Beliefnet
The Smoking Priest

I enjoy a fine cigar after a long day of work.  For me, cigar smoking is very relaxing.  My most favorite brands are the Joya de Nicaragua Antano 1970, the Kristoff Corojo Limitada, the Padron Classics and the Partagas Black.  For those of you who know anything about great cigars, you can tell that I enjoy a heavy cigar.  

Smoking a fine cigar with a group of friends adds to the enjoyment.  Cigar smokers are very sociable people and the conversation is always engaging.  

However, cigar smoking is not a perfect remedy for the anxiety that we deal with on a daily basis.  Yes, we certainly do live in a crazy, dysfunctional and challenging world.  Besides, we would go broke if cigar smoking was the only remedy for our worries and apprehensions.  

We need to be spiritual.  Faith is the answer.  

Without a serious spiritual life, anxiety will overwhelm us. If we are a people who live truly spiritual lives, we will be filled with peace and joy no matter what may be going on around us. And this is so, because we will always be able to trust God.

Jesus gives us the antidote to all of our anxieties when he says:  “That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and what you are to wear.  Surely life is more than food, and the body more than clothing!  Look at the birds in the sky.  They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not worth much more than they are?  Can any of you, however much you worry, add one single cubit to your span of life?  And why worry about clothing?  Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin; yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his royal robes was clothed like one of these.  Now if that is how God clothes the wild flowers growing in the field which are there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you who have so little faith?  So do not worry; do not say, ‘What are we to eat?  What are we to drink?  What are we to wear?’  It is the gentiles who set their hearts on all these things.  Your heavenly Father knows you need them all.  Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on God’s saving justice and all these other things will be given you as well.  So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6: 25-34).

Cigar smoking is extremely relaxing, but being relaxed and possessing interior peace are not the same.

The inner peace that Jesus gives to us is a gift.  “Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you” (John 14: 27).  

Trust and abandonment; immersing ourselves into God; burning bridges; giving up control; leaving behind our own personal agenda: these things will remedy the anxiety so prevalent in our modern culture.  

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