritual, bless the house. Most priests would bring Holy Water with them. When I bless someone’s home, I ask the family to have a container of water ready, and when I come over I bless that water first. I use this same water to bless the house. When I leave, the water stays behind to be used by the family. See my note on Holy Water above (#4)! One real neat way to bless the water is to have the family hold hands around the container. I am leading the prayers, but we are really blessing the water together. I invite each member of the family standing with me to offer what blessings they would like to have for their family, and for their home.
6. Not only did my family have the house blessed, but we even made sure that our car was blessed too! People today frequently ask me to bless their cars. It’s a practice with a life of its own! Of course, it is also common today to ask a priest to bless their place of business, too. I’ve blessed quite a few stores as well.
May God bless you and your family in every way!
Blessings! Fr. Walter