Q: Smelling Roses--What is the Meaning?

A: It happens that we are asked about the meaning of "smelling roses."  People perceive the fragrance of roses although there are no roses present in a room or house.  The experience is frequently related to a spiritual event of some importance.  How do we explain this?

The fragrance of roses and the smelling of roses is frequently mentioned in records of mystical experiences.  How to explain it?  I am not sure if there is a scientific answer.  I haven't seen any, not so far.  However, it is a fact that strong spiritual, as well as other mental activities, can trigger accompanying sensory perceptions.  The imaginative power, for example the intense thought on behalf of a beloved person, may produce a physical impression and presence of that person.  The smelling of roses, being a refined and exquisite sensation, may be the equivalent of a highly-spiritual and, likewise, exquisite experience.  Or it may be the spiritual compensation for a painful spiritual experience.  Some mystics are invited to experience the dolors of Christ's Passion.  The smelling of roses may be the recompense for this ordeal, or a way of letting them know the deeper life-giving meaning of their experience.


Return to Your Questions

Return to The Mary Page

This page, maintained by The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute, Dayton, Ohio 45469-1390, and created by Fr. Johann G. Roten , was last modified Monday, 05/23/2005 15:10:26 EDT by Michael P. Duricy . Please send any comments to jroten1@udayton.edu.