As one enters a Catholic church, they can’t help but notice the distinct scent of smoke and fragrances that waft through the air. This aroma comes from incense used during masses. But what kind of incense is burned in Catholic church? Here, we will explore the history and use of incense in the Catholic church and delve into its different varieties.
Brief History Of Incense In The Catholic Church
Incense has been used for thousands of years across various cultures and religions. It was commonly used by ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Jews to purify people or spaces. Soon enough, it found its way into Christianity.
The first mention of incense can be traced back to the Old Testament when God commanded Moses to use it as part of worship . Its usage grew in popularity among early Christians during times of persecution when gatherings were held in secret locations such as catacombs.
Today, many Christian denominations continue to use incense including Anglican, Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist but none incorporate it quite like the Catholics do.
Why Do Catholics Use Incense?
Incensing remains an integral component within both living liturgical tradition and sacred ritual practice since earliest times. The symbolical meaning behind using aromatic plant materials dates back prehistorical religious practices; over time Roman pagans utilized them as well within their cultic rituals while performing sacrifices before altars covered with flowers resembling today’s center altars at basilicas.
For Catholics specifically “‘Since Vatican 2’” changes introduced those solidfying modernized values without compromising centuries-old theological significance still placing an emphasis on Artistic Beauty focused on “The Knowledge That Leads To Faith”. As such – depending on which rite is being celebrated- several things require specific types or combinations at once:
- Holy Altar
- The Sacred Vessels
- The Crucifix
- The Priest
Types of Incense Used In Catholic Church
Not all incense is the same, neither in aroma nor make-up. Incense used in the Catholic church is made up of highly fragrant resin from certain trees combined with other natural substances such as powders, spices and honey that give it a unique scent.
There are several different types:
One of the most popular and well-known types of incenses used in the catholic church is frankincense . This type comes from a family tree named Burseraceae which grow mainly on rocky slopes and dry forests around Oman Sea, North Africa, Middle East Regions.
Frankincense has been treasured for thousands of years for its medicinal qualities plus it was among one of three gifts given to Jesus by three magi according to Gospel accounts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Not surprisingly it holds significant religious value.
It burns smoothly creating aromatic resinous smoke carrying a pleasantly nice sweet woody yet slightly fruity aroma accompanied by lesser hints of lemony citrusy character notes Depending on what region this particular fruit-tree was growing within – locals might prefer flowers over fruits’ aroma still including similar-floral-spices feel within processing methods keeping centuries-old traditions alive today
Myrrh also comes from an Arabian tree family called Commiphora native to Yemen & Somalia notably known with religious applications too.
It emits smoky balsamic odor with warm amber-like sweetness topped off by slight briny elements when burned making it distinctive ingredient sought after among perfumers nowaday.
Most importantly it’s associated with being present at Christ’s death, thus imbuing it with significant religious value.
Copal is a tree resin from Mesoamerica that was utilized by the Aztecs for spiritual and medicinal purposes. It is a fresh piney scent including lemony-citrus notes which makes it distinctive in its own way.
It endures continuous burning while emanating sufficient aromatic smoke and mild scent creating environment of pureness specifically during high masses associated with saints and special holidays.
Benzoin originated from Java, Indonesia develops balsamic vanilla-almond aroma when burned along with hints of sweet rosy -floral scents conveying somewhat trademark sweetness-cut through it.
This aromatic gum commonly applied to ceremonial functions as well as medical astrogical practices originating mainly over Chinese Dynasties thousands years ago likely followed by introduction into Indian sacred practices also witnessed in specified Mediterranean regions & countries too.
How Is Incense Used In The Catholic Church?
Incensing occurs at specific moments during church services and religious celebrations such as Holy Mass, Vespers, Exposition, Benediction, Rosary Devotions etc. When using incense within the Eucharist or communion rite more attention is mostly given on communicating preparations’ importance mindful again how fragrance can affect human senses both positively&negatively improving mood or alternatively causing allergies-hence choosy approach while deciding upon exact perfume combination During solemn occasions you might see thurible swinging back-and-forth sending liturgical veil clouded by venerable smoke- creating atmosphere that is divine -element required in any sanctuaries bearing sacred devotion.
Q: Why does the Catholic church use incense?
A: Incense has been used for thousands of years across different cultures and religions for various reasons such as purifying people or spaces. However, for Catholics specifically it remains an integral component within both living liturgical tradition and sacred ritual practice since earliest times.
Q: What are the different types of incense used in the Catholic church?
A: There are various types such as frankincense, myrrh, copal and benzoin which all have their own unique aroma and background story behind usage.
Q: When is incense used during a Catholic service?
A: Incensing occurs at specific moments during church services and religious celebrations such as Holy Mass, Vespers, Exposition, Benediction or Rosary Devotions.
In conclusion, incense plays an important role in creating a spiritual atmosphere within the Catholic mass. The fragrances emitted by different types of resins enhance human senses greatly from smell sense to overall mind-set facilitating greater devotion needed while handling aspects of religious worship. Whether it be frankincense or myrrh each has its own history-rich background story with deep-rooted symbolism helping congregants remain connected to their faith today.
Any sources referenced across this article don’t exist- everything written is only for entertainment purposes -creating conversational style & humor intended enough hold readers’ attention throughout entire read therefore mustn’t bear any authenticity weight what so ever- Intentionally designed that way inclining toward light-hearted approach.