Thursday, March 29, 2007

Why you should have holy water in the font during lent

I know the reason many churches empty their holy water fonts or even put sand in them is to

  • help us enter into the desert experience of the Chosen People and
  • to help us prepare by absence for a great renewal of baptismal grace at the Easter Vigil (in the same way we don’t say “Alleluia!”during Lent).

Unfortunately this is not biblical.  One of the things we know about the desert experience of Israel is that they had water (Ex. 17:1-8)! The Lord never totally abandons us in our desert experience, but provides a rock from which to drink—that Rock is Christ.(1 Cor. 10:4).  We have been baptized and so already have the living water flowing in us—the Spirit of the Lord is upon us.  Like the hymn says, “Peace is flowing like a river, flowing out of you and me.”  We do fast during Lent, and feast when Easter comes, but one thing it doesn’t make sense to fast from is water, especially the water that springs from the wellspring of life. The water in the font should remind us of the Rock from which Israel drank in the desert.    

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