Personal Relationship concept


I watched that Common Ground show with Fr John Riccardo the other night. Something he said got me thinking. The protestant minister asked him what he thought the protestants could learn from catholics and Fr John said reverance, and explained that catholics revered Jesus and the Father, maybe a bit more than protestants. That many protestants had this concept of Jesus being their ‘buddy’ or friend.

This got me thinking about the whole ‘personal relationship’ language that protestants like to use. I wonder if they use this because of their concept of Jesus as a buddy or good friend. And because they might lack a certain reverence, they have this personal concept of their relationship with Jesus. I know I always have had a lack of understanding of the personal relationship language, and still don’t get what they’re asking. I don’t look at Jesus or the Father as my buddy or close friend. I have this idea of reverence of them both, as Fr John explained most catholics do. Is this why most of us catholics have problems with the personal relationship question?

Not that I don’t have a relationship with Christ. But I don’t think of it as personal. I try to center my life on Him, and include him in my life everywhere. But I wouldn’t really think of it as a ‘personal’ relationship. I mean, I’m not telling Him jokes or watching football with Him. His place in my life is much more reserved, holy, somber. Does that make sense?


What I bolded is what we mean by personal relationship. It’s just a difference in terminology. You may not be telling him jokes or watching Football with Him but he’s there when you do those things all the same. You can’t compartmentalize God.

I do agree that most protestants need more reverence though. :wink:


This is a good explanation, Syele, of the non-Catholic interpretation of “personal relationship.” Though there is truth in this statement, I do think many of our protestant brothers and sisters take this meaning too far. It’s reflected in many contemporary Christian t-shirts, sayings, stickers, and other products that seem to reduce the importance of Christ into just another “buzz-word” or “sound-byte.”

Personally, the term annoys me a bit because of that.


We do have a personal relationship with Christ. We also relate to the Godhead corporately as a Body of Christ. It’s a both/and, not an either/or.



Why not just say that then? “Do you center your life in Christ?” Because that’s a whole lot easier to understand.



Well that’s like saying why don’t you just throw out any term people are using and use it’s definition instead. We use the term cause everyone else is using it. LOL Since it’s a pretty universal term among protestants, If I use it to them they know what I mean. I doubt just me changing it and saying “well those Catholics at CAF like it better this way” would convince protestants everywhere to use a new term for it. :smiley:


As a Catholic, I do feel I have a personal relationship with God and Christ, but those aren’t the words I would chose to describe it. That phrase has always made me feel that it’s all about me, when it should be about God. “Relationship” just doesn’t begin to cover it. I worship Him and would be and have nothing without Him. “Relationship” makes it sound like we’re both in it because we both need something from the other and we are both free to leave if we want. God needs nothing from me and I need everything from Him.


I generally equate relationships with commitment to one another, not with freedom to leave at any time. I also think being in any “relationship” (friends, spouse, God/man, business partnership) sould be based on more than what you can get out of the other side. I’m :eek: at the shallowness of this idea of the word relationship.


Personal relationship is a bit of a misnomer… not to mention a problematic statement. Personal relationship denotes a singular one-on-one relationship only. Christ taught us community worship, community service and community love. Did he not teach us to break bread as a community? Did he not teach us that when we serve the least of our brethren, we are serving him? Most of what Christ taught us to do involves others not just ourselves, even in how we deal with someone who wrongs us. By eliminating everyone else except ourselves and Christ, we are not caring, loving, sharing with others… we are solitary, which was never meant to be.

It is a shame to limit our thoughts of Christ in this way.


Why are people so caught up on the word only? No one ever said there is nothing beyond the personal relationship. but it does have to start at a single person level. That person must decide to follow Jesus, that person must decide to join the church. IF that one single person doesn’t decide those things they never get any farther. Sounds pretty personal to me.


Yes this is all true but if you do not have that personal relationship with Christ first then you wont be able to have a relationship with the community of believers or probably even want to.:shrug:


Don’t you need faith first not a personal relationship?


How do you get faith without interacting with God on a personal level?


I guess I always considered them one in the same.:shrug: But I suppose you would have to have faith first and then continue the personal relationship the rest of your life:thumbsup:


I like what you’ve written…my cousin is one who believes that Catholics have no personal relationships with the Lord and as such, sadly, we don’t realize just how big the handbasket is that we’re all going to heck in…

I told her just over year ago that I did indeed have a personal relationship with God. She asked me why I worshipped the saints and prayed to Mary if that were true…I pointed out to her that I ask for their intercessory prayers just the way she asks her christian brothers and sisters at their weekly services…she didn’t respond to this but then asked me* how* I knew I had a personal relationship with our Lord…I told her that the saints and Mary were instrumental in **leading me to our Lord **and that they no way replaced Him in status…she didn’t have much to say after this and unfortunately, doesn’t come over much to visit anymore…I guess she’s wiped her feet and hands of me just the way the other evangelicals do that come by on Saturday mornings.

What a privilege it is to be Catholic…thank you Jesus for all my suffering…for without it, I would have never come to realize that I mattered to you.


I agree, but much of society does use relationship much in the way I described. It just doesn’t seem an adequate way to describe what God has done for us. i.e…you have a “relationship” with you neighbor and with your bank…it just sounds cheap or plastic to me to use the same word to describe how we interact with our Creator.


I just think that having a personal relationship with God and/or Jesus sounds like, to me, that there is a lack of reverance or respect. That song “Jesus is just alright with me” always pops into my head.


It can also be that the personal relationship concept goes along with the whole “being a church member can’t get you to heaven” and “a priest can’t do all the work for you” and “you aren’t saved by being a good person.”


I refuse to let the world erode the beauty of what a relationship should mean. In the same way, I refuse to acknowledge the rainbow as a symbol of homosexual “diversity.” Am I stubborn? Yes. But if Christians don’t stand up for God’s truth and right and wrong, defending such things, we will lose in the end.


I’m not trying to be contrary but I have never heard the term “personal relationship” as some sort of attack on Catholics. Sometimes I get the impression Catholics around here are LOOKING for ways to claim protestants are out to get them. Maybe I just misunderstood your post. :confused:

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