I don't have a personal relationship with Jesus?

In a conversation with my non-catholic, non-baptised husband we were discussing a sermon from his Presbyterian Church about faith apart from the law…
…long story short it came down to this belief of ‘you don’t need the law, you don’t need rules, you don’t need the church, all you need is personal relationship with Jesus’.

So I flat out asked him, “Do you think I don’t have personal relationship with Jesus?”

And he said “No, I don’t think you do”. He basically said because I pray with/to/through Mary and the Saints that I somehow don’t have a relationship with Jesus.

I’m heartbroken - not only am I insulted by what he said but I am feeling that obviously I am not witnessing to him of my relationship with Christ. Futher to that I now feel my own husband doesn’t even know me! But that’s not the topic here…

Nevermind the hours I spend in silent prayer, scripture reading, and other faith education activities - I go to Mass every single week (he accompanies me occasionally) and receive Christ - Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity - into my own body. I am IN COMMUNION with Christ, physically and spiritually. How much more personal can you get?

My husband on the other hand might attend Church once or twice a month, isn’t baptised, doesn’t believe the Church is Christ’s bride, does no bible study, participates in no church groups/activities - yet somehow he has a more personal relationship with Jesus?

Non-Catholics - can you flesh this out for me? Why would my husband think I don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus and how am I supposed to demonstrate that I do?

I can’t speak for your husband, but what a lot of people mean when they refer to “personal relationship with Jesus” is: not trusting in a system or rituals or in your own good works, but souly [sic] and holy ;)] in Jesus’ righteousness: His living the perfect life in our place, dying the perfect vicarious death in our stead, rising for our justification (read Romans 4 for the latter 2), and His interceding for us at the right hand of the Father until He returns. Trusting Jesus alone also means not praying thru saints or Mary, none of the holy medals business, etc. Christ, and He alone is the focus and the “way” (as He Himself says). We pray to Him and thru Him—ALONE.

Dear SixofSeven,
You’d probably consider me non-Catholic, but I think your husband’s being a totally insensitive jerk, even if he was being honest. The raison d’etre of Protestant sects like his is to justify their rebellion from the One Holy Catholic Church. Having abandoned the infallible teaching of the Holy Ghost through the Apostles, they make up their own rules on ‘relationship with Christ’ (which, surprise surprise, always favour their own sect).

For 16 centuries all Christians (except for some heretics who didn’t even hold Biblical beliefs) expressed their relationship with Christ within what we now call the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Faiths. Are your husband or the Presbyterians suggesting that the people who wrote down the Bible and worked out the fundamental doctrines of Christianity did not have a ‘personal relationship with Christ’?

It’s clear from your account that you have a much fuller devotional life then your husband. Perhaps this very brief ‘answer’ from Fr. Serpa will also help:


God bless,
Ora pro nobis, sancte Oswalde!

Well in my defense I don’t put my trust in the ‘system’, my trust is in Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He made to redeem us to the Father.

Why does trusting Jesus mean NOT collaborating with HIS (and therefore OUR) mother, HIS (and therefore OUR) brothers and sisters who have been made perfect. Why did Jesus give us His mother at the cross if we are to have nothing to do with her? Why do so many Scripture passages tell us to pray with and for one another? What’s the point of being part of a body if you say to a part ‘I have no need of you’ - Scripture tells us we can’t do that.

Where two or three are gathered in my name…

All prayer, all worship is directed to GOD - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

So again, why do I not have a personal relationship with Jesus?

If that is what protestants believe to be ‘a personal relationship with Jesus’ then, they have got it all wrong. HAVING A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS simply means THANKSLIVING i.e loving Jesus reciprocally by living our lives as people who are grateful to him for all that he wrought through his substitutionary sacrificial death on the cross, while at the same time enjoying all the benefits of this great salvific death in our lives. In order words, it means: ENJOY ALL THE GOODIES OF CHRIST’S SUBSTITUTIONARY DEATH + MAKE GOOD USE OF THE CHRISTIAN FREEDOM THAT ACCOMPANIES IT. It doesn’t prevent you from obeying the secular authorities or the church order or belonging to a church or asking other members of the church to pray with/for you. NO, IT WOULD RATHER OBLIGE YOU TO DO ALL THESE WILLINGLY WITHOUT COMPUNCTION.

