The Lord grant that you may observe all these precepts in a spirit of charity as lovers of spiritual beauty, giving forth the good odor of Christ in the holiness of your lives (Rule of St. Augustine, 48).
It is said that the custom of using incense in the liturgy began with a need. It seems that often liturgical processions outside the church had to pass through bad-smelling streets—something which disturbed the spirit of meditation. To help with the passage, at the head of the procession, an acolyte walked with a pot of fire in which perfumed incense burned, creating clouds of fragrant smoke. Perhaps this is a useful image for religious in pastoral activity. Often it is the religious who, in the name of Christ, pass through some of the foulest smelling avenues of the world, through situations of misery defiled by all sorts of human garbage, through societies rotting from corruption and injustice, through places smelling of death and war. Religious, consecrated by their radical evangelical commitment, pass by as the perfume of Christ that resists the foulness and makes the promise of finally freshening the air of human history.
A house built on the side of the road helps all passersby because they can spend the night there. (Bamileke)