Smelling incense?

Praised be Jesus Christ!

For some time now I think I may have been smelling incense where there is no incense. Sometimes after I pray I can swear I can smell incense – this also happens during prayer. I can only smell it for a fraction of a second. However it is just long enough to get my attention. It feels like it is just on the tip of my nose. This sometimes happens when I am thinking of God throughout the day. It happened to me once as I was walking to mass.

I am probably just imagining it, or there may be some kind of natural explanation. (My body spray does smell kind of like incense, but I have smelt it while not wearing it.)

Or perhaps the incense from mass is getting stuck in my nose, and I am just smelling its residue.

I am an extremely credulous person, so I am always inclined to rule out all natural phenomenons.

Now I know there are countless reports of God actually making people smell things – which I believe are quite genuine. I know there are people that are close to Saint Theresa that wake ups smelling flowers. I also know some people smell flowers while in adoration where there are no flowers. (Attributed to the presence of Mary.)

But are there any reports of anyone smelling incense for no reason?

Yours in Christ,


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Yes, this happened to me many years ago. I had been praying the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary in my bedroom, with a great deal of dryness. After I finished the Office, I groaned and asked, “Lord, is this really pleasing to you?” Just then my room was flooded with the most incredible scent of incense, far more beautiful than anything I ever smelled in church. There was no reason for it to be in my bedroom, so I walked into the living room and asked my family if they smelled anything. Of course, they hadn’t, and I expected that they would tell me this. I just had to check all the bases, though.

The difficulty was in trying to discern the meaning of the incense. Did that mean the Lord was pleased with my prayer even though I had no devotion or fervor? Or was it the Evil One who wanted me to continue praying this devotion, even though it was difficult to stay recollected as I did so? Did the devil send this precisely to disturb my prayer and make me focus on this favor and become proud? Or was it God assuring me my prayer was heard because I desired to please Him?

I struggled between these two polarities for months, until I finally saw a verse from scripture that says “may our prayer rise like incense before thee.” Even then, I couldn’t be absolutely sure of the meaning and finally quit trying to analyze it.

There was one other time I smelled it during those days, and it was in church after receiving communion. There was no benediction or anything of the sort that would be a reason to smell it, and I always sat at the very back of the church where nobody else was present. How alert I became for a long period whenever any scent was in the air, always trying to reassure myself that I was NOT smelling incense. I became a virtual sniffer. :smiley:

So you see, my friend, that it even when we are blessed with supernatural favors like this, they do not always bring us peace and joy due to their unexpected and unnatural gifting to us, and our worrisome human curiosity. Do you see that you are concerned enough to have posted here? I don’t know how to advise you, other than to be grateful, thank God, and let it be laid aside in holy detachment. :wink:

God bless,

While it may be real and mean something you should really explore all possible natural things first and not jump to the conclusion too quickly that something special and supernatural has happened.

While it happens, it could also be a temptation.

My suggestion is try not to pay any attention to it.

If it continues, seek out a good spiritual director.

That has happened to me once. I don’t remember all the circumstances and would likely never have recalled it again if I hadn’t seen this thread. I simply took it as a sign that God was present during my prayer and continued to pray. I didn’t sweat it or think really hard about why I had the smell. Maybe I should have, but I didn’t really think about it.:slight_smile:

If indeed such things are a favor from God, then just be glad of it and don’t give it a second thought.

Otherwise we would be focusing on phenomena of one kind or another, and not on God!

It would make sense, as incense is a sacramental with imagry of our prayers rising to Heaven, however, as others have said, I wouldn’t focus too much on it. If it was supernatural, it was for you alone and only to help your faith. If it wasn’t, then it was a funny coincidence.

To expect such things, or to gauge how ‘effective’ a prayer was by the presence of the smell, or other actions besides just appreciating that it was a gift from God, would, in my opnion, be wrong.

In the end, does it matter if it was supernatural or natural? It had an effect on you, increased faith and devotion. Does the source really matter, in that case? Enjoy it, either way, but don’t linger on it.

Of course the source matters. It could be a trick of Satan.

to make things short I have smelled things in prayer at work or in blessings. some of them are roses and chrism but not incense and i do rule out alot of possibilities.

