sounding, smelling, and flying prayers
"Along with their harps, the elders were holding vessels of gold filled with aromatic spices, which were the prayers of God's holy people." —Revelation 5:8
John called the prayers of God's people "aromatic spices," that is, incense. Figuratively speaking, our prayers have a pleasing smell, are surrounded by others' prayers, and rise to God. Our prayers sound, smell, and move. Moreover, our prayers are contained in "vessels of gold" (Rv 5:8). Because what a container holds is usually more valuable than the container, our prayers are said to be more valuable than golden vessels.
Our precious prayers are held by the elders, that is, the leaders of the Church, who have fallen down in adoration before Jesus, the Lamb (Rv 5:8). Our prayers are in the context of submission to the Church, which is in submission to Jesus. The elders of the Church are holding our prayers in one of their hands and are holding harps in their other hand (Rv 5:8). This shows that our prayers are always in the context of the heavenly praises.
When we understand the context of prayer, when we see prayer in all its heavenly glory, we come to the conclusion that there is "the necessity of praying always and not losing heart" (Lk 18:1). Pray!
Prayer: Father, in this year of the Great Jubilee, send the Holy Spirit to help me to pray in my weakness (Rm 8:26).
Promise: "Sing to the Lord a new song of praise in the assembly of the faithful." —Ps 149:1
Praise: Pope St. Clement was the third pope after St. Peter. He is the earliest of the Church Fathers, and accordingly, his writings are vitally important, because he had heard the preaching of the twelve apostles.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, April 24, 2000
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 27, 2000