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Full Version: What is so offensive about incense?
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As an altar boy, the one thing I looked forward to the most was being a thurifer at the Easter Masses.  I'd always be the first to volunteer.  If I got to incense the priest and the people, I was pretty happy.  Once at Holy Saturday, I stood behind the priest for the entire Gospel and homily, not realizing that I was supposed to put the thurible outside after the Gospel.  A thin haze of smoke filled the sanctuary, and the priest and people talked about it for a while after that.

However!

People always grumbled about the priest whenever he brought out the incense.  As soon as someone caught a whiff, and especially when it was actively being used during Mass, people would start coughing loudly.  One year, a 12 year old girl came right into the sacristy before Holy Thursday Mass and told the priest that she and her grandmother would be leaving before Mass if the priest decided to use incense!  The priest, who also liked using incense, looked at me and sighed and told me that we wouldn't be using the incense.

So, is it really all that bad?  Has anyone ever had an asthma attack from incense during Mass?  Have people been killed by incense?
I cannot recall the person I know who was diagnosed with asthma as a child ever complaining about incense.  He did often complain about perfume though.
You bet perfume even a little can gag me, but not incense. Tim's sneaky mind is thinking it's like holy water it burns the enemy.

tim
Quote:Tim's sneaky mind is thinking it's like holy water it burns the enemy.
:LOL: :LOL: :LOL: :LOL: :LOL: :LOL: :LOL: :LOL: :LOL: :LOL: :LOL: :LOL:

It lifts the mind to heaven :grin: Incense is the awesome! :grin:
My wife is pregnant and she now prefers low mass, as the high mass is full of incense and fragrance and it nauseates her. Plus, she feels like she's smothering a bit from it all. Yep. So, we've been attending the low mass at the Ordinariate church.
I always loved incense, but occasionally deal with pulmonary issues and I do find it exacerbates symptoms.  I had a pulmonary embolism a few years ago and it took forever to be weaned from a vent, so I went home and had a tracheostomy for awhile and could not do Masses with incense (or anything that involved smoke at all) because it went straight into my lungs.   I really enjoy the sensory experience from the incense and the smell does draw my mind to heaven but I couldn't smell much with a trach anyway.

The church we go to is large enough that if we sit in the back, and away from the aisle, the exposure isn't as bad but I still had trouble getting through a Mass.  We usually go to low mass anyway because my son has an easier time sitting through it.  Thankfully my lungs have recovered to the point where I can sit through a mass with incense again
I like insense but whether we us it or not depends on the priest..
:incense: :incense: :incense:
(09-14-2013, 09:45 PM)Tim Wrote: [ -> ]You bet perfume even a little can gag me, but not incense. Tim's sneaky mind is thinking it's like holy water it burns the enemy.

tim
That is exactly what I was thinking.  Of course I have been reading too much Gabriel Amorth. :LOL:
I am a collector of rare and discontinued perfumes. Many older perfumes contain incense in the base. Spikenard, myrrh and incense existed before Christ! I love them. While pregnant, I had some nausea & sneezing so I stopped wearing until I gave birth. Afterwards, I began wearing them again. I am also a lifelong migraine sufferer with perennial allergic rhinitis. I'd never dream of asking a priest to curtail incense!  On days it was bad, I simply went to low mass.All my symptoms are now under control with proper medications, so I rarely feel sick anymore. I can attend high mass and wear whatever perfume I want.

When I grew up, we had a sense that we shouldn't complain about the illnesses or handicaps we have, but rather humbly live with them as best we can. My mom had RA and never wanted special privileges, a ramp or a special parking space. She walked! We learned to follow doctor's orders, take medications and accept suffering. People back then didn't demand that others change their surrounding conditions to accommodate their handicaps under penalty of lawsuit. Today, no one will tolerate any suffering. No one puts up with even the slightest inconvenience.

Overseas is so different! When I travelled to Italy and France in 2010, I noticed there were no special provisions!  The toilet in a restaurant was a hole in the floor. They live a hard life, a demanding one, where they walk to work, kneel at mass on hard wooden kneelers, or even the ground if they can. If conditions are too difficult, the handicapped stay home or make other arrangements. Then again, they don't have the disposable income like Americans, so they don't run off to a lawyer and sue people every chance they get.

I wouldn't mind returning back to a time when we lived a more simple life, like they do.

(09-15-2013, 10:44 AM)lauermar Wrote: [ -> ]When I grew up, we had a sense that we shouldn't complain about the illnesses or handicaps we have, but rather humbly live with them as best we can. My mom had RA and never wanted special privileges, a ramp or a special parking space. She walked!

