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Why Do Catholics Incense The Bible At Mass?
http://eucharisticadoration.com/articles/458/1/Why-Do-Catholics-Incense-The-Bible-At-Mass63/Page1.html
By Anne Van Tilburg
Published on 09/18/2016
 
Why Do Catholics Incense The Bible At Mass?

Why Do Catholics Incense The Bible At Mass?
At Mass, it can be seen how Catholics love and revere Sacred Scripture. After sitting to hear the readings of the Old Testament and letters of the New Testament, or readings from the Acts of the Apostles or the Book of Revelation, we stand up to welcome the Gospel. We rise as students might when the Principal or and honored guest enters the room. The hearing of the Gospel at Mass is a meeting with Jesus Christ. These holy words make Jesus present, the Eternal Word Who became flesh and dwelt among us. We stand as a sign that we want to welcome Him into our minds and hearts.

In one of the psalms we pray, O Gates lift high your heads, grow higher ancient doors;
let Him enter, the King of glory (Ps 24:7).

Like people living in a walled city opening and even dismantling their main gate at the approach of their king, so we too open ourselves to all that the King of Kings wants to do in us. With Mary, the Church declares, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to your word." And we heed Mary's motherly direction: "Do whatever He tells you".

The Priest who is preparing to read the Gospel prays for grace: Cleanse my heart and my lips, almighty God, that I may worthily proclaim Your holy Gospel. If the Bishop is present, the priest proclaiming the Gospel humbly asks him to make this prayer on his behalf. A deacon reading the Gospel is prayed for by the Bishop or priest.

Sometimes the Book of the Gospels is carried in procession, lifted high for everyone to see. On special occasions the Gospel is also incensed. The server brings the thurible with burning charcoal inside. The deacon or priest sprinkles incense which gives off a sweet and spicy smoke, used in ancient times to honor royalty and the divine. The Book of Revelations speaks of the incense in heaven which is the prayers of the saints, and the incense we use at Mass reminds us of the worship in heaven and also of our prayers rising up to God. The gifts which are to become the Body and Blood of Christ are also incensed, as are the altar and the cross, and the priest and people who, by baptism, are temples of the Holy Spirit.

This incensing of the Gospel is a wonderful sign of the reverence with which Catholics view the Bible, and Jesus Christ Whom we come to know through the pages of Sacred Scripture. At the end of the Gospel, the Priest or deacon proclaims, "The Gospel of the Lord" and the people respond, "Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ!"

The selection of readings at Mass are chosen in a way that maximizes how much of the Bible the Faithful hear; in three years of Masses most of the Gospel will be encountered. At three year cycle of readings has us listening to the Gospel according to Matthew in the first year, Mark in the second and Luke in the third, while the Gospel according to St. John is heard every hear in the seasons of Advent, Christmastide, Lent and Eastertide.

St. Paul writes, All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work (2Tim. 3:16-17).

God knows which passages He wants us to hear, and parts we do not feel inclined to read may actually be what will do us the most good. We should always listen actively, waiting to hear what God is saying to us. As well as hearing the Bible read from the lectern (stand), those who come to Mass hear quotations from the Bible many times from the moment the Mass begins till the very end. The Mass could be described as a mosaic of Scripture. It is the true home of the Scriptures and should lead Catholics to read and ponder the Bible at other times as they strive to live the spirit of the Mass always.

Source: Catholic Contact