The Smoking Priest

The Smoking Priest

Getting Real and Getting Serious

Getting directions from someone when you are lost can be a frustrating experience.  Perhaps you scramble for a piece of paper to scribble a few indications like “go right at the light and then take your first left”.  Maybe the person who gives you directions is wrong, and instead of a right, you should have taken a left.

Sometimes you come across a kind person who says “Come, I will take you there”.  In this case, the person is the way and you cannot go wrong.

Jesus tells us that he is the way.  Jesus does not give us advice and directions; he takes us by the hand and leads us to eternal life in heaven.  He does not tell us about the way, he is the way.


Christianity is essentially different from all other religions because the Christian does not merely follow a series of rules and regulations, nor does he submit himself to a guru’s indications of how to live certain austere principles.

Christianity is not about a what, but about a whom.  Ultimately, Christianity is about relationship and of course, the greatest relationship of all.    Christianity is about a relationship with the best friend anyone could ever have; i.e., Jesus Christ.  “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

Married couples, boyfriends and girlfriends and even dear friends understand what relationship is all about.  True friendship is true personal love. True friendship is not based upon an arrangement of rules.  Friendship goes much deeper than this.  Friendship is a relationship.


Through the Easter mystery of Baptism, we are incorporated into Christ.  This life of sanctifying grace launches us into an awesome bond with Jesus Christ. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light”. (1 Peter 2: 9)

Our relationship with Jesus is personal.  He is real because he is alive.  He is a living person that sees you, that hears you, that speaks with you and that walks with you.  He is there to bless you and to strengthen you.  He is with you to sustain you and to dry your tears.  Jesus is always there because he has truly risen on Easter Sunday morning.


Our relationship with Jesus is real.  Before his death on the cross, in the intimacy of the Upper Room where he imparted to his dear friends his last words before his Passion and Resurrection, he said: “If you love me, keep my commandments”. (John 14: 15)  Love is not based upon empty words and wishful thinking; love is translated into action.

When Jesus speaks to us in the Gospels about humility, service, patience, chastity, honesty, apostolic zeal and the other gospel virtues, he calls us to put these virtues into practice within the circumstances of our daily lives.  We show Jesus our true love by doing gospel deeds.  Our relationship is so personal, that we become another Jesus.  We talk like him, we think like him, we feel like him and we act like him.  Authentic relationship automatically brings us to imitation.


Any true friendship needs to be nourished by relationship.  When we spend a lot of time away from a friend, the friendship begins to die. The adage: “Out of sight, out of mind”, is very true.  In order to love, we need to spend time with the Beloved.  Contemplative prayer, the assiduous meditation of the Scriptures, the daily reception of the Eucharist and frequent Confession are the preferred moments of intimacy with the risen Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

My new book, Get Serious! A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics will give you the practical stuff that you need to live a serious relationship with Jesus Christ.

If you want to get real, read my book.


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posted May 14, 2011 at 8:01 pm

i love this fr.james . thank u for giving me this insight. im sad that ur leaving this parish. i will always be open to what you have to offer to society. i am looking forward to hearing from you soon.
sarah chapa

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