I shouldn't have to say this, but not everyone is physically capable of just "sucking it up" and walking.  There are a lot of people out there who would love to just get up and walk :)  If your mom was ambulatory and physically capable of walking up stairs (despite pain/exhaustion) then naturally accommodation would have been seen as a "nice-to-have" and not an actual necessity.  But there are people, such as myself that would be unable to fully participate in society without these accommodations.

(09-15-2013, 10:44 AM)lauermar Wrote: [ -> ]We learned to follow doctor's orders, take medications and accept suffering. People back then didn't demand that others change their surrounding conditions to accommodate their handicaps under penalty of lawsuit. Today, no one will tolerate any suffering. No one puts up with even the slightest inconvenience.

It's easy to insist that other people take up a certain cross that you yourself will never have to pick up yourself.  The fact that you think things would somehow be better if disabled people would stay quiet and stay home rather than fully participating in society makes me think you should take a mental walk (or "roll" rather) and imagine how much your life would change if you woke up one morning without the ability to move by yourself.  Imagine how that would affect your career, your finances and your ability to carry out everyday tasks like grocery shopping, going to the bathroom, and taking care of your family. 

A civil and just society is one that is not just concerned with "the greatest good for the greatest number of people" but also looks out for the welfare of its most vulnerable members--the unborn, the sick, children, widows/orphans, the elderly and the poor.  This of course should not be accomplished by a welfare state or a lawsuit-happy legal system.  This should be accomplished by Catholics exercising the virtue of charity and performing the corporal works of mercy, not by lawsuit-mongering and an impersonal state.  Still, I'm grateful that when I had to begin using a wheelchair on a daily basis, I didn't have to worry about losing my job and thus being a drain on the system like I am now  :LOL:  I am grateful that the Catholic institution where I taught had ramps, accessible sinks, wide doorways and hallways, and replaced my desk with one I could fit behind.  I'm glad that I could still go to the pub with my friends, take public transportation, etc.

When my wife first had our son, I was still in a crappy manual wheelchair that I couldn't push myself and we were still arguing with Medicare to cover a tilt-in-space powerchair and accessible adaptations to our minivan.  This meant that she had to first lift me out of the car, get me into my chair, strap a baby carrier around my body and then strap something around my chest to keep me from slumping forward.  Then she'd get the baby out of the car seat and hope he wouldn't start screaming.  He always did anyway :)  And so she would put the screaming baby into the carrier on my chest.  I was on an IV 24/7 and there was a backpack for all that equipment that got strapped to one side of the chair, and then she hung another empty backpack on the other side of the chair for groceries, in addition to a backpack she wore for more groceries/cargo.  Then she'd push the weight of her family all through the store.  I'm kind of amazed she never threw her back out and she wasn't full of resentment.  Things are easier with the powerchair/accessible van and I can just drive myself out of the car, and my son's old enough to climb on my lap now.  So my wife can finally push around a shopping cart.  But those first few months were ridiculous.   I'm glad we can at least get accessible parking most of the time.  It's not a matter of a chronic inability to accept suffering, but a matter of not heaping additional hardship on people who have enough to deal with.  I also think it's great to have special parking for pregnant women, special areas for women to breastfeed, parking for families with small children, changing tables in bathrooms, etc.  Gender neutral "Family" restrooms are also a wonderful thing because I need help going to the bathroom, and usually my wife or my mom are the ones who provides that help.  Much better and more civilized than a hole in the floor!

It's also not just a matter of adding ramps/widening doorways.  The parish where we attend the Extraordinary Form has a ramp in front of it so I can get into the church, but I can't get inside any of the confessionals.  I haven't made an anonymous confession in years.  I remember the first time I attended Mass there, Father asked me if I would like to receive Holy Communion since he noticed I hadn't gone up to the communion rail and he wasn't sure if it had anything to do with my condition.  I said I wasn't up for receiving Communion that day but I would like to go to confession and since then he always asks me if I need any of the sacraments whenever I see him, because he doesn't want there to be any physical barriers that keep me from Confession or Holy Communion.

They have coffee hour after Mass in the basement of the church and unfortunately there is no good way for me to get down there.  I'm sure it would cost a lot of money for the parish to put an elevator in.  I usually tell my wife to just go down there for a bit and I'll read my book.  However, nearly every Sunday a parishioner asks me if I'd like them to carry me down the stairs and a few times they have done that so I can attend events/lectures down there, and they have a manual chair down there for me to sit in.  I'm glad that I am part of a trad community that seeks to include me in the life of the parish and make up for what is lacking in the structure of the building.
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