Incense can have different effects on people. Some cannot stay in church on Holy Saturday night or Easter because of the incense burning in the ceremonies. I can understand that. I do love that fragrance, though, and would not like having it eliminated. Not only the scent, but to see the smoke rising as our prayers do delights me.
Here at the Oldenburg Franciscan Retreat Center, we try to accommodate as many people as we can. One thing we did was place a vessel, as the one pictured, in the lobby. The bowl-like vessel is made of wax that has been hand poured and embedded with natural essences and natural and silk botanicals. It is designed to release a unique long-lasting aromatic fragrance of garden sage, and purple basil with a touch of rosemary and thyme.
In the lobby, the vessel was put on the lower self of a table holding flowers and a small figurine. It was not noticeable, but each person entering the building remarked on the pleasant atmosphere and asked what the scent was.
This led the Center’s décor manager to request similar vessels for each of the halls on the bedroom floors. We chose Woodland potpourri and the mild fragrance seems to be part of the air we breathe, as if we were in a pleasant garden. What I like best about the wax vessels is that we do not need to light them nor watch them disappear as the wax is consumed. The vessels just sit there, just are. There comes a time, of course, when the fragrance is lessened. The directions say to take a dry washcloth and rub the vessel all over. Then the fragrance is once again active.
What about us? What can we learn from this seemingly inert thing? If after doing our ministry, we find that we haven’t had an original thought for several months, years, decades; it is time for the brisk dry rub of renewal. That may be a sabbatical, or a retreat or even a vacation. Do not forget to slough off the old and make way for a more beautiful fragrance to emerge.
Peace and Joy,