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 | By Father Charles Irvin

A Joyous Home Blessing

As I drove up and parked in front of the garage, they were there in the living room window watching for my arrival, Thomas, four, (aka “Spiderman”) and precocious Mary, two, blond, blue-eyed, and with a smile that steals your heart away. Andrew and Melissa, the thirty-somethings mom and dad living in Hillsdale, MI, had invited me for dinner and to bless their never-been-blessed home. Daddy Andrew was cooking dinner and mommy Melissa was feeding Steven, their seven month old new little boy.

Asking for a small bowl of water I exercised my priestly powers and transformed tap water into holy water using the Church’s rite of blessing, all the while bringing to mind the waters of the Red Sea, Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist, and the water that flowed from His pierced side as He hung dying on His Cross. Water is so elemental to life. No wonder, then, that water is the element of the foundational Sacrament of Baptism. The prayers employed by the Church for making holy water are beautiful, meaningful, and instructive even when prayed on a kitchen counter over a bowl of tap water. Spiderman Thomas and Precocious Mary intently listened as I prayed the prayers and mom and dad prayed the ritual’s responses.

Then the fun began. Asking for a small paintbrush I made the rounds through all of their home’s  rooms, dipping the paintbrush in the bowl of holy water and flicking drops (streams?) of water everywhere. Squeals and giggles erupted whenever I “mistakenly” flicked water on the kids. Oh, what fun! We weren’t scampering through the front yard’s sprinkler in the summertime, we were actually spraying water INSIDE the house in the wintertime (and mom and dad weren’t upset with us for doing so!). What joy! What giddy delight!

Well, needless to say, the home was thoroughly “baptized” and I had two little new friends for life. Not only that but I enjoyed a delicious supper cooked by a husband who cooks meals, washes diapers, and cleans the house whenever mom has other things she must do. I can’t tell you how very much I admire these young husbands and fathers of today.

What happened the next day is really sweet. Melissa e-mailed me that Spiderman Thomas and Precocious Mary were closely listening to and watching the ritual for making holy water and blessing a home with it. Melissa tells me that during the following day the children took the remaining holy water with the paintbrush and went throughout the house giving it another “baptism,” even lining up a row of books on the living-room couch and blessing the make-believe congregation with the waters of salvation. What a joyous house-blessing with God’s rivers of grace!

While I can’t be a Daddy I can be a Father. And it’s a joy!