Alcohol-addicts are recommended to drink holy water with prayer upon feeling the desire to drink alcohol throughout the day. From the book of priest Konstantin Parkhomenko: I remembered a ridiculous story about one of my parishioners – a former drunkard. I meet him in church with many plastic bottles for water. He smiles: “Father, I haven’t been drinking for six months.” Me: “And how do you manage it?” – “I’m following your advice, father. You told me: “if you are dying to drink, you need to pray and drink holy water”. So, I do it. When I want vodka, I drink a glass of holy water. If I want some more, I get another glass. So, I drink about nine glasses, and every wish passes to drink something”.
By tradition, holy water is taken in the morning before meal, which is understandable: first of all, a person partakes of shrine, and then eats ordinary food. As for the remaining time of the day, the Typicon says that it is unreasonable to refrain from holy water due to eating food:
“Let it be known to everyone about holy water: those who excommunicate themselves from holy water for the reason that they have already eaten food, they do not good thing, for the grace of God is given to the sanctification of the world and all creatures. We also sprinkle it everywhere, and in different unclean places, and even under our feet. And where is the mind of those who do not drink it because of the eating food”.
That is, the Church does not prohibit drinking holy, even Epiphany water at any time, and reproaches those who believe that it is impossible to drink holy water after meal.
Is it possible to give holy water to animals?
Yes, if you can find animals that would drink it in faith. From the blessing of water prayers: “… through the descent of thy Holy Ghost make it [water] forgiveness of sins, losing of passions, deliverance from every evil, multiplying of virtues, the healing of illnesses for all they that partake of it…”.
Saint Theophan the Recluse writes: All grace that comes from God through the Holy Cross, holy icons, holy water, relics, blessed bread (artos, antidoron, prosphora), etc., including the Holy Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, is only valid for those who deserve this grace through repentant prayers, repentance, meekness, service to people, deeds of mercy and the manifestation of other Christian virtues. But if one does not have them, then this grace cannot save him, it does not act automatically, like a talisman, and is useless to wicked and seeming Christians (without virtues)”.
In former times, it was customary to sprinkle cattle for pestilence during epidemics. For example, “The prayer rite during a catastrophic cattle pestilence” indicates:
“One should know that when cattle are ill, one need to pour holy water in cattle’s drinking, sprinkle the hay and add blessed salt to cattle’s food as well”.
Obviously, the issue here was, first of all, in helping their Christ-loving owners, for cattle fed their families.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds
This quote from St. Theophan seems to imply that infants are not able to benefit from holy communion. Am I missing something?