12_”How”: Holy Smoke! – Incense

My pastor loves the liturgy; he uses incense like a fumigator when it’s called for. By the end of the weekend’s Masses you have to part the smoke with your hands to see the altar. The old ladies cough and sneeze and dab their rolling eyes, but I love the way it gets in my clothes and hair. I take it home and inhale the scent of prayer for the rest of the day. Combining incense, liturgy, sacrifice, and prayer was God’s idea!

Thank you, Friends of the Show, for loving and lifting me :)

LOVE the Word™ is a Bible study method based on Mary’s own practice: lectio without the Latin.

L – Listen (Receive the Word.)

O – Observe (Choose one or more of the following personality approaches to connect the passage to your life and recent events.)

F | Franciscan – Perhaps you might plan an old-fashioned prayer meeting at your parish? Let’s just pray for each other!

I | Ignatian – Spend some time in Adoration this week. Take careful note of all you sense there. You might also burn liturgical incense in your home. How do you feel when you smell it?

A | Augustinian – When do you find it difficult to pray? Consider how precious and potent your prayer is when you offer it as a sacrifice in those moments. What comes to mind? What was the most sacrificial prayer you remember ever praying? What has God said to you about your prayer habits through this week’s show?

T | Thomistic – Maybe you’d like to obtain some blessed salt, this week, and sprinkle it around your house.

V – Verbalize (Pray about your thoughts and emotions.)

Remembering that He loves you and that you are in His presence, talk to God about the particulars of your O – Observe step. You may want to write your reflections in your LOVE the Word journal. Or get a free journal page and guide in the right-hand margin.

E – Entrust (May it be done to me according to your word!)
Thank you Lord, for granting us the petitions you have inspired us to ask, through Christ our Lord. Amen +

*LOVE the Word™ exercises are offered according to FIAT: the four personalities, or “prayer forms,” explored in Prayer and Temperament, by Chester Michael and Marie Norrisey: Franciscan, Ignatian, Augustinian, and Thomistic: FIAT! These prayer forms correspond to the Myers-Briggs personality types.

Notes and References

Old Testament Incense

Exodus 30:1-10, description of the tabernacle incense altar
Exodus 37:29, second description of the tabernacle incense altar

Incense included salt

Ezekiel 16:4 – salting newborns

2 Kings 2:19-22, salt used to cleanse undrinkable (bitter) waters

Numbers 18:19, “covenant in salt”

2 Chronicles 13:5, David is an eternal king through a salt covenant

Psalm 141:2, incense = prayer
Malachi 1:11, Old Testament prophecy of the time when Gentiles (non-Jews) would offer a “pure offering” accompanied by incense

New Testament Incense

Luke 1:8-11, Zechariah offers incense in the temple at the hour of prayer
Mark 14:32-36, “Not my will but yours.”
John 17, Jesus prays for us
1 Thessalonians 5:17, Pray without ceasing.
James 5:16, The continual prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.

Heavenly Incense

Revelation 5:8, incense = prayer
Revelation 8:3-5, incense = prayer

St. Therese of Lisieux, Autobiographical Manuscript C, 25: “For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and love, embracing both trial and joy.”

Episode Resources

Fulfilled, Uncovering the Biblical Foundations of Catholicism, Chapter 10, Holy Smoke

Ignite, Chapters 6 & 7, The How of the Bible

Come join the chatter on the Facebook community. What’s the most sacrificial thing you’ve ever offered God? Tell me your #LOVEtheWordtakeaway for this week’s show.  

Read the Transcript

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6 thoughts on “12_”How”: Holy Smoke! – Incense

  1. urine is sterile!
    people in the desert drank their urine when nothing else was available.

    i often think of the healing of gargling with salt water when i had such
    infected tonsils and penicillin and steroids proved useless against this
    incredible infection. after being out of school for 6 weeks, mono too, beginning
    to gargle with salt water all on my own idea on friday, i was able to go to school
    on monday. go figure.

  2. This episode was so full of beautiful info that I had to stop and register it in my head several times! One of the best ever Sister!!! Thank you so smokin much!! lol. Peace and love out.

  3. When reading from Exodus ch30v34, about 13:20 minutes into the podcast, it says you shall not make any for yourselves. Whoever makes any like it to smell of it shall be cut off from among his people. What does this mean for us who enjoy the smell of incense and purchase the scent to perfume our homes?

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