Sunday, September 9, 2012

Jesus, Leave Sponge Bob Alone

Went to an evening Mass this weekend. The priest talked for over 20 minutes -- mate, what are you thinking? You're a nice guy, but stop already.

When we walked in, there was a sponge, like this, in the holy water font:

Have you seen this? I've seen it at a couple places, and honestly, I can't figure out the rationale for the life of me. Is it supposed to be hygenic? Because pressing your fingers into a sponge that is brown with the dirt of a thousand fingers is much healthier than a little container of standing water?

When it comes to sacraments and sacramentals (things that are not sacraments themselves, but are nonetheless understood as ways we come to experience God's grace -- holy water being exhibit A), you want people to be exposed in as immediate and full a fashion as is possible. You don't want a middle man. You want to get out of the way and let God work his mojo.

No, the other mojo.  (But extra points if you get the reference. Yeah, baby!)

Liturgists and pastors, you really can't get much more diluted (also filthy) a sacramental than to actually dissolve holy water in a ratty sponge! Put it back in the storage closet or store it in a pineapple (again, extra points...) and let us have our moment with God!


Shelly said...

EWWW! A sponge? Yuck! Maybe SpongeBob stole the Pastor's mojo?

Michelle said...

I've seen these and I'm with you -- no sponges, a brimming font of water, thank you -- I can see its clarity, eh?

You're not only communicating the sense that there needs to be a mediator, but there is something so parsimonious about squeezing a few drops out of a sponge, the excess immediately sucked back into the reservoir. Not a great sign of a full measure of grace, shaken down and overflowing?

Jim McDermott, S.J. said...

So true, Michelle. So true!

Carol said...

My grandmother used to use sponges in her holy water fonts at home. It makes sense to use one, I suppose, if you're a little old lady who doesn't want to put a bottle of holy water in your purse every single week after Mass, and she could go around the house and dole out a couple of teaspoons per sponge, I mean, font, every few days. It worked okay at home, but in church? The holy water tank in my church is at least ten gallons, I'd think that the sacristan wouldn't have to worry about running out!
Hmm, maybe the priest or the sacristan's grandmother did as mine did, and the grandson thought it was a good idea without knowing why. After all, at home, it's not such a big deal with your own family's germs, but a whole parish worth of questionably clean hands? Have to agree with Shelly---EEWWWW!
FWIW, my holy water font at home doesn't have a sponge in it.

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