Monday, March 28, 2011

Frankincense and Mirth

A conservative blog for peace links to some good news for us traditionally-mided religious folk and others — Burning Incense Is Psychoactive: New Class Of Antidepressants Might Be Right Under Our Noses. "Religious leaders have contended for millennia that burning incense is good for the soul. Now, biologists have learned that it is good for our brains too."

Said Hebrew University's Raphael Mechoulam, one of the researchers, "In spite of information stemming from ancient texts, constituents of Bosweilla [from whose resin frankincense is made] had not been investigated for psychoactivity." He continued, "Apparently, most present day worshipers assume that incense burning has only a symbolic meaning."

The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1917 instructs us, "Incense, with its sweet-smelling perfume and high-ascending smoke, is typical of the good Christian's prayer, which, enkindled in the heart by the fire of God's love and exhaling the odour of Christ, rises up a pleasing offering in His sight (cf. Amalarius, 'De eccles. officiis' in P.L., CV)."

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Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


The title of this post is your best pun yet!!!

7:58 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

I'm glad there's another soul out there who appreciates "the lowest form of humor."

6:55 AM  
Blogger Francis Xavier said...

As teenagers and altar boys, we plotted to, but ultimately chose not to, get the celebrant to enrich a high mass with burned offerings of cannabis sativa.

It might have incensed our teachers.

9:42 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

The look on the Supreme Pontiff's face, if I may say so, suggests some altar boys like you may have been up to some funny stuff at St. Peter's.

I was trying to work in a pun in the verb "incensed" but couldn't come up with anything. I'm glad you did so.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Tracy Fennell said...

Hahaha, I do love the smell. Not sure what that says about me now though, ;).

3:06 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

My wife is asthmatic, and gets incensed at my use of incense at home, despite the great brass thurible from India I bought at a headshop in California which is sorely underused.

6:41 PM  

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.