Yes, this has happened to me amongst other things. I have a Holy Hour every Sunday morning and read the LOTH during it. One of the readings in the LOTH was Psalm 141 that says your prayers are like incense rising to heaven.

That night, as I was falling asleep, there was a strong smell of incense in the room. (it was around 3:30 am). I was half asleep & then I bolted upright. It was as if a gentle breeze brought it and then it went away. It was a very beautiful experience for me.

I have no doubt that the origin was divine.

Here is a link to the psalm:

Whenever you start to experience something like this, bless yourself (i.e. make the sign of the cross) and invoke God’s protection.

Of course the source matters. It could be a trick of Satan.

Of course, how silly of me. I had forgotten that Satan goes around increasing our Faith in God. :rolleyes:

I regularly burn church incense in my room, but every so often there are intervals when I do not (e.g. low on charcoal). One time when in my room, I picked up a distinct whiff of an incense I had burned over a week earlier. It could have been God making the incense smell; it could also have simply been leftover aroma floating around.

It may be that your church clothing picks up some of the incense scent and you bring it home with you.

Where in the OP’s OP did it say it increased her faith in God??

Has anyone have information from Church teaching on this
At first I thought it was a mental suggestion. I am no saint, but I have a Strong faith in God…
I have in the past smell incense and the smell of roses while in prayer, during mass or other times just doing everyday routine. I look round to see where it is coming from like a soft breeze,I smell it, and it is gone…

Again It happen last night at a lenten service. I share this with some one and I saw the look , oh know they think, I must be crazy. So what is it. I guess I will shut up about it.
So looking at this sight , it looks like I am not the only one who has experience this,

Hi to all !

I have just create an account to this forum basicaly to write at this topic!
I am a Greek Orthodox, but for many years I ve been far away from church and God’s faith.
However, 4 years ago I had the weird experience of smelling incense in my home, something that really made me entirely afraid cause I linked it with my grandfather’s death.

Me and my grandad loved each other a lot and at his lasts I was very close to him. At around 10 days after his death and while his wife (my grandmother) was living in our home, something unexplained happened…

It was at about 3:15 after midnight and while I was walking in the dark corridor towards my bedroom, an intense smell of incense came into my nose and I felt like I was passing near something which was burned as I felt hot…I just screamed and woke up my grandmam but she couldn’t smell anything.

Unfortunately, it was shoking for me, especially the following days, in which in unexpected periods of time I was smelling incense, while NOBODY in my home used incense. This smell occured to me only when I was at home. No one else in my family could smelled it and at some point I thought that perhaps I was experiencing smell hallucinations!

Anyway, I remeber that at around the 36th day of my grandfather’s death, I stopped smelling incense and I haven’t smell it ever again since that time.

An orthodox priest told that for the first 40 days the psyche of the dead is going around the places & people he loves…In Psychiatry and Psychology, it is just a hallucination or something still unexplained but meaningless…

Thanks for reading me…

If anybody knows something about this , I will be glad to hear his/her oppinion of what was behind this smell.

interesting thread :slight_smile:

sorry I don’t have much insight to contribute…

but I was just thinking, if this doesn’t make you proud and if it brings you closer to God, than it’s probably from Him, just thank Him for it and be glad :slight_smile: and then move on, don’t dwell on it or focus on the gift more than on the One who gave the gift.

God bless.

The scent of incense or the perfume of holiness is a known sign from the Lord – while it is possible that it is something else I believe it is uncommon that this is so. :smiley:

I’m very very happy I read this post. You know with all the propaganda of orthodoxy vs catholicism you’d think that no catholic would have things like this happening but I see this is not true. I won’t say more about that but… I’m a new convert to orthodox christianity. I’ve smelled the smell of holiness one morning while waking up and this morning a very powerful smell of church incense arose in my nose and something in my mind mentioned something about saint Augustine. Like, look to st. augustine or you’ll find it in st. augustine. God Bless, this is my first post here… The times that things like this happen to me are after I’ve come to terms with the lord after going astray…

A guy I was praying with told me that the smell of incense comes from Christ’s presence, and the smell of roses, from Mary.