I’ve heard this phrase thrown around a lot, mostly from Protestants. Is this a Catholic thing too?
If this is a Catholic thing too:
I don’t really understand exactly what is meant by a personal relationship with Christ anyway. I receive the Eucharist every week (seems pretty personal), pray every night, understand that Jesus died for our sins, know that He started the Church, that He gave us the Holy Spirit, that He IS God, that we should be self-sacrificing like He was. Is this all personal enough? It just seems to me that Jesus is so woven into everything the Church does and teaches already.
From a Catholic point of view, having a personal relationship with God means knowing and loving and serving Him, and being a true friend to Him, it means caring about what pleases Him, and also what displeases Him, it means obeying Him and keeping His commandments, because the relationship is between creature and creator, so it is different than if it were between creature and creature.
but having a relationship with God, just as with others we know, means getting to know them, and we can never get to know God completely in this life, or really the next i imagine, so you can always grow in that.
having a personal relationship with God also means talking to Him every day, and doing things for Him,
but i think the greatest way we can be close to God, is found in this passage here - “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
if we look at this passage from a spiritual sense, you can say that the laying down of life means a humble submission to Gods holy will, a giving of your life to Gods service.
i don’t know really what protestants consider a “relationship” with God to be, but that is what i think,
so i hope that helps, take care.
Indeed we are called to have a personal relationship with God, as we are his children. Catholics certainly believe this. Yet Christ as God reminds us in teaching of the Judgment of Nations of the following:
We are still called to acts of charity for our fellow man. A relationship with God alone does not suffice, as Christ clearly reminds us.
"Dear friends, we too are called to grow in faith, to open ourselves in order to welcome God’s gift freely, to have trust and also to cry to Jesus “give us faith, help us to find the way!”. This is the way that Jesus made his disciples take, as well as the Canaanite woman and men and women of every epoch and nation and each one of us.
Faith opens us to knowing and welcoming the real identity of Jesus, his newness and oneness, his word, as a source of life, in order to live a personal relationship with him. Knowledge of the faith grows, it grows with the desire to find the way and in the end it is a gift of God who does not reveal himself to us as an abstract thing without a face or a name, because faith responds to a Person who wants to enter into a relationship of deep love with us and to involve our whole life."
I think what most people mean when they say this is that they feel spiritually close to Jesus and when they pray, they talk to him on a personal level. They see him as a person in their lives and not simply as a mystical eye, silently watching them from afar. This all seems very fine to me, but what I don’t get is when Protestants assume that others don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus just because they do things to please him. What person doesn’t like it when others do nice things for them?
Speaking for myself, a personal relationship with Jesus means best friend status. This doesn’t mean that due reverence for Him being God is disregarded. It means a special closeness that allows for awareness of the divinity of Jesus, but shares with Him all cares, likes, dislikes, secrets, etc. It means doing nothing without asking for His advice, or immediately apologizing if something you do could offend Him. It means being aware of the presence of Jesus in every second, every minute, and every hour of the day. It means an intense awareness of His love, and gratitude for His love and concern. It means a constant yearning for Him.
Jesus is God. You can address your prayers to Father, Jesus, or Holy Spirit, they all still go to the same omnipotent Creator of the Universe. Sometimes it is helpful to contemplate God’s different personalities when praying, in order to see the big picture of his love.
Coming from a Southern Baptist background; I can say that often “a personal relationship with Jesus” involves praying the “Sinner’s Prayer” and asking Jesus to “come into your heart.” For Southern Baptists and some other Protestants (not all,) this “personal relationship” has nothing to do with Baptism or the Holy Eucharist, since both are considered “ordinances” which confer no Graces whatsoever.
So, some Protestant views of a “personal relationship with Jesus” are entirely different from that of Sacramental Christianity. This “personal relationship” is often associated with salvation at the moment of praying the Sinner’s Prayer–a salvation which can never be lost. This view is not supported by the Early Church or Holy Scripture, which is one of the reasons I am no longer a Southern Baptist.
My Priest has spoken of this before, and our need to know our Lord in a personal sense. He said some people know Jesus in their head - they know He existed and He’s God - but it’s not much different from knowing George Washington was the 1st President. You believe it - but it doesn’t really mean too much to you - it’s just fact. He said if it’s all in our head, but never in our heart, where we truly LOVE Him, and know that He loves us - we’re missing the boat.
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