When Blessings Go Up In Smoke

White sage smudging is known most often with native american tribes. Smudging and the use of smoke in prayer is actually found in cultures around the world.

Not meaning to create any degree of separation, there are smudging and prayer traditions that have been adopted as well by more modern religions, such as the catholics. The tradition actually dates back further than christianity to jewish traditions. I remember sitting in the pew at the church we attended during my childhood years, watching the censer, the ball, swinging back and forth, with the smoke from the special catholic blend of incense. What did it all mean?

This quote was found in Sacred Signs, by Monsignor Romano Guardini, who passed in 1968.

The offering of an incense is a generous and beautiful rite. The bright grains of incense are laid upon the red-hot charcoal, the censer is swung, and the fragrant smoke rises in clouds. In the rhythm and the sweetness there is a musical quality; and like music also is the entire lack of practical utility: it is a prodigal waste of precious material. It is a pouring out of un-withholding love.

thurible incenseWhen blessings go up in smoke

The act of using incense can be merely for fragrance. Burning incense, white sage, or other fragrant matter can also be used as an act combined with prayer. It has been thought that the rising smoke is a way of offering your prayer or intent to the heavens.


thurible: a censer suspended on chains, used in ceremony’s for burning of incense. Curious about what other groups or religions use a thurible in their ceremonies?

Censer: a covered container of incense, suspended on a chain.

Incense: a gum, spice, or other substance (such as herbs) burned for the sweet smell it produces. The word incense comes from Latin incendere which means to “set on fire”, and  encenser, “to offer incense, perfume with incense,” c.1300, from Old French.


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