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Author Topic: Incense, candles, Icons, a part of my daily prayer routine.  (Read 2998 times) Average Rating: 0
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finbar
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« on: November 27, 2010, 03:03:43 PM »

Here is another thing I wish to get peoples views on. In all my years of being a Roman Catholic, 45 years sine baptism , I was really only encouraged to engage in prayer at the side of my bed. My eyes closed. I did it for years. When in Mass I felt that the prayers were 'responses' learned by heart as a resonse to the priest, who seemed to my naive mind perhaps to be an MC of sorts.

When I joined orthodoxy my spiritual Father, not only encouraged me to set aside a sacred place, but alao to make it as beautiful as possible with icons, taking time to prepare incense even before my prayers began. I was taught to make the sign of the cross frequently, to bow at certain words and phrases. I fekt my whole body taking part in the worship every night and every morning.

I found myself without any sense of 'weirdness' beginning to speaking frankly and honestly like friends  to the Icons of the Saints on my wall. Without anyone telling me I felt it natural to kiss my forefingers and place kisses upn the hands and feet of the Theotokos and the Saints and our Lord Jesus Christ.

I place a kiss and a prayer upon the icon of my patron saint St John. my wife does the same for her patron saint St Brendan. We pray to our Guardian angels every evening before we retire, a practice that fell by the way side in Roman Catholicism years back in our chidhood , my nieces both Roman Catholics nominally, were astonished when my Irish mother explained to them about the existence of their own Guardian angels, one said 'wow thats kinda spooky' , they simply HAD NOT HEARD OF THEM and they go to Catholic primary and secondary schools,and go nominally at least to Mass every sunday  neither had ever heard that they had patron saints,iy was never mentioned in RE classes, but they can tell you all about Ramadan and the Hindu 'God' Krishna....Again it was my irish mother now in her 80's who took the trouble to explin this to them ..

Now why did none of that prayer practice never evolve in my years as a Roman Catholic? I can recall rushing through my prayers almost ahamed for it be impatient for it to end.

In fact on the contrary I now find myself  extending  some extra other thoughts at the endof my evening prayers now.....like 'St Kieran please intercede with Our Lord to take away some of the pain of my brother...or can you keep a watchful eye on my son Kieran too'.

The question I ask is why did this elude me in years of prayer within Roman Catholicism? I had soem holy pictures but they seemed fleshly and artistic rather than spiritual, full of blood and lacerations and scary looking ...

When I did as a Roman carholic  light candles I felt it fake and affected...I tried incense and I just thought it seemed over the top....Why..... and I genuinely want to hear your ideas  about all this does what seemed affected unconfortable and somehat pretentious now seem natural, which leaves me feeling authentic and uplifted afterwards??

I am genunely interested in hearing what other people feel about these observations. My wife who is still a Roman Catholic started participating in doing the ortodox prayers  in the evening too in the past 3 months,  and she too feels we go to our beds feeling sanctified and at peace, the aroma of the incense is fitering up the stairs and we end the prayers with an affectionate kiss.

When we used to switch off the TV lock the door and head up to bed we never ever felt such an uplifting end to the day....Is this an experience that others feel too?? or will we just get bored with it?

My wife lost her Father 7 months ago and we say a special prayer for the loss of a close relative, she reads it and often ends in tears....not bad ones but good tears.

If we had stayed within the RC tradition I just know that NONE of this would have happened.
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« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2010, 03:30:24 PM »

Well said. I think this fits a lot of what I have experienced too.  Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2010, 07:48:20 PM »

Well, for one thing, the people represented by icons are truly present to us: the icon is a spiritual portal. Plus, our images of saints and martyrs are life-affirming--as they appear now in heaven, not as they may have suffered while they were on earth. Christ, for example, is serene on His cross. (Christ=1, Death=0). Also, Orthodoxy is unflustered in its acceptance of the 'irrational'; it doesn't resort to tortuous explanations leading to incoherency. In its attempts to 'modernize', I suspect the RC church has undermined itself and confused its flock.
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« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2010, 08:54:02 PM »

Where can you buy incense? Bed Bath and Beyond?
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« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2010, 09:25:34 PM »

Where can you buy incense? Bed Bath and Beyond?
What is your point in being here? I have a really hard time believing you are any older than sixteen years of age. Am I correct?
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« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2010, 09:27:48 PM »

Where can you buy incense? Bed Bath and Beyond?
*Prepares to humor*

I wouldn't! That would be way overpriced.

If you want Orthodox Incense your cheapest bet is the internet. Most Orthodox Church bookstores also have incense for sale; you can check a local Orthodox Church's bookstore if there are any nearby.

*/end*
« Last Edit: November 27, 2010, 09:28:30 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2010, 09:55:05 PM »

Can you add music as part of the prayer routine?

On a bit of a side note, is there any where I can get orthodox music?
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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2010, 10:15:26 PM »

Where can you buy incense? Bed Bath and Beyond?
What is your point in being here? I have a really hard time believing you are any older than sixteen years of age. Am I correct?
It sounds like he's trying to make fun of our beliefs.
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« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2010, 10:17:48 PM »

Here is a link to Holy Cross Monastery in WV ( Rocor). They sell very high quality goods, incense, music..great soap if you need a good washing up. Highly recommended.

http://www.holycross-hermitage.com/
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« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2010, 09:31:42 AM »

Thank you for sharing your experience Finbar.
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« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2010, 03:39:53 PM »

Where can you buy incense? Bed Bath and Beyond?
What is your point in being here? I have a really hard time believing you are any older than sixteen years of age. Am I correct?

sometimes us sixteen-year-old's can contribute something, too  Wink   
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« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2010, 03:42:24 PM »

Can you add music as part of the prayer routine?

