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!
Scripture References for The Show
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.
- 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.”
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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?
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