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Incense is one of the oldest elements of religious rites and occasions. It has been used for a very long time, mainly to eradicate any demonic presence. It was very common among the Babylonians Assyrians, as well as Egyptians. It was also included in certain thanksgiving offerings in different forms.
Incense is simply a substance derived from resin produced by certain trees. The incense is burned using charcoal resulting in the production of a very sweet aroma. The incense can be combined with other different perfumes or incense types to produce a certain blend that is simply amazing.
If you have been to a Catholic Church mass or any other important occasion, you have noticed that there is a certain incense used in Catholic Church. It only makes sense to wonder what kind of incense is used in Catholic Church. You might also want to know why they use it and when it is used.
So, what incense does the Catholic Church use? We will take a deep look at this question and discuss every important aspect of the incense used in the Catholic Church. Stay tuned!
Incense Used in Catholic Church
What kind of incense is used in the Catholic Church? The most common type of incense used in the Catholic Church is Frankincense. However, the type might be different for different churches.
Ingredients in the incense at Catholic mass are usually frankincense, a combination of frankincense and myrrh, as well as copal resin depending on the church.
The ingredients might be altered as the church needs.
Frankincense, the most common type of incense used in the Catholic Church can be derived from a range of trees. However, the traditional incense, believed to be given to Jesus during His birth by the three wise men, was mainly harvested in Oman and is Boswellia Sacra. Since ancient times, supplements are added to the incense so that it has a stronger fragrance and thicker smoke.
Even though this is mainly Catholic mass incense, it has other benefits including elimination of bad odors in a certain space. In the past, people would not bathe as often as they do in the current age. Therefore, this was a very useful part of the mass.
Another ingredient in the incense at Catholic mass is myrrh. It was also part of the presents that Baby Jesus got from the wise men after His birth. There is a range of Myrrh varieties even though they have almost the same smell. The scent is resinous and sweet.
So, when trying to figure out what incense is used in Catholic mass, you have to remember myrrh. It is mainly harvested from trees mainly found in the Middle East.
The use of Frankincense and Myrrh mainly came from Arabian Peninsula. It is mainly produced by a tree known as the Commiphora myrrha tree.
Use of Incense in Mass
Now that we know about the incense used in Catholic Church, we have to discuss how it is used. Incense can be used at different junctures by an officiant during a Catholic mass. In most masses, incense is used during entrance to the church when the mass is beginning for the altar. It is also used at the proclamation and procession of the Gospel and during the elevation of the chalice containing Precious Blood. That is after consecration.
There are many more uses of this incense in mass.
Christians have used incense during religious worship for very many years. It has been a very important part of numerous religious celebrations. In the Bible, it has been mentioned more than 100 times on different occasions.
Even after Christianity was established, its use continued for worship in Jewish temples.
Reasons for Using Incense in Church
According to the Bible, in the Old Testament, God ordered His people to make use of incense. It is used for different purposes including sanctification, blessing, and venerate. The smoke produced by incense provides a certain sense of awe and mystery. The sweet aroma gives a feeling of the presence of God.
In mass, a solemnity feeling is added by incense. The smell and visual imagery reinforce the mass so that it transcends and links Earth to Heaven so that we are in God’s presence.
The use of incense can also be interpreted as a burnt offering that is offered to God. As per the Bible, burnt offerings were offered by burning animals partially or completely. The act of burning something symbolized that it was given to God.
Offering incense is a rite that is not only beautiful but also generous. Since ancient times, incense, coupled with the smoke produced by burning incense was given as different forms of gifts since the olden times. They were offered to God and other people as well.
When the incense is burnt, the smoke will normally rise and it is a symbolization of prayers going up to God.
At the same time, the smoke produced by incense symbolizes the purification of everything that it comes to contact with. People who are preparing to get Holy Communion will first start by purification of their hands. That is done by holding their hands in the smoke produced by the incense.
Also, read: Difference Between Censer vs. Thurible
What incense does the Catholic Church use? Different churches will use different types of incense but the most common types of incense used in Catholic mass include frankincense, myrrh, as well as copal. Certain supplements might be added so that the fragrance and smoke become stronger. The incense used in the church has a very wide range of meanings, as well as functions. Learning about them goes a long way in ensuring that you are fully aware and immersed in the mass.