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The Symbolism of Incense.

The mystical meaning of incense is not difficult to comprehend. By its burning it symbolizes the zeal with which the faithful should be animated; by its sweet fragrance, the odor of Christian virtue; by its rising smoke, the ascent of prayer before the throne of the Almighty. As St. John tells us in the Apocalypse, or Book of Revelations: "The smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended before God from the hand of the Angel."

[Also, incense creates a cloud. A cloud is a symbol for God the Father. For example at the Transfiguration, a cloud appears and from it comes the Voice of God. In Acts 1:8 Jesus enters a cloud. Also in Exodus, the people are lead by a pillar of cloud, Exod. 13:22; and in Exodus 40:34 the cloud settled on the meeting tent and the glory of the Lord filled it. Thus the cloud of incense should remind us of God whose presence is revealed by a cloud.]

The use of incense, then, is a beautiful example of the wisdom of our Church, which adapts to our own purposes all that is good in every creed, all that will typify the spirit with which she wished her children to be animated, all that will aid them to attain to true fervor, all that will add solemnity to the worship which she offers to God."




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