INCENSE BURNING DURING CATHOLIC CHURCH SERVICE
You heard it right, if I say that Incense Burners should be among the wonders of the world then I meant it. There is no doubt that these burners are no lesser than any magical force. With their unique shapes and their uniqueness in providing a soothing effect along with a beautiful aromatic fragrance. They can take your mind into an enchanting state. It can be a beautiful experience if to be placed at homes, offices, or shops, it can also be considered Holy, because of its mind-relaxing and spirituality-enhancing effects, for these reasons, these burners are even placed at Churches to provide a peaceful environment and to create a perfumed ambiance for the believers. The Incense producing burners in Catholic Churches are termed the “Thuribles”.
Read More HOW TO LIGHT OR BURN AN INCENSE CONE?
What Incense burning in Catholic Churches is termed?
The Incense burning in Catholic Churches is known as the “Thurible”. A Thurible is a metal censer attached with three or four chains or sometimes only a single chain, a metal ring is present around the chains which are used to close the Thurible, there’s a removable metal crucible present in which hot charcoals are present on which the Incense is poured. From the thurible arises the steamy aromatic smoke which symbolizes the rituals of Christianity. Incense is burning inside the Thurible, during the time of worship or ceremony. A Thurible is the most appropriate medium of Incense when it comes to Catholic Churches because of its sophisticated design.
How to use The Incense Produced by the “Thurible”?
Well, it does not take any rocket science to use a Thurible. The Incense burning in Catholic Churches is known as the “Thurible”. The thurible is the metal censer which has an attached and removable crucible present inside which the hot charcoals are present, the incense is poured on the burning charcoals for the Incense, and the smoke escapes from the windows of the Thurible if the mouth of the Thurible is closed with the metal ring. And if the smoke does not appear, the reason could be the quality of the charcoals or the coals inside could be wet, be sure to check it out before pouring the Incense. Once the Incense smoke appears, close the metal ring attached to the chains in the Thurible carefully. There is not any heavy phenomenon going on, just some basic understanding.
Step-by-step explanation on how to use a Thurible and to pour the Frankincense Incense,
One of the most affecting steps is the placement, as the open environment having the passage of air can disrupt the production of the steamy effect and the retention of the smoke (air can also interfere with the thickness of smoke). A Thurible is mostly used by the priest in Catholic Churches and it works as the Incense Waterfall burner. The only difference between the Incense burners and the thurible is that, in burners, there are cones present inside them, but in the case of Thurible, hot charcoal is present. For the best results of Thurible, it is recommended to place the Thurible in-door because even a small amount of air, be it from the vents or the windows can ruin the effect. I am sure, you would not want to ruin your best possible experience!
After the first step, you need to place the burning charcoal inside the Thurible. The Thurible has an attached and removable crucible present inside which you are going to place the hot charcoal. After placing the coals, incense is poured on the burning charcoal for the generation of smoke, and the smoke escapes from the windows of the Thurible if the mouth of Thurible is closed with the metal ring. If the smoke does not appear, the reason could be the quality of the charcoal or the coals inside could be wet, be sure to check it out before pouring the Incense. Once the Incense smoke appears, close the metal ring attached to the chains in the Thurible carefully. After the smoke produces successfully, you are all ready to perform your Christian rituals with full prosperity and dignity.
Reasons of burning the Incense in Catholic Churches
Christianity focuses on many different parameters, among them is the sanctification of their Catholic churches for God to sanctify or purify those who are faithful, they must first consecrate themselves by purifying their place of worship. It is considered one of the historical rituals of Christianity and Catholic churches to use incense as a medium to aromatize the milieu and to build a bridge of spiritual connection between God and the believers. Incense symbolizes the prayers of authentic devotees allowing them to have their keen focus on devotions. Incense sanctification in a step to holy the faithful is itself a kind of baptism and is frequently mentioned in Bible, it rinses the sins committed by being a helping hand in the pathway of light. Frankincense is the incense burnt in churches, from the days past until now, and has been proven to have antiseptic activity and disinfectant actions. Incense is the way to deliver the prayers to The One sitting on The Holy throne, “Listen to me, faithful children, and blossom, like a rose growing near a running stream. Send forth a fragrant aroma like incense, and bloom with blossoms like a lily. Raise your voice, give praise together, and bless the Lord for all his works. Tell of the greatness of his name, and give thanks when you praise him with songs on your lips and with harps.” Sirach 39: 13-14
It even followed the Jewish ritual as well which came before it. Special instructions were given to Moses by God to sanctify the earthly Tabernacles, as to unite the pattern of worship of God because His heavenly throne is being worshipped by the angels in the same arrangement. God instructed Moses on the preparation of this incense as well and called it a “Holy recipe”, “Take aromatic spices, gum resin, onycha and galbanum, and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts, and prepare a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred. Grind some of it to powder and place it in front of the Ark of the Covenant law in the Tabernacle of meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. Do not make any incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy to the Lord. Whoever makes incense like it to enjoy its fragrance must be cut off from their people.” Exodus 30:34-38
Composition of Incense Cones
Usually, Frankincense incense gives a pungent aromatic fragrance of the items, it is composed of. These are the best one could find to place at Catholic Churches because of their many beneficial effects. All these items are mentioned below:
- Various wood extracts are used, Sandalwood and a few other extracts are mixed in the formulation of the final Incense.
