“Discuss the significance of water in the Church – Baptism, Theophany, holy water, etc. – and what this suggests about our responsibility for the natural world.”
Good morning Father Theofanis, Honorable Judges, Ladies and Gentlemen and Fellow Speakers.
You can go three weeks without food yet only one to two days without water. Why is this substance so vital to our existance? How a simple chemical reaction of three atoms- two hydrogen and one oxygen can be crucial to our survival. One drop of this clean, crisp pure essence can heal and renew us.
About 71 percent of this planet is immersed in this outstanding creation by God. One of his many wonders. One of life, one of joy and one of hope. One of what I fuel myself before running a mile. One of which is home to the fish in the sea that provide us with nourishment. One which helped introduce me to the church. One which is added to the chalice during Communion. One which blesses my home as a fresh new start to the year. But like everything this has its falls. This substance can sabotage us of our chance to live a magnificent life. It is the one that immerses entire towns to their extinction. One that prevents oxygen to supplying our needy lungs so we sink to the bottom. One of the tears that roll down my soft checks when I am in pain. Yet holy water is free of things that do us harm. It gives us spiritual strength we can use to insure God is with us every step of our challenging lives. However it is not pure magic. It is not a fantasy or perhaps say an illusion that is just in our heads. It is a shield of faith against evil. A visual way for God to transmit us His grace. One drop is enough to be blessed. Just one small drop can bless the entire world. Think of it like this. If one priest blesses a river it doesn’t seem like enormous act. But some of it evaporates into the damp air and some of this crisp liquid hydrates the birds, small creatures and rich brown hued deer. So all the animals are blessed. The water that evaporates then rains down all over the dry plains and moist trees, forests and houses and blesses the entire land, and then slowly the whole humongous world can be blessed by the single drop holy water the priest gently poured into the river. This is a miracle holy water can bring.
A priest also uses water to baptize us. Jesus was baptized by St. John the Baptist in the deep Jordan River. Every year the day before the Epiphany during the blessing of the waters a unique miracle takes place. The robust current of the river changes direction. All the faith of my soul and the many lessons I’ve learned gives me the knowledge to know that this is not some coincidence, but a miracle of Jesus becoming a Christian. Becoming blessed and ready to worship God and follow His teachings. The miracle of water.
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