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  #1  
Old Aug 13, '11, 9:25 pm
Angela77 Angela77 is offline
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Question What is the Purpose of Incense?

What is the purpose of burning incense at Mass? What does it represent?
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  #2  
Old Aug 13, '11, 9:27 pm
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Credo in Deum Credo in Deum is offline
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Default Re: What is the Purpose of Incense?

Our prayers and supplications rising up to the Heaven.

“and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints… before God” (Revelations 8:3-4).
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  #3  
Old Aug 13, '11, 10:17 pm
Pfaffenhoffen Pfaffenhoffen is offline
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Default Re: What is the Purpose of Incense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angela77 View Post
What is the purpose of burning incense at Mass? What does it represent?


In the old times, the incense was considered perfume. Do you like it?
Now, with Channel n.5 it is outdated but I still like it.
Perfums were expensive and it ws offered to God.
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  #4  
Old Aug 13, '11, 11:30 pm
Tomcmaj Tomcmaj is offline
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Default Re: What is the Purpose of Incense?

Just don't inhale too deeply.
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  #5  
Old Aug 14, '11, 6:35 am
daCatholicGuard daCatholicGuard is offline
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Default Re: What is the Purpose of Incense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angela77 View Post
What is the purpose of burning incense at Mass? What does it represent?
Hello Angela 77, et al,

The adoption of the practice of incensation in the Christian Church is unknown; however, the earliest documented evidence of it dates back to the Fifth Century. It symbolically represents our Christian zeal; the sweet smell of virtue and an “offering up” of the Church’s prayers and supplications.

During High Mass: the Altar, Gospel, Celebrant, acolytes and congregation are all blessed with incensation. It is also done during the Consecration. It is also practiced during the Holy Office prayers of Lauds and Vespers.

I usually burn a Frankincense incense cone when I say a Rosary. You could also do when reciting the Divine Mercy Chaplet or the St. Michael Chaplet.

Hope this helps.

Oremus pro invicem,

Sean C.

Technical data provided by "A Catholic Dictionary" by Donald Attwater; TAN Publishing, 1997. (Reprinted from Macmillan Edition, 1931, 1949, 1958).
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  #6  
Old Aug 14, '11, 6:51 am
DeAquin DeAquin is offline
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Default Re: What is the Purpose of Incense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angela77 View Post
What is the purpose of burning incense at Mass? What does it represent?
The Holy Mass by Dom Prosper Gueranger, has a beautiful section in it where the author explains that the church having had the veil between this world and the next lifted a little in the Book of Revelations uses incense in order to copy the practices of the Angels in heaven 'assisting' at the Heavenly Altar. The verse he references is Revelations Chapter verses 3-4 'And another angel came, and stood before the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer of the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which is before the throne of God. [4] And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel'

It's certainly a beautiful idea!
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  #7  
Old Aug 14, '11, 9:37 am
ProVobis ProVobis is offline
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Default Re: What is the Purpose of Incense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeAquin View Post
The Holy Mass by Dom Prosper Gueranger, has a beautiful section in it where the author explains that the church having had the veil between this world and the next lifted a little in the Book of Revelations uses incense in order to copy the practices of the Angels in heaven 'assisting' at the Heavenly Altar. The verse he references is Revelations Chapter verses 3-4 'And another angel came, and stood before the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer of the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which is before the throne of God. [4] And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel'

It's certainly a beautiful idea!
Yes, this is the way I understand it as well. When the priests was offering sacrifice in the Old Testament, it was the burnt offerings that he could actually see rising to please God. That could be extended to our prayers as well.
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  #8  
Old Aug 14, '11, 9:49 am
Angela77 Angela77 is offline
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Smile Re: What is the Purpose of Incense?

Thanks everyone! This really helps!

To answer Pfaffenhoffen's question, I do like it! It smells good, in my opinion.
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  #9  
Old Aug 14, '11, 11:07 am
OraLabora OraLabora is offline
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Default Re: What is the Purpose of Incense?

Incense has been around, as part of prayer, since pre-Christian times:

Ps. 140:

Quote:
Let my prayer be directed as incense in thy sight; the lifting up of my hands, as evening sacrifice.
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  #10  
Old Aug 14, '11, 5:44 pm
Joe Kelley Joe Kelley is online now
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Default Re: What is the Purpose of Incense?

It also had filled a more practical need in those days of large crowds and no deodorants and at funerals before embalming.

There was some mention of this when the Pope recently visited St James shrine in Spain [I don't remember how spell it]. They have a huge censor which the monks swing back and forth over the heads of the crowds. In earlier time the church would be packed with pilgrims who had been walking several days in the hot sun to get there.
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I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live,
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  #11  
Old Aug 14, '11, 7:00 pm
At Trent At Trent is offline
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Default Re: What is the Purpose of Incense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Credo in Deum View Post
Our prayers and supplications rising up to the Heaven.

