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Pray while smoking

Pray while smoking

An old Italian Jesuit (aren’t they always in these stories?) was once* asked the following question by a young man (to continue the stereotype, let’s imagine that he’d just hopped off his Vespa):


‘Father, is it permissible for me to smoke while praying?’

The old priest considered for a moment before frowning and replying,

‘No it is not permissible to smoke while praying… but it is advisable to pray while smoking’.

While our time-that-is-only-for-prayer is crucially important, the ‘praying while smoking’ moments are probably more numerous.  These smaller moments tend to be impromptu ‘arrow prayers’ of petition shot up in moments of necessity, moments of thanksgiving, praise, adoration or contrition.

However, we can consciously build these smaller moments into our daily routines.  The Angelus lends itself to such a slot, as it’s traditionally prayed 6, 12 and 6 and we can therefore let our prayer sanctify our day, breaking into whatever we’re doing then.  Ideally, of course, we’d  lay down our pitchfork or basket and make it a pure prayer time, but that’s often impractical and the choice is either to multi-task – and pray while driving, for example – or not to pray.

To punctuate the day with prayer helps us to maintain or realign our focus on Christ.  So whilst acknowledging that we must have time each day that is for prayer and prayer alone, perhaps we could ‘pray while smoking’ a little more.



The Angelus

The angel of the Lord declared to Mary: 
And she conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee;
blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.

Hail Mary . . .

And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary . . .

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God,

that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Let us pray:

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts;
that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son,
was made known by the message of an angel,
may by His Passion and Cross
be brought to the glory of His Resurrection,
through the same Christ Our Lord.



* A long, long, long time ago, before anyone knew that it wasn’t a good idea to smoke in the first place.  All references to ‘praying while smoking’ are to be taken metaphorically etc etc etc.

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