Guest blogger Mantilla Amontillado is the founder of Veritas Vestments. She holds a degree in Ecclesiastical Haberdashery from Salamanca University. She has done the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella three times on horseback and is engaged to the famous matador, Senor Augusto Torquemada.
Hon, I am going to Mass last week and I hear everybody coughing and spluttering when Father use the incense. What is this? Everybody so uptight about the incense. “Ooh, it makes my eyes water! Ooh, they saying, “This makes me cough. I don’t like it!”
What kind of babies is this? What about the sufferings of the saints I want to say, “And you think a little bit of coughing is making you not like the incense?” What would you do if you were being burnt alive for being a Catholic. Think of Saint Lorenzo on the gridiron. He is being roasted slowly over the fire. You think he is saying, “Ooh. I don’t like this. The smoke is making my eyes water?” No. He is making a joke and he say, “You can turn me over now. I’m done on this side.”
I got no time for these liturgical sissies hon. I got no time. This is what worries me. You know? What worries me is that the devil, he no like incense. He like burning sulfur and stuff like that. He like the smell of rotten eggs and everything from the septic tank you know what I mean hon? Incense? He hate incense. The devil run away when the server starts using the incense.
So this is what I’m thinking hon. If somebody in church don’t like the incense, maybe there’s a reason for this you know what I mean hon? Maybe they don’t like the incense like the devil don’t like incense. I don’t know I’m just thinking about this. So I ask Augusto what he think. He say he has Great Aunt Caterina. She almost dead from emphysema and she coughing all the time, but when she go to Mass she sit in the front row and breathe in the incense and say, “I give up smoking, but I love this incense. It make me feel terrific!” True story hon. Aunt Caterina give up smoking cigarettes and she dying from the smoking, but she like the incense. She never cough in church.
So I am thinking maybe every new church should have the botofumerio like they have at Santiago. You seen that one hon? Madre de Dios! This is a real thurible for the incense. It six feet tall and it take twelve men to make it swing back and forth over the Cathedral of Santiago. You should see it. Papa Benedict like it very much. You can see it on YouTube where he is in Santiago and they swing the botofumerio for him.
Maybe the problem is nobody know what incense if for anymore. Everybody say, “Oh yes, that is like a symbol of our prayers floating up to heaven.” Maybe, hon. Or maybe not. Me? I think it is more than a symbol. If it just a symbol to hell with it. That is what I say hon. I am thinking that the incense is something holy and that it help to drive a way El Diablo. Why not eh? El Diablo hate holy water. Maybe he also hate holy smoke. Really. This is not just a symbol. Every religion everywhere use incense. Hindus? They use incense. Buddhist? They use incense. Native peoples? They use incense. Everybody use incense except Muslim and Protestant–which is the same thing.
Maybe hon that is how you can tell if it is a religion or not. If they use incense it is a religion. If they do not use incense that is not a religion. It is just people reading from a book and being nice to each other.
So this is why Mantilla is for the incense. And another thing hon. People say, “Why we have incense? It is useless.” This is what Mantilla think: worship is useless. It is something like playing or like laughter or like music. What good is laughter and music? Can you make money with laughter and music? No. Does laughter and music and playing games do something useful? No. Same thing with worship. Same thing with incense. We do it for its own sake hon. We do it for its own sake.
People don’t like it? They should sit in the back and hold their nose.