Sunday, May 09, 2010

Wake up and smell the incense!

J.M. + J.D.

My dear readers, 
I thought it time for just a really fun blog post regarding something that we all love but maybe don't actually know that much about. Incense.......That's right, a blog post on incense used at Mass, Benediction, Processions, at home altars, etc..

Firstly to the heretic who claims that using incense is not "in the Bible"  then clearly you don't really read Sacred Scripture.  Here are a few examples:

Apocalypse 8:4
And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel.

Apocalypse 8:3
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.

1 Machabees 4:50
And they put incense upon the altar, and lighted up the lamps that were upon the candlestick, and they gave light in the temple.

Psalms 140:2
Let my prayer be directed as incense in thy sight; the lifting up of my hands, as evening sacrifice.

Luke 1:11
And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the alter of incense.

And I could go on and on but you get the idea... Anyway, have you ever wondered what kind of incense is used  by your Chapel, Parish, etc?  Have you ever asked? What are the best brands or kinds of incense used?  Have you ever used incense at your family altars? If not, why not?
Some great questions that I would like to discuss here because this is; as I said a really fun Catholic topic.

Q. Firstly, what kinds of incense blends are there besides your typical Frankincense/myrrh combinations? 
 A. There are many various blends which all give a different scent and smoke production. (personally I love billowy smoke and strong pleasant scents)

Here are 2 of my favourite blends with pictures of the boxes

We will start with one of my all time favourites...


Pontifical Blend is a resin incense and is one of the most famous Catholic incenses made by Three Kings

 This is the incense used for Vespers at the Vatican.

 Pontifical blend uses an ancient traditional recipe that combines frankincense, myrrh, benzoin and storax.

         GLORIA F8 BLEND

The F8 blend is made from all-natural imported resins and has a light lavender and rose scent. This is Gloria's most popular incense which has been produced according to exacting standards for over 60 years. 

Using incense at home....
My personal favourite at home mix is Three Kings Pontifical and Frankincense tears mixed together...

Hopefully you have a family altar where everyone comes to pray, lights candles, etc. and on the family altar should be incense.  The kind of censer you use is up to you. Some people favour the orthodox hand style  

Others prefer the more Traditional Catholic swinging censer (shown at the beginning of the blog) Regardless of what style you choose; incense can and should be used during prayers such as the Little office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Litanies, and lectio divina/spiritual reading.

Every family altar will be different and there is no set pattern or "right way" of setting it up however, most altars share certain common characteristics. most family altars include certain basic items such as statues, candles, flowers, prayer books, censer, incense (as I said above) candle snuffer, and a bottle of Holy Water. The objects and placement are at your own discretion.


Traditional Third Order of Saint Dominic said...


We share a love of incense! I am always trying to find new, quality kinds for our sacristy. I'll have to try the Pontifical Three Kings!

Grace Marie said...

That's neat! Yes, I don't understand how "devout Scripture-reading Protestants" can skip over the word 'incense' when I read it in the Bible all the time. I love the smell of incense: it is like the clouds of Heaven. One time, though, I was at a different church and they had really heavy incense I was not used to that caused my eyes to strangely water... but regularly, it is soothing.

God bless,