personal relationship with Jesus Christ

I am a lapsed Catholic–pretty much lost my faith completely–but I do miss the church and, from time to time, I am curious enough to re-explore some Catholic ideas, doctrine, dogma, etc. I guess I sometimes feel like exploring possible ways back into belief, wats past all my intellectual objections.

That’s the background, in any case. My question for now is this: We hear all the time about how we should have, recognize, deepen, etc., our “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” I’ve never, even when I was a happy and faithful Catholic, known what that phrase was supposed to really mean in practical terms. And I wouldn’t have a clue how to put it into practice now if I wanted to.

I’m curious to hear what others think that phrase might mean, in very practical terms. How does one have a “personal relationship” with Jesus? I can see praying to him, talking to him, etc., but unless he’s talking back I don’t see the basis for the relationship.

Not trying to be cantankerous. Just looking for some useful thinking on this. Thanks for any thoughts.

I too am a Catholic revert. One of the ways Jesus speaks to us is through the Church. I have noticed that as I live my life following the teachings of the Church I have become a much better father, husband, employee, student, brother, citizen, and more.

I am not entirely sure if that is what you meant, but it certainly is practical I think. Also my prayer life with Jesus and receiving the Sacraments does in fact help me to follow the Churches teachings more easily.

Hope that helps.

I ask Jesus to be with me while I’m doing my daily chores. I play at woodworking and sometimes I ask him if he likes the tools now a days, are they so different from the tools in His day, or help me keep the saw on the line and make a straight cut. I can sort of feel him around me. I don’t always make that perfect cut but it turns out good enough. Sometimes I get hurt, a splinter grabs me or nail scratches me and I offer it up for sins against the Immaculate Heart of his mother or His own Sacred Heart. It helps the day go faster for me and my attitude is good, joyful, even if everything is not perfect. (I be working with a guy that likes perfection, my hubby! :rolleyes:)

Talk to him. Start your morning off thanking him for the beautiful morning…ask him to be with you throughout the day…talk to him like he is your best friend. Ask him for help when you need it…thank him when things are going great. When you know you’ve done something wrong ask for forgiveness.

I think this “personal relationship with Jesus” is modern-day evangelical thinking that arose out of their type of worship. It’s important for them to have a “personal” relationship with Him because that’s the only type of relationship evangelicals can have with Him. They don’t have a liturgical type of worship, and a communion (Eucharist) or sacraments. Catholic type worship is done communally. Our beliefs are formed by the communion of 1. the Bible, 2. Tradition 3. the Magisterium.

Because we cannot administer the sacraments to ourselves, everything about Catholic worship and practices are done communally and in concert with others. So this “personal relation with Jesus” is something that is done within yourself, singly and alone, and that is important to non-denominational and evangelical Christians because that is how their worship evolved.

I also believe that other Christians use this “personal relationship” business to differentiate themselves and separate themselves from anything that smacks of the communal feel of Catholic worship, which also leads them to believe in the erroneous notion that Catholics don’t have any kind of relationship with Jesus other than going to Mass on autopilot and saying repetitious prayers like a robot. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What does this mean in a practical sense for Catholics? Nothing. This “personal relationship” is like a chameleon. It takes on whatever color you want it to be. Do you love our Lord? Do you appreciate Him suffering for you? Do you want to follow Him? If you do, then you have a personal relationship with Him. Come back to the Catholic Church, where you can have the best kind of “personal relationship” with Him and partake of the sacraments He instituted for us.

To me it’s like talking to a family member. I tell him what is going on, how I feel about things, what is worrying me, and my plans for the future. I take time to be quite and listen. I believe that if we are going to receive him with in the Eucharist we must have a personal relationship with him.

God bless you

I know what you mean to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ because I feel I have one.First I say the Rosary everyday the Luminous, Glorious, Joyful and Sorrowful,not all at once but one a day.I think of Jesus as I say the Rosary and what he went through for us and pray for people too.Mass use to be boring but not any more I really relax and listen ,sing and enjoy it.I totally look forward to the Host or Jesus every week.It has taken me along time to get to this point in my life and I am 63 years old.I was born a Catholic.So you just need to have faith.I know this will happen to because you want it.God Bless!

Belonging to the Church that Jesus founded, the Catholic Church, and partaking of the Sacraments that He gave us (especially the Eucharist) is having a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior.

You ask a very good question - - -

Frankly - I’m not crazy about the phrase, “have a personal relationship with Jesus”.
To me it smacks of a “bumper stickler” kind of theology. It over simplifies and, as you have discovered, it can be interpreted in different ways. I’m afraid that all too often this “personal relationship” outlook allows one to justify things that ought not be justified.

Now - having said that - we ARE suppose to deepen our relationship with the Lord
AND with the Father.
It starts with getting to know as much as we can about God and what He wants for us. This means learning about God’s Love for us - which is the foundation for everything else. We need to grow in our understanding of that Love - how it pours from God to us - how we are to show that love to others (who are reflections of Christ among us).
The more deeply we Love - Agape - The more we know God…for as St John said in his first letter…
1John 4:7-8
Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.

