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The Mass of My Youth

The power of the mind is never lost on me when a song, a flavor, or an odor affects me. It only takes a second and I can feel my senses firing up neurons and ganglia to transport me back in time.

When I recently visited Subiaco Abbey, just stepping through the church door caused a flood of familiarity and joy I associate with my childhood memories of Mass.

The lingering odor of incense brought images of sensors swinging through the air, billowing smoke I could watch waft and swirl in front of the giant ceiling above the nave.

The dim light shining through the multicolored stained glass windows created dancing pools of color on every surface it touched, and I would run my fingers through that colored light and imagine it was water running down my arm.

I was carried back in my mind's eye to my 7-year-old self, sitting in the pew at morning Mass at my Catholic elementary school. I watched as Father incensed the altar and gospels. Our class sat so still, waiting to see if it would come loose and fly. It never did but we watched every time, just in case.

I adore the smell of the incense to this day. "It smells like Jesus" the sisters would tell us. I vote for using more incense at every Mass.

Image from All About Censers webpage.

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