“and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints… before God” (Revelations 8:3-4).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pfaffenhoffen View Post
In the old times, the incense was considered perfume. Do you like it?
Now, with Channel n.5 it is outdated but I still like it.
Perfums were expensive and it ws offered to God.
Quote:
Originally Posted by daCatholicGuard View Post
Hello Angela 77, et al,

The adoption of the practice of incensation in the Christian Church is unknown; however, the earliest documented evidence of it dates back to the Fifth Century. It symbolically represents our Christian zeal; the sweet smell of virtue and an “offering up” of the Church’s prayers and supplications.

During High Mass: the Altar, Gospel, Celebrant, acolytes and congregation are all blessed with incensation. It is also done during the Consecration. It is also practiced during the Holy Office prayers of Lauds and Vespers.

I usually burn a Frankincense incense cone when I say a Rosary. You could also do when reciting the Divine Mercy Chaplet or the St. Michael Chaplet.

Hope this helps.

Oremus pro invicem,

Sean C.

Technical data provided by "A Catholic Dictionary" by Donald Attwater; TAN Publishing, 1997. (Reprinted from Macmillan Edition, 1931, 1949, 1958).
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeAquin View Post
The Holy Mass by Dom Prosper Gueranger, has a beautiful section in it where the author explains that the church having had the veil between this world and the next lifted a little in the Book of Revelations uses incense in order to copy the practices of the Angels in heaven 'assisting' at the Heavenly Altar. The verse he references is Revelations Chapter verses 3-4 'And another angel came, and stood before the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer of the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which is before the throne of God. [4] And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel'

It's certainly a beautiful idea!
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProVobis View Post
Yes, this is the way I understand it as well. When the priests was offering sacrifice in the Old Testament, it was the burnt offerings that he could actually see rising to please God. That could be extended to our prayers as well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OraLabora View Post
Incense has been around, as part of prayer, since pre-Christian times:

Ps. 140:
All correct. And one of the most wonderful things about the Gregorian Rite (TLM/EF) is it's all there, all tied together in 4 short solemn prayers !


Quote:
May the Lord, by the intercession of blessed Michael the Archangel, who standeth at the right side of the altar of incense, and of all His Elect, vouchsafe to bless † this incense and receive it as an odor of sweetness: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

May this incense, which Thou hast blessed, O Lord, ascend to Thee and may Thy mercy descend upon us.

Let my prayer, O Lord, be directed as incense in Thy sight: the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.
Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, and a door round about my lips.
May my heart not incline to evil words, to make excuses for sins.

May the Lord enkindle within us the fire of His love, and the flame of everlasting charity. Amen.


rubrics here http://mysite.verizon.net/missale/order.html
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  #12  
Old Aug 15, '11, 1:47 am
daCatholicGuard daCatholicGuard is offline
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Default Re: What is the Purpose of Incense?

Hello At Trent,

Thanks for posting those prayers- I may incorporate some of them into my prayers.

Oremus pro invicem,

Sean C.
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  #13  
Old Aug 16, '11, 10:51 am
Bezant Bezant is offline
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Default Re: What is the Purpose of Incense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angela77 View Post
What is the purpose of burning incense at Mass? What does it represent?
The Mass is formal and dry: it's pre-structured, we recite it the same way most of the time, and unless you're on the altar, it can be easy to tune out.

Incense, along with other motions, heightens the physical sense of the Mass, and keeps us engaged.

We touch (Sign of Peace, Sign of the Cross, kneeling, standing, sitting), we listen (music, dialog, prayer, bells), we see (Scripture, icons/statues, priestly vestments, altar server's vestments), we taste (the Eucharist), and we smell (incense).

Unfortunately my church is too small and enclosed to use incense regularly, and our priest restricted it to only important occasions. On Corpus Cristi a few years ago, a woman fainted, and several people are allergic to it.
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  #14  
Old Aug 16, '11, 11:56 am
ProVobis ProVobis is offline
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Default Re: What is the Purpose of Incense?

Perhaps this doctrinal statement from Session 22 of the Council of Trent may help.

Quote:
CHAPTER V.

On the solemn ceremonies of the Sacrifice of the Mass.

And whereas such is the nature of man, that, without external helps, he cannot easily be raised to the meditation of divine things; therefore has holy Mother Church instituted certain rites, to wit that certain things be pronounced in the mass in a low, and others in a louder, tone. She has likewise employed ceremonies, such as mystic benedictions, lights, incense, vestments, and many other things of this kind, derived from an apostolical discipline and tradition, whereby both the majesty of so great a sacrifice might be recommended, and the minds of the faithful be excited, by those visible signs of religion and piety, to the contemplation of those most sublime things which are hidden in this sacrifice.
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  #15  
Old Aug 16, '11, 3:31 pm
Edward H Edward H is offline
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Default Re: What is the Purpose of Incense?

to pray with all our body, our senses.
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