Personal relationship with Jesus Christ


#1

I’ve always thought the term “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” was a Protestant thing. In fact, I even saw a priest on EWTN “mock” Protestants for thinking that they do have a relationship with JC (I didn’t catch his name-older guy in a brown robe). But today on EWTN I saw Fr. Corapi teaching about prayer as described in the Catechism. To my surprise, he said that through prayer one has a personal relationship with JC. I was shocked so I jumped online to research this a bit and found that there are some Catholics that are surprised when they hear that they are to have a relationship with Christ but that, indeed, they are to foster this relationship especially in prayer.

So here’s my question:
If Catholics are to have a personal relationship with Christ and this is achieved through prayer, why do we need Mary and the saints to intercede?


#2

Welcome aboard, CAF, mate. :slight_smile:

Firstly, I wish to contest “Need Mary and the Saints to intercede”, wherever did you get this from?

However, God has chosen that people are allowed to pray for us. Both in heaven (Rev 5:8) and on earth to pray for us and help us on our spiritual journey.

Does any of your family or friends pray for you? If they do, do you **need **them to pray for you?

Maybe you don’t absolutely need them but I’m sure you’d prefer them to pray for you, right?

Just because you might ask your friends or family to pray for you, does this mean you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus?

JD


#3

Catholics have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through their baptism which makes them children of God and members of Christ’s Mystical Body on Earth–the Catholic Church. That relationship is nurtured and developed by means of His grace through the other sacraments, primarily the Eucharist in which we receive his Body, Blood Soul and Divinity incarnationaly, under the appearances of created things namely bread and wine. Our prayer is gratitude and praise for this gift, contrition for anything which damages this relationship, and humble requests for more grace and for all the gifts he wishes to give us.

We are in this relationship in a community, not only one on one, and all members of this community relate to one another, and with Christ, pray with one another, intercede for one another, thank Christ with one another, praise God with one another. This community includes not only those Christians alive on earth today, but the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us, namely the saints, named and unknown, now in heaven, of whom Mary is the greatest because of her Yes to God’s will, by which the Son of God became Incarnate and came into the world in