For this Sunday’s Pastor’s Page, Fr. Rutler offered this:
The Magi gave the Holy Child presents of gold and myrrh and the essence of Boswellia serrata, which is the resin known as frankincense. The incense used in church may be pure frankincense or a combination of it with other aromatics, but its base comes from the sap of an arboreal bark, which recent science has discovered has properties that relieve anxiety and depression by activating ion channels in the brain. More importantly, one study at the Jena Friedrich Schiller University in Germany claims that frankincense contains anti-inflammatory substances produced by Boswellic acid, principally the enzyme 5-lipoxygenase, which can alleviate the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Whether its anti-inflammatory properties can thwart the Covid-19 Wuhan Coronavirus is not yet established, mindful of the cautions of the Food and Drug Administration. But burning frankincense reduces airborne bacterial counts by 68%. More important is the office of incense as an earthly hint of worship in heaven, where there are “harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints” (Revelation 5:8).
Speaking of Holy Smoke, be sure to listen to Damian Thompson’s latest about perhaps there being a need to “go underground” as Catholics, in view of the restrictions placed by the government on worship. HERE