Have you ever heard a priest use this blessing?
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”
I love this. It’s called the Aaronic Blessing and it comes from Numbers 6:22-27. I love how God says Aaron (the High Priest and Moses‘ brother) should use it to “put my [God’s] name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
As a parent, you can use blessings too. Fathers and mothers have the spiritual authority to bless their children. Just like Aaron, you can put the name of the Lord on your kids so God will bless and protect them.
Recently I was speaking to a group of parents and mentioned how I bless my kids with holy water every night. I got blank stares. “Do you bless your kids holy water?” I asked. Blank stares again. They’d never heard of it.
So I thought I’d write about it and tell you too.
How to bless your kids
To be honest, I heard about it from Jeff Cavins. In a talk he once mentioned using the Aaronic Blessing with his daughters everyday. I thought I should do that too.
Although, I um...never use the Aaronic blessing. It’s wonderful but a bit long (not that you shouldn’t use it if you’d like to). I have a simpler approach. I put some holy water on my thumb, trace the sign of the cross on their foreheads, and say, “God bless you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Quick and easy.
A few thoughts on holy water
Holy water is powerful stuff! St. Teresa of Avila loved holy water.
You see, she was often bothered by demons and sometimes could even see them. The name of Jesus usually worked to shoo them away, but sometimes it didn’t. When nothing else did the trick, she sprinkled holy water on them. Even the peskiest demons would flee.
You think there’s no demons trying to mess with you? Think again. As a Catholic parent, you should always have holy water handy. Bless your kid’s bed, windows, closet...everything! And especially bless them.
I don’t recommend the little ceramic holy water fonts. They’re pretty but the water evaporates too quickly and you’re left with a dirty residue at the bottom. The worst is when it’s almost out and you dip your finger into a gritty mess.
I use the standard plastic bottles that have a spout at the top and say Holy Water. You can get them really cheap at any Catholic bookstore and they work the best.
When should you bless them?
I bless my kids at night before they go to sleep. I’ve done that since they were both infants. They can’t remember a time when I didn’t do this, and even the 11 year old asks for it every night.
I thought they’d get tired of me using the holy water to bless them but it’s never happened. A few times I’ve even run out and just given them a “dry blessing.” They called me on it and asked for the water.
One thing I’ve never done, but want to start doing, is blessing them before they leave the house in the morning. It hit me lately that I should be calling down the Lord’s protection on them before they leave the safe-haven of home and go out into the big bad world. And that’s really what it’s all about isn’t it?
So parents, don’t neglect to exercise your spiritual authority and start blessing your kids. It’s quick, simple, and powerful. If it’s good enough for St. Teresa, it’s good enough for anyone.
Do you bless your kids with holy water? What do you think? Tell me about your experiences with blessings in the comments. If you’ve never done this with your kids, tell me know about how you plan to start.
Copyright 2013 Marc Cardaronella
About the Author
Marc Cardaronella is the author of Keep Your Kids Catholic: Sharing Your Faith and Making It Stick from Ave Maria Press. Marc directs catechist and discipleship leader formation for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, MO. He is married, has two teen boys, and writes about Catholic spirituality and how to share the Faith on his personal blog.