Revisiting “Holy Water”

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As you’ve likely noticed, I’ve recently gotten “the bug” to work on music-related efforts. I am finally taking the time to get my previous CD works up on youtube and post them here, and I am beginning to get “rough drafts” of new songs recorded so I can start the process of listening and developing and so forth. It is a labor of love for me, but one that often doesn’t rise to the top of the priority list because of the rest of life’s obligations. But every now and again I force myself to make time to do it.

For those wondering when I will continue to post on my series of walking through the Catechism as it relates to prophecy, I will get to it, and I even have some stuff ready to go on it already. But I just go with the flow of the moment here, and right now I’ve got other things on the brain.

Now that I am working on getting more material in public view, I wanted to do more than just throw up the music/videos with no context to them. One nice thing about going to a concert is hearing the artist tell the story about how a song came to be. It helps add meaning to the song and the text.

Well, I kind of realized after the fact that I didn’t do any of that as I started introducing my music here. Oh, long ago I offered up a little bio and CD description, but that’s way in the archives. I’m going to correct this oversight here.

A couple years ago, I introduced the following song:
https://catholicdiatribes.wordpress.com/2010/05/02/holy-water-on-youtube/

I am going to post the lyrics here, and then I’m going to share with you how this song came to be and what the lyrics are intended to convey. Of course, like all art, the listener may take their own things from it, as well.

Holy Water
I used to think I knew what was good
I guess I thought it was all well understood
But now I know how wrong I had been
It’s good to think about life now and then

I took the water’s embrace
And I can feel the void in me it replaced
A new sense of purpose in my head
And so I stood right up and said

I love the Holy Water
I love to feel the splash upon my face
I love the Holy Water
Receiving His unending gift of grace
And I cannot recall ever feeling quite the way I felt
On that day
I love the Holy Water

Thought life couldn’t be too much more
But I didn’t know I’d shut the door
A lifetime of selfishness
Makes me proud of nothing that I did before

So I took a step back
And realized there was nothing else I could do
I had to have the water
Took the Christ plunge at the deep end of the pool

I love the Holy Water
I love to feel the splash upon my face
I love the Holy Water
Receiving His unending gift of grace
And I cannot recall ever feeling quite the way I felt
On that day
I love the Holy Water

(aaah, aaah)

I used to think I knew what was good
I guess I thought it was all well understood
But now I know how wrong I had been
It’s good to think about life now and then

I love the Holy Water (I love it)
I love the Holy Water
I love the Holy Water (I love it)
I love the Holy Water

OK, so first on the music: This is my most straight-ahead driving harder-rock song. I grew up loving rock music, and I am not of the mind that the style of music in intrinsically evil, despite many of the problematic uses of it. Christ touched the lepers and He healed them. To consider things or matter of any kind intrinsically evil is a Pharisitic quality. Now, I’m not suggesting it should be played at Mass, but neither do I apologize for pulling out an electric guitar for a Catholic or Christian song.

This song was born, quite honestly, when I first bought my recording equipment and just messed around to see how it worked. I just happened to stumble across a few chord progressions and the theme came to me and I went with it.

As I wrote the lyrics, I purposely kept it somewhat vague as to whether or not I was referencing actual holy water as blessed by a Priest, or whether or not I was using it to describe the waters of baptism, or whether or not it was emblematic of the Holy Spirit. It’s really a reference to all three.

We crazy Catholics believe in valid infant baptism, so most of us don’t actually feel (or at least remember) the emotion that comes with baptism. However, every year at Easter Vigil Masses all over the globe, plenty of adults are baptized into the faith. I try to imagine every year what they must feel at the moment that water is poured over them, and I vicariously feel a sense of awe. When I wrote this song and the theme of “Holy Water” emerged, this really was my primary focus. The lyrics were intended to not talk about me in that regard (I was baptized as an infant and praise God for that gift) but to sing from the perspective of someone who finally came to the realization that “goodness” is not something to be done on your own, but to be done with the help of the Holy Spirit, initially through the Sacrament of Baptism.

So, the baptismal allusion as an adult here is not in any way intended to convey the idea that baptism is something that should be done as an adult (or conversely NOT to be done as an infant). It is simply a story of conversion, acceptance, and regeneration.

However, the lyrics are written so as to not be limited to Baptism. We revisit our baptism every time we sign ourselves with Holy Water, or during a sprinkling rite during the Easter season. Holy Water is a powerful sacramental in the Catholic faith and we should embrace it and use it. We all know, of course, that it is still water, and that it is not magic. God is ultimately the source of all power of any sacramental. But we use physical things to constantly remind us of this, and God uses the matter He created to work with us in our spiritual journey, and through His divine power these elements become the conduit of grace. So, as simple as that all is, take a step back and how can one not “love the Holy Water!”

Of course, the Holy Spirit is behind all this. Water is often used as symbology of the Spirit, and the lyrics are intended to convey that as well. In particular, I can attest to the feeling of going to confession after a long and rocky absence. Besides the weight that was lifted, I could almost feel the infusion of grace and the Spirit that came with that experience. I LOVED that “Holy Water!”

The lyrics, of course, will not win a classic poetry contest. The style of writing is meant to work with the style of music. Yet, in all ways the intent is to be respectful to the topic.

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