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Anonymous Isabella wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am a practicing Catholic and I want to deepen my faith.

  • I'm a young teen, so I go to youth camps but, in my everyday life, how can I grow in my faith?

Also recently, during a healing service I smelled a beautiful scent. It happened once before too — the same scent — but in a different place with a different priest.

  • What does this mean?
  { As a young Catholic teen, how do I deepen and grow in my faith and what does this scent I smelled at a healing service mean? }

Eric replied:


It is wonderful to hear that you are so open to God!

The first step is to make a decision to follow unreservedly the Lord and His Gospel as revealed to His Church, and pray and affirm this daily, if not more often. When you wake up, offer the day to God. When you put on your clothes, give thanks for them. Say grace at meals. Develop a habit of daily prayer, preferably in the morning when you are fresh and have no excuses for running out of time.

It's a way of offering the first fruits of each day to God (in other words, offering as a sacrifice to God the first portion of your valuable time each day). Offer to God your cares, concerns, sorrows, joys, and gratitude. Ask for the gift of faith — ask Him to deepen your faith and trust in Him. Bring your needs to Him. Never be afraid to be brutally honest with God — I find he moves most powerfully when I pray that way! Pray for your enemies and ask God to bless and forgive those who wrong you. (We cannot expect to be forgiven if we do not forgive others.) Ask Him to help you grow in virtue (for example, ask God for the gift of humility, the most important virtue), and examine your conscience and ask forgiveness for your sins. (Traditionally an examination of conscience is suited to the evening before you go to sleep, but let's not complicate matters.) If you want to find some pre-written prayers, that's fine, but you can also talk to God in your own words as you would talk to a friend (because He is!).

Praying the Rosary is a good thing to do. Give thanks to God when something good happens during the day. (We should even give thanks when we think something bad has happened, because God allows it for our good, but we're getting ahead of ourselves.) Offer the little "contradictions" of each day — those things that don't go the way you want or like — and the sufferings you experience up to God for your own sins and for the sins of the world. Accept them as the means by which God is polishing you into a gem!

When you are not otherwise engaged in thought, pray,

"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner"

over and over. Spend time reading the Sacred Scriptures, even if it's just a little each day. Start with the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and Proverbs, Wisdom, or Sirach (these last two will only be in a Catholic or Orthodox Bible). If you don't have a copy of Youcat (Youth Catechism) (Get a sneak peek.), I encourage you to get one and read it; that will help you know and understand the faith better. As you are able, frequent the Sacrament of Reconciliation and of course attend liturgy on Sundays and Holy Days! Every day, if possible.

As for the scent, there is such a thing as the "odor of sanctity", but typically this is associated with a holy person, and it is very rare. In all likelihood, there is a natural explanation for what you are experiencing.


Mike replied:

Dear Isabella,

I just wanted to add my two cents to my colleague's fine answer.

I highly encourage you, as Eric said, to pray the Rosary daily.

Other sacramentals I would suggest are the Brown Scapular as well as other types of Scapulars. Personally, I wear a Five-Fold Scapular though at the time they are on back order. Amazon may have them. It's important not to think of sacramentals as some magical charms. If one does, it can easily lead to a presumptuous attitude about one's salvation. Although the struggle with temptation and sins of the flesh are real, we just have to:

  • persevere
  • go to Confession when we have to, and
  • renew our Catholic Covenant every Sunday at Mass and on Holy Days of Obligation.

Praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy novena is also a very good habit.

As for the scent, if you have been in a church service every time you have smelled this beautiful scent, it may be what we call "incense."

Here are some related postings that will explain them for you:

Hope this helps,


Bob replied:

Dear Isabella,

It is possible that you experience something called "the scent of Roses", often experienced in conjunction with someone of great sanctity, or saintliness.

I have encountered this a few times, one notable moment was with Mother Theresa of Calcutta.  I was in a church when this overwhelming fragrance surpassed all the perfumes around me; it was heavenly.  At that moment I turned around only to behold that precious little saint making her way up the aisle behind me.  

This phenomenon has also been witnessed by many during Marian apparitions like Fatima, offering just another sign of the Divine in His Beloved.

So none of us could say that is it for sure, but you may know in your heart the truth.  Whatever the case, sounds like it was a Holy Gift.


Bob Kirby

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