- Resins, a few floral incense powders, and herbs are used to provide a unique scent to these cones. Gum Benzoin resin is a balsamic resin that originated from the bark of several trees of the genus Styrax. Gum resins’ fragrance cleanses the atmosphere and is used for many purposes to concentrate while performing ceremonies or studying and can be a medium to create a bridge of spiritual connection during meditation.
- Onycha, mentioned in Christian Bible, is a mysterious ingredient having an enigmatic fragrance and could be obtained from a predatory Sea Snail, Murex whelks were among the suspected sources as well.
- Whereas Galbanum (Ferula gummosa) has a fresh earthly woody odor, Galbanum is one of the ingredients of the “Holy recipe”, Galbanum essential oil is used as a fixative in Incense. It also has insect repellent and insect bites healer properties, it also enhances mental stability and has been used since the times of Romans and Greek to specify the focus. It has been mixed with the Incense to provide a long-lasting mind-freshening effect.
- Frankincense and Myrrh are the most commonly used resins known best for their rich scented history in Christianity. Frankincense is the ingredient of the “Holy recipe” and is used by priests around the world in Christian liturgy. The most famous herb used in incense making is Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch.
- In some cases, fixative powders are also used in a few proportions.
Which Incense is burnt in Catholic Churches?
The most prevailing ingredient in the incense used in Roman Catholic Churches is Frankincense Incense. Because of its aromatic fragrance and antiseptic properties. It has also been mentioned in the Bible as the Holy incense and is one of the most important ingredients of the “Holy recipe”, it is also believed in Christianity that the St. Apostle had an apocalyptic vision of frankincense lighting at God’s heavenly throne in heaven. Also God Himself, instructed Moses to prepare the Frankincense Incense while offering prayers. That’s why Frankincense has been given moral importance in Catholic Churches.
Frankincense has a woody aroma which uplifts the mood by relieving stress and anxiety. Frankincense is also known for its expectorant and anti-inflammatory effects, it cleanses the nasal pathway promoting the relief of congestion. It improves memory, allowing one to concentrate while performing a ceremony or meditation. Hence the use of Frankincense incense in Catholic Churches offers a good atmosphere, helping the faithful to pray with complete dignity.
How to light the Incense in Thurible?
The thurible is the metal censer which has an attached and removable crucible present inside which the hot charcoals are present, the incense is poured on the burning charcoals for the production of smoke, and the smoke escapes from the windows of the Thurible, if the mouth of Thurible is closed with the metal ring. If the smoke does not appear, the reason could be the quality of the charcoals or the coals inside could be wet, be sure to check it out before pouring the Incense. Once the Incense smoke appears, close the metal ring attached to the chains in the Thurible carefully. The burning time of these Frankincense Incense is different from that of the normal incense cones. The period during which smoke is produced is comparatively long, because of the fact that the Incense is being poured on the burning Charcoals. The maximum time period of the cloudy smoke is about 10-20 minutes before the smoke would escape. The smoke produced by these Frankincense Incense is also heavier and thicker than the smoke produced by the traditional incense cones. This heavy and steamy density of the steam definitely enhances the appealing effect of the Thurible and also works as an enrichment to the Catholic Churches.
How can we pour the Incense in Thurible?
Place the Thurible at the appropriate place and fix it with the help of chains attached to it, around the chains, a metal ring is present which is used to open or close the Thurible, inside which a metal crucible is present. Place the hot burning coals inside the metal crucible and carefully pour the Frankincense Incense on the burning coals from the top, then close the metal ring. The smoke escapes through the Thurible windows.
Why use frankincense as an incense to sanctify the Catholic Churches?
Frankincense is mostly used to light at Catholic churches, because of its aromatic fragrance and antiseptic properties. It has also been mentioned in the Bible as the Holy incense and is one of the most important ingredients of the “Holy recipe”, it is also believed in Christianity that the St. Apostle had the vision of frankincense lighting in heaven. Also God Himself, instructed Moses to prepare the Frankincense Incense while offering prayers. That’s why Frankincense has been given moral importance in Catholic Churches.
What is Onycha from the “Holy recipe”?
Onycha is considered to have originated from predatory Sea Shells, it’s a mysterious ingredient that is still not confirmed yet with a mysterious Incense similar to the smell of a fingernail or a claw.
What is the role of Galbanum in the Incense burnt in Catholic Churches?
Galbanum is popular for its pesticide and insecticide properties and can be used as an antiseptic or a disinfectant. It is used to sanctify the area of prayers from bugs and insects, making a pious ambiance.
What is the Smell of the Incense used in Catholic Churches?
Frankincense and Galbanum incense produce an earthly woody odor mixed with the odor of Onycha, which resembles the smell of claws and the smoky smell of burning charcoal. All these combined provide a soothing aroma and a pious atmosphere inside the Catholic Churches.