I can’t speak for everyone’s Protestant experience, only my own. I was raised United Methodist and went to Protestant summer camp and VBS at various churches. I remember hearing certain pieces of mis-information about Catholics and what they believe as I was growning up.
Some of these included: Catholics worship/ pray to Mary and the Saints, Catholics don’t read the Bible, they don’t have a “personal” relationship in Jesus, they belive in salvation by works alone and not by faith, and such. I was also taught that in order to be saved a Christian had to be “Born Again” and that they had to ask Jesus into their heart and have a “personal relationship” with Him.(someone once told me that Mormons have horns that are cut off and burried at birth. I have some close friends that are Mormon, no horns!)

I’m not speaking for your husband, but he may have been exposed to these sort of ideas as well. I guess hearing these things didn’t have too much of an effect on me, I became a Catholic at Easter Vigil, and my relationship with Jesus has never been better!! I think most like me didn’t even realize that they were being exposed to bigotry and those who spread it probably believe they are well intentioned. I’m glad I took to time to find out for myself.

:hug1: unfortunately there are non Catholics who think that Catholics don’t know Jesus. Of course, that is false. It’s based on misunderstanding. I’ve had people think this about me too. In fact, when I was a Protestant, that’s what I was told about Catholics, and also believed it. I know it’s really hurtful but it’s not your fault, it’s based on misunderstanding, and God knows the truth. :slight_smile: Hopefully over time, your husband will be more open to the Catholic faith; keep on praying for him. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad witness. God bless

I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I have been in many conversations with my separated brothers and sisters in Christ who likewise have this same relationship.
My thoughts on how we might disabuse the prejudices of those who misunderstand Catholic teaching regarding the saints lies in our personal relationships.
We may know about a person through reading about his life and/or work but we only come to know that person by spending time with him/her. The same can be said of our relationship with Jesus Christ. It develops when we spend time with Him in prayer, whether in our private “closet,” before the Blessed Sacrament, or in communal worship.
We do not develop our relationships in isolation. We come to know our friend’s family and friends. Somebody introduced us to our friend. Moving this to the next step, I may come to know Jesus because I first knew Mary or I may come to better know Mary and her role in salvation history through my relationship with Jesus Christ.

What is a personal relationship in comparison to the Eucharist, when one receives the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, Savior and God, Jesus Christ? Through the Eucharist we become one with the Church which is the Mystical Body of Christ, and through the Church we become one with Jesus Christ himself. Any personal relationship pales in comparison to what Catholics receive in the Eucharist.

I like this a lot, thanks.


It was just a real blow after knowing/being with him for years, talking about our faith together, practising our faith together - and all this time he doesn’t think I have a personal relationship with Jesus…:bighanky:

I write this only as my opinion, but if he isn’t baptized, then he has no personal relationship with Christ and is not an adopted son of God, his soul not bearing the character of baptism and not having received the grace of adoption.

You who are baptized, and receive him in the Holy Eucharist have a more deep relationship with our Lord. You realize that the burdensome rules and systems are a sweet yoke because you do it out of love. He can’t understand that because he lacks sanctifying grace (=charity) and so the “system” is only a “burden” to him. He has no personal relationship with Christ.

