Matthew D. Herrera
Holy Smoke – The Use of Incense in the Catholic Church
In the Old Testament God commanded His people to burn incense (e.g., Exodus 30:7, 40:27, inter alia). Incense is a sacramental used to venerate, bless, and sanctify. Its smoke conveys a sense of mystery and awe. It is a reminder of the sweet-smelling presence of our Lord. Its use adds a feeling of solemnity to the Mass. The visual imagery of the smoke and the smell reinforce the transcendence of the Mass linking Heaven with Earth, allowing us to enter into the presence of God. The smoke symbolizes the burning zeal of faith that should consume all Christians, while the fragrance symbolizes Christian virtue.
Online Edition – March 2005 Vol. XI, No. 1 Sanctus Bells Their History and Use in the Catholic Church by…