Incense is composed of granules that when ignited by fire from burning charcoal give off a pleasant odor, along with smoke. When it is used on solemn occasions, the prayer said gives insight into why it is used. “May our prayer arise to you (God) with a pleasing fragrance.” Our prayer expresses our desire to lift up our minds and hearts to God. The rising smoke reminds us of this. The sweet fragrance tells us of God’s acceptance of our prayer as pleasing. The incense takes on the added honor of that which is incensed. It may be the corpse at a funeral, the Gospel book at Mass, the altar gifts and/or the Blessed Sacrament, or the celebrant and people at the liturgy. Incensing reminds us of the honor and dignity of those to whom it is directed. “You are a chosen race, a people set apart, a royal priesthood.” Incense brings to mind who we are, the delight we give the Lord with our prayer rising to his throne, and the honor due to all and everything that is incensed.