I have started to notice teeny tiny comments that get slipped into the sermons at his church and I’m certain to the congregation there it means nothing but to me they can quite often be a stab in the gut, sometimes with a little twist of the knife as well. I’m sure the intention is good but it’s just so misinformed…

I share your opinion, which is what makes his comment so hurtful/insulting to me. Of course if I said that to him, he’d hit the roof! I have tried talking to him about baptism but his idea of what it is, is just so distorted and wrong. To him it has nothing to do with adoption, washing away sin, being clothed in Christ - it is just a sign to show everyone else that he has made a committment, to him he has to be perfect first before he gets baptised…:shrug:

If we could be perfect of our own accord, Christ would not have needed to die for our sins. As scripture says “He became sin for our sin.” He was the sacramental lamb and we are baptized into His death. We are baptized into the Body of Christ which is His Church.
I find St. Augustine’s Enchiridion on Faith,Hope, and Love easier to read than his other works. You might find it a great help in future discussions. I am not suggesting you quote St. Augustine, but rather use the book to guide you toward helpful scripture passages.
It may be a good idea at the moment to put any actual discussion on the back burner to avoid strife, “a luxury that Christians cannot afford.” When this storm calms, by God’s grace, you will have the necessary words.

This is a sad thing indeed. Such a shallow interpretation that flies in the face of Holy Scripture that so clearly teaches the application of Christ’s sacrifice through Baptism. Nowhere is Baptism mentioned only as a “sign” in Scripture, in fact, it is not only commanded but presented as salvific, a burial into Christ and rising as a new creation.

It may be that it’s God’s will that he be converted, even at the very end of his life. Perhaps you are called to pray and suffer much, shedding many tears for his sake. Bear his insult with patience and join it quietly with the Cross for his understanding and conversion. Offer the Precious Blood for this intention, and ask our Lady to do so as well, for how can the Father not look upon the Blood of his Son and not hear your prayers for your husband’s soul?

I used to be Orthodox & my wife is Catholic. At one time she converted to Orthodox. Now we are both Catholic.

I’m sure you know that that Orthodox & Catholic are much closer than Catholic & Protestant. Yet we both felt the need to find as many spiritual things in common to the point that we had to be in the same exact faith. Having the Joy of the Lord together is so important to our marriage. Of course no one believes exactly the same things, but having the same approach to God can keep you in the same boat to the point were it becomes then possible to enhance each others Joy with our differences.

The key then to spiritual harmony with your spouse is having the same ‘approach’ to God; or at least understanding each others different approaches to God and fully acknowledging the equal validity of either approach and completely respecting them. You want to understand how your husband can still be close to Christ and yet he doesn’t go to church as often as you do. Would you go to church as often as you do if all they had at Mass was a reader service and no communion? Most Protestants Churches only have communion about once a month, and then they don’t believe they are partaking of the Body of Christ. A Protestant Church may say that “worship service is at 10:30” but they don’t go there to worship, they go there for fellowship & instruction. Worship is done only in the privacy of ones heart. The true communion for a protestant is a spiritual communion of silent prayer in ones heart; so no need to go to church for that!

You say your husband “isn’t baptized, doesn’t believe the Church is Christ’s bride, does no bible study, participates in no church groups/activities”, well none of these are essential to a Protestant. Faith ‘alone’ is the only thing that can bring a man to God. These other things are good too but only if you don’t become dependent on them. It can never be faith plus anything, so there are even some Protestants that will not even get baptized in order to avoid the idea that their salvation comes through faith plus baptism. For the Catholic approach to God all these things help to draw us to Christ, but for a Protestant approach to God it’s only faith and anything that is added to that faith can only be a distraction.

I wish you well! I think you husband will see the light one day soon. I almost decided not to send this post, but my wife read it & told me to send it, so I did. God bless!

Thanks JohnVIII - I’m glad you did post, it does help make sense of the situation

I went through a similar experience just last Tue with a person I had just started working with. He asked me where I went to church and after I told him he asked me to come to his office. He spent the next 20 minutes trying to convert me, asking if I’d had a “conversion experience” and so on.

This is going to sound harsh but few of these people have any kind of genuine relationship with God. What they do have a relationship with is a construct of their own mind that they put in the place of God therefore setting up a clear idolatry. It is sad and all we can do is continue to pray for them and trust them to God’s love.

In Christ

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