On a bit of a side note, is there any where I can get orthodox music?
Assumption Cathedral has a great bookstore where you can purchase CD's.  if you feel like it, there is a WONDERFUL Orthodox coffee Shop in Colorado Sptings called Hagia Sophia, they sell music, incense, books, and icons, along with GREAT coffee!

you could also go to http://www.ancientfaithradio.com   they are a free internet-based radio playing Orthodox spiritual music, which is great to relax to at the end of the day.
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« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2010, 03:45:25 PM »

I, too feel uplifted after evening prayers upon going to bed.  it's really a great feeling.  when I was younger, I would go to bed scared that someone would break into the house and kill me, or that there was some creeper hiding in the closet.  after I say my prayers, I feel I have the protection of The Lord and the saints.  it is a wonderful feeling.  I also have a blessed icon of the Mother of God by my bed, who I pray too when I'm troubled.
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« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2010, 03:57:32 PM »

Ah yes I will need to visit that bookstore, will do so next week! Appreciate all your guidance brother in helping me find a Church, more importantly for getting me back to Christ. Maybe one day we can meet.
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« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2010, 04:00:58 PM »

Ah yes I will need to visit that bookstore, will do so next week! Appreciate all your guidance brother in helping me find a Church, more importantly for getting me back to Christ. Maybe one day we can meet.

yes, that would be nice.  it is my pleasure to help you!  I try to keep a quote of my patron saint in my head: "Spreading Christ's faith ought to be near and dear to every Orthodox Christian".  you made me think of this, and I knew it was my Christian duty to help you out a little!

you are in my prayers.
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« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2010, 09:15:41 PM »

Thanks for all yout replies many were thoughtful. One less so, but so long as it keeps you happy...

When the day ends it is such a special moment is it not? We have been granted the clsoe of another day of our lives....soemhow jus watching the weather, drawing the curtains, checking the pugs are off and having a quick glance at the headlines of the daily paper you never got around to reading earlier seems such a banal final moments of the gift of a day...Perhaps if the day is not seen as a truly invaluable gift, by as just another free worthless sgift that came with the mornings cereal packet, then that level of reaction is just about right... ha ha  Grin
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« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2010, 10:19:52 PM »

Where can you buy incense? Bed Bath and Beyond?
What is your point in being here? I have a really hard time believing you are any older than sixteen years of age. Am I correct?

sometimes us sixteen-year-old's can contribute something, too  Wink   

You're an exception to the rule, Trevor Wink
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« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2010, 12:48:37 AM »

When we used to switch off the TV lock the door and head up to bed we never ever felt such an uplifting end to the day....Is this an experience that others feel too?? or will we just get bored with it?

A few years ago when I was pretty far from God, basically a lapsed Christian of sorts who still inwardly struggled with God on a daily basis, my days would always end with floods of anxiety and terror. I would go outside for a smoke before bed, look up into the night sky, and feel terrified. I knew my day had been wasted and that I was running out of time, but time to do what? I would look at my wife lying in bed fast asleep and not feel peace, but panic and rushes of fear, like I was rotting inside. To be fair, at this time I exploring a lot of spiritually dark things; some naive fascination with occultism and 'theistic satanism' amongst other things. But not to get sidetracked on that. You comment just reminded me how awful the end of the day used to be. I would lie in bed and ask God to forgive me for wasting my life, and to take the terror away from me so that I could fall asleep.

After I slowly was exposed to Orthodoxy, I eventually was given a prayer book, and little by little I started a prayer routine. Maybe one or two nights a week I would read the evening prayers before I went to bed and light a candle before an icon of Christ. Maybe a year later, one night it simply dawned on me that I couldn't remember the last time I had an anxiety attack. I had simply been peacefully going to bed for many months without even noticing a change. I was completely and deeply moved at this realization, at this change in my life. Now I think about it almost every night as I have that smoke before bed. I look up into the night sky at the dazzling array of stars in the firmament, and I not only marvel, but I am filled with peace and gratitude for the life God has given me.

I think that much of this has to do with the cyclical nature of our world: days and nights, the changing of seasons, et cetera. When we enter into the prayer life of the Church, we synchronize ourselves with sacred time. Morning and night we acknowledge God and step into his presence. The cycle of Great Feasts correspond to the seasons and to cosmic/astrological events, so each year comes and goes, and the great host of saints is recycled and expanded and handed down to the next generation. When I attune myself to this seemingly infinite rhythm, I find that my own life and insignificant worries melt away. The cycle of the prayers of the Church aim to keep me in constant union with God: Morning and evening prayers, the hours if there is time, before every meal, before travels, and so forth. The life naturally takes on a doxological and eucharistic posture. And I am filled with real joy, not emotional sentimentality. I am aware that this is why I was empty before: I was made to pray. When I glorify God in my heart, it is like drinking water or eating bread, it gives strength to my body, because it is what I was created for. I glorify Him, and in Him I move from Glory to Glory, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
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« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2010, 09:46:46 AM »

Where can you buy incense? Bed Bath and Beyond?
What is your point in being here? I have a really hard time believing you are any older than sixteen years of age. Am I correct?

That was the first place I looked when I first started setting up my prayer corner - along with Wal-Mart and Target.  To ask questions - you have to start from somewhere.  I had no idea that incense was particular in any way. . .as I had never seen anyone else's prayer corner.
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