The Power of Holy Water
from the Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila
"From long experience I have learned that there is nothing like holy water
to put devils to flight and prevent them from coming back again. They also
flee from the Cross, but return; so holy water must have great virtue.
For my own part, whenever I take it, my soul feels a particular and most
notable consolation. In fact, it is quite usual for me to be conscious
of a refreshment which I cannot possibly describe, resembling an inward
joy which comforts my whole soul. This is not fancy, or something, which
has happened to me only once; it has happened again and again and I have
observed it most attentively. It is let us say, as if someone very hot
and thirsty were to drink from a jug of cold water: he would feel the refreshment
throughout his body. I often reflect on the great importance of everything
ordained by the Church and it makes me very happy to find that those words
of the Church are so powerful that they impart their power to the water
and make it so very different from water which has not been blessed."
"One night, too, about this time, I thought the devils were stifling
me; and when the nuns had sprinkled a great deal of holy water about I
saw a huge crowd of them running away as quickly as though they were about
to fling themselves down a steep place."
"I will only describe something that happened to me one night of All
Souls. I was in an oratory: I had said one nocturne and was repeating some
very devotional prayers which follow it -- they are extremely devotional:
we have them in our office-book -- when actually the devil himself alighted
on the book, to prevent me from finishing the prayer. I made the sign of
the Cross and he went away. I then began again and he came back. I think
I began that prayer three times and not until I had sprinkled some holy
water on him could I finish it. At the same moment I saw several souls
coming out of purgatory: their time there must have been nearly up and
I thought that perhaps the devil was trying to impede their deliverance."