Sacramentals have value for our daily, incarnational faith, appealing to more than simply sight among our five senses and sometimes immersing us, at least figuratively, in God’s blessings if we believe and receive them as pointers toward sacramental grace.
Blessed salt was part of our discussion. We are called to be salt for the earth, evoking the sense of taste and our ability to bring flavor (as well as preservation) to our neighbors’ lives. A blog, “Mama Needs Coffee,” from the Catholic News Agency, has a post talking about our use of blessed salt. The author talks about the power of sprinkling blessed salt around a new home, in the same protective sense that the Israelites’ sprinkling of blood on their doorposts prompted the angel of death to pass over, to sustain their lives of obedience and faith and public witness.
A priest can exorcise salt before blessing it, using the prayer found here. It is then blessed so it can be used to help drive away satanic forces. Salt is part of God’s creation—like us human creatures, it can be blessed so as to be used as a blessing to others.
A use of salt by Elijah for holy purposes is seen in 2 Kings 2:20-21. Sacramentals, not magical tools or exquisite possessions of the rich and powerful, are simple reminders, regular items of earthly material that can be used to point us to Christ—if we are faithfully receptive to God’s loving use of all creation to bless us and others
Holy water uses a substance that is truly everywhere. Paul said we baptized into Jesus’ death so that we may be saved through his resurrection (Galatians 3:27). Water is both a destroyer and life-giver. Blood and water flowing from the side of the crucified Christ represented his death and his giving of new life.
Three holy oils are prepared as sacramentals at the annual Chrism Mass celebrated during Holy Week: the oil of catechumens, the oil of the sick, and sacred chrism. Here’s a description of the use of the precious oils.