When Catholics know someone is ill, we can do many things. We can offer a Mass in their name. We can add their name to a parish prayer list. Or we can do what my dear friend Meredith did: We can mail the person a bottle of holy water.
My octogenarian dad has been struggling recently with a puzzling array of health problems. Meredith mailed me a bottle of holy water for him. The gesture moved me; she never even has met my father.
But when she and her family made their annual journey from Indiana to Ave Maria Grotto in Cullman, Alabama, she bought him a bottle of holy water. (pictured above) When he unwrapped it on Holy Thursday and he was moved, very moved to receive such a gesture from a stranger.
The bottle now sits now on his dresser and I told him to consider this water like a daily cologne: bless yourself every morning, saying the sign of the cross as you do.
How rich our traditions, and how comforting and powerful.