Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا

Published on Wednesday, 13 October 2021

This is how I quit smoking

By Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader :

It is great to listen to our mutual experiences where one acquires support when seeing one's brother had gone through a similar experience, overcame it, and became a model to be emulated.


Based on such experiences, I quit one of the daily habits among which is smoking.


Ten years ago, the decision was made to quit this habit after ten years of being controlled by it. Earlier, I  had listened to the experience of Syriac Catholic priest Monsignor Yousef Sag in Turkey. During meetings in the Vatican, and when he watched me smoke he used to raise a warning sign with his hand and speak in an incorrect Arabic accent about himself: “He smoked for 40 years, and on Good Friday he prayed and threw away a packet of cigarettes, and since that day, implying 20 years ago, he never  smoked a cigarette.”


The priest's voice kept reverberating in my ear, and every day I wished to have that decisive moment. That was in October 2010, and I kept smoking until the dawn of May 1, 2011 as I was in the Vatican to attend the beatification of Pope John Paul II. At 4:00am , the words of the Syriac priest reverbertaed in my ear, as I grabbed a packet of cigarettes and said “Oh, Lord, on this sacred historic day, free me from the cigarettes.” I threw away the packet of cigarettes in the trash bin.


The beatification Mass was long, and when I left the Holy Mass, I went to eat my lunch with my friend Mr. Bahaa Alamat. He said to me, “Where are your cigarettes?” I told him that I was free from smoking. In fact, smoking cigarettes never came to my mind as was the case ten years right after lunch. In May 2021, I thank the Almighty God once again for the blessing of salvation from this deceitful little slavery, namely the cigarette.


I express myself while encouraging everyone to be free from smoking. I am sure that every smoker--whether of the regular cigarette, or smoking hookah, or even the so-called electronic cigarette--wishes to get rid of this slavery every morning. When one of us visits Europe and America, we see how smokers are viewed like those accused in a cage as they are not allowed to smoke anywhere they want.


With the determination and prayer, which has a role in strengthening the will, one can give up. Three years ago, I was invited by the Jordanian Anti-Smoking Society to talk about the Christian religious viewpoint on the harmful effects of smoking. I remember, of course, that I spoke about the Church’s teaching with regards to preserving the body, which is “the temple of the Holy Spirit”  and which we use to present services to our brethren in all fields relevant to service. I also spoke about my modest experience in combating smoking and stopping it completely.


Thus, I present my experience to our dear readers hoping that it serves a  model to be emulated by others. In addition to the adverse economic harm,  smoking tears the heart apart and thus brings sorrow to our dear families. Let us rely on the omnipotent Almighty God, and let us collectively and nationally continue the process of combating this scourge that leads to destruction.