A Lenten Oratory.
I have often been puzzled by people who mockingly write off Catholics as the "smells and bells" Church. If I am certain of anything in life it is this: humans need to see, feel, hear, and touch beauty.
Lent is that bowl of black ash in the priest's hands, the wooden crucifix draped in red, the smell of incense in a bare church, the feel of kneelers and the dusky stained glass light of a Friday evening Stations of the Cross.
And the light and smell of bees wax candles. It is the rich purple of sacrifice and solemn introspection. It is that empty stomach feeling of a fast day. It is the clapper sound instead of bells on Holy Thursday, the marble starkness of the Good Friday altar, the dry and empty holy water fonts, the golden door of the empty tabernacle swinging wide that always brings such a wrench of loneliness to the heart and makes us acutely aware, "What if He hadn't come?"
So I say, long live the smells and the bells. The Church is a wise Mother and through these sensible things keeps us aware of and longing for the beauty that is Christ's Kingdom.