Sand in the Stoup
The Bear has been pleased this Lent to find water in the stoup. Perhaps it is a fad that has seen its day.
In past years, it has been sand, or two sticks crossed. This innovation is supposed to symbolize a desert without water, and make us long for Easter. That's fine if you think holy water is just a symbol. You can play with it however you want to symbolize different things. You could put M&Ms in the stoups on Easter to symbolize that the fast is over. (The Bear would enjoy that year round, come to think of it.)
But holy water is not just a symbol. It is water that is really and truly holy because it has been formally blessed by a priest. It is an assistance against demons, or at least so many saints have testified. It is salutary for all Catholics, which is why many of us retain the practice of keeping a small stoup by their door. Lent, of all times, is when we need all our weapons.
Oh, that's so militaristic, Bear. Yep. That's why they call it the Church Militant. St. Paul tells us to put on our Roman armor, piece by piece, and pick up our sword. St. Michael the Archangel leads the hosts of the God of Armies, and our sweet little Virgin Mary grew up to be a warrior queen who crushes the serpent's head beneath her foot. It's personal.
What kind of Catholicism are you playing at if you don't know you're in a fight for your soul and the souls of everyone you care about?
This is what happens when people are given leave to mess with things they don't understand.
The Bear remains amazed at how little of the real art and science of symbolism remains in the Church. It is, the Bear thinks, because the Church no longer appreciates the realities that are symbolized, and therefore doesn't get symbolism. Now symbolism is a word for some improvisation that seemed good to someone at the time.