Since God is Love - then we need to seek him in a love relationship.


We Catholics are blessed because we know Him more personally than anyone. Not trying to come off as arrogant here. But, every time we go to receive Holy Communion…we receive Jesus Christ. The Holy Eucharist is the ***whole ***Christ! Every moment that you spend with him in the Blessed Sacrament, it is Him who looks back at you, who sees deep into your heart and soul. How awesome is that…huh? It doesn’t get any more personal than that! :):wink:

Peace, Mark

Thanks for the thoughts, all. And as James just pointed out, “a personal relationship with Christ” certainly seems to be a phrase open to a variety of interpretations–ranging from pure subjective feeling/emotion to attendance at Mass and participation in the sacraments.

I agree that it sounds like more of a protestant “evangelical” phrase, but I’ve recently noticed it being said on some of the EWTN programming, and, I think, Catholic Answers, which is what prompted the question in this forum.

I may be back in the church someday; at the moment, as I say, lack of Christian faith is the main problem. But it’s a biggie–lots and lots of intellectual hurdles that neither Lewis nor Kreeft nor Barron nor the Catechism nor the Bible nor you-name-the-apologist has been able to help me over.

Take care.

Lectio Divina…listen to him speak to you through the Word, meditate on how his Word speaks to your situation, respond to him through prayer, feel his goodness through contemplation.


Pray every day asking the Lord to grant you the gift of faith, meditate on the life of Jesus,…keep searching…please don’t just wait for fireworks of enlightenment to just happen whenever. He created you and He loves you, be assured of that.

Adam broke communion with God; relationship with Him was shattered for all humanity, as made evident by the way the world is, with sin alive and well on planet earth. Jesus came to reconcile man and God, to “reveal the Father”, when the time was ripe, so man and God may unite again, as was always intended, as right order and justice calls for. We have relationship with God as we ask, seek, and knock, as we pray, as we experience the sacraments, as we express our faith in love, doing good for “the least of these”. But now we still see, as 1 Cor 13 tells us, “as through a glass, darkly”. But then-in the next life-we’ll see “face to face”; in the immediate presence of God our relationship will be completely consummated and only then will our satisfaction and happiness be irrepressible, without bounds.

What is it like? Its like a marriage. He is so beautiful, so good, and I want him. I want to be one with him. But God leads you into the relationship slowly. At first he’s just that odd guy you start talking too, eventually you’re good friends, and then BAM! you’re saying “you seduced me Lord, and I let myself be seduced” (Jer. 20:7).

What is heaven but complete and utter union with God? We achieve that through the person of Christ. If we are united with him, we are united with the whole Trinity. In short, a “personal relationship with Christ” is everything! Its just not as sappy as some people might interpret it to mean. Its demanding, painful, and utterly beautiful.

You’re right that no one can just tell you what its like. You have to live it. All I can suggest is that you pray, and you ask for a relationship with him. Yes, he will talk back in your heart, in an unexplainable way- probably won’t be hearing voices though :smiley: Ask and you shall recieve! And you wouldn’t desire God if he hadn’t been calling you first. I’ll say a prayer for you. Hope you come home :slight_smile:

Thanks for the thoughts and ideas, folks. The whole “relationship with Jesus” idea has been a tough nut for me to crack for most of my life–I’m nearing 60. I’ve never had a problem believing in God. I’ve always seen the wisdom of living an ethical life. But the intricacies of much Christian/Catholic dogma and doctrine (and ritual) seem superfluous and, for me, impossible to believe.

Jesus himself said the most important commandment was to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. That makes sense to me and it seems to be the crux of what we’re asked to do, yes? (Not that it’s a specifically Christian notion–various golden-rule formulations of morality pre-date Christ by a good 500-600 years.) Even the pagans had the idea: Marcus Aurelius: “Love mankind. Follow God.”

My life would be much simpler if I could buy into the whole Catholic program. Some of you suggested I keep praying for faith. I’ve had a lifetime of asking for it, with not much result.

But perhaps this is a discussion for the apologetics section of the forum.

thanks again.

well said:thumbsup:

But it sounds like much of what you already intuit aligns with Catholic teaching. As other posters have said, the “personal relationship with Jesus” jargon is more Protestant in thought than Catholic. Jesus came to lead humanity back to the Father, to the God whom Adam scorned at the Fall. The awesome twist as it turns out, however, is that Jesus, Himself, is God; only God can save man, man cannot save himself. “Apart from Me you can do nothing” He tells us in John 15:5. God the Son sort of rolled up His sleeves, figuratively speaking, and came down here to save His lost sheep.

What makes it possible for me to love God and my neighbor is my encounters with our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Without His grace I can do nothing!

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