Yandex Metrika
Burning sage in the house

Would it be alright for me to burn sage in my house?

burn sage

Question: Hi father! I am a young lady and a member of a Native American tribe in California. A lot of tribal members that I know like to “smudge” (burn sage) as a method of cleansing. I obviously don't believe in so such thing, but I personally love the smell of sage. Would it be alright for me to burn it in my house, in the same way that I would burn a candle, simply for the smell of it? I believe in no way, shape, or form that it has any power; I just believe it is a creation of God with a very pleasant aroma (just like how roses do). Thank you and God Bless!

Answer: I also enjoy the smell of frankincense, but liking the fragrance is one thing, and burning frankincense as a spiritual practice is quite another. Frankincense - in and of itself - has a nice smell, it is a fact. And it is normal to enjoy it - understanding that there is nothing mystical about it - just the fragrance. You would not want to be around something foul-smelling, would you? Probably not. We all want to smell nice. However, at church, we burn incense as a religious practice, and it has a spiritual meaning. We bless the censer, and as the deacon or priest incenses the icons he spreads around the church the blessing of the Holy Spirit. Metropolitan Philaret, of blessed memory, always said, "Blessing of the Holy Spirit" as he walked around the church with the censer. The moment we give spiritual meaning to the burning of incense, the smell, the fragrance that it emits supplements our prayer and worship, which is a very different thing. North American Indians loved nature and cared for the environment. 

Archpriest Andrey Lemeshonok

June 22, 2022
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