CAUTION: Please use appropriate caution around burning objects. Incense is extremely hot, can cause burns and fires, and can irritate those allergic to perfumes or sensitive to smoke. Inhaling scented incense can irritate the lungs. Incense burners are extremely hot and should only be touched with proper skin protection. Never leave burning incense unattended or with children.
What is “Catholic” Incense? Choosing incense online.
Whether used on special feast days or as a daily prayer aid, burning incense at home is a truly wonderful Catholic devotion. Incense has been used in worship from the beginning of human history. In Exodus chapter 30 the Lord gives Moses a directive to use incense in worship before the tabernacle, and even provides a specific recipe. (The monks of Prinknash provide this blend, albeit in granules rather than powder). The key ingredient used then, and still familiar to most today, is frankincense resin. This resin is harvested into granules from trees in Africa and the Arabian peninsula. Used in its pure form frankincense is known for its sweet scent and low level of irritation. Most Catholic churches end up using incense blends in which the frankincense is blended with other resins or natural ingredients to create different fragrances during the burning. Rose scented incense is one of the most popular alternatives, but there are many varieties made by religious communities. In addition to our own blend we provide small, home use sizes of many of these incenses after assuring that their source is in communion with the Catholic Church or not engaged in business that caters specifically to religions or groups opposed to the Church.
As you continue your journey into the world of incense you will be confronted with myriad choices. We recommend wholly avoiding stick any conical incense for two reasons: these are low quality and almost always provided by business that catering to those who partake in explicitly anti-Catholic practices.
In addition to tradition frankincense resin which we sell, the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches have a wonderful style of incense that we fully recommend to those who enjoy incense in their personal and family worship. Athonite style incense (so called due to its origin at Mount Athos) is colorful and extremely fragrant with a wide variety of scents. A variety of resins and scents are emulsified into pellets which are dried and cut. From floral to spicy, these incenses provide excellent perfumed scents that quickly fill any space they are used in. We would caution those looking for this type of incense to only use the highest quality – low quality Athonite incense can really be an unpleasant mess. Incens.us is unaware of Roman Catholic suppliers of quality Athonite incense, but we recommend those interested visit legacyicons.com/incense (affiliated with the Greek Orthodox Church).
Preparing your charcoal
Quick-light charcoal tablets come in both 1″ and 1/4″ sizes, the latter being more appropriate for quick use at home. The 1″ tablets can be carefully cut into quarters as well (tablets are formulated with a small amount of black powder to facilitate quick lighting, so use care).
Ensure the thurible has enough insulation to avoid damage to the surface it is placed on, or place on a heat resistant surface. The charcoal tablets can be placed in the thurible and lit with a long necked lighter, or held with metal tongs and lit using a candle or gas stove. Once the charcoal is lite the black powder will start sparking the the tablet will start to glow. At this point ensure there is adequate air flow over the charcoal as it heats up. Charcoal smoke will be produced – if you are sensetive to smoke or using a wood-based incense we recommend placing a small layer of table salt or sand on top of the charcoal tablet at this time.
When the charcoal has gone from glowing red to gray it is time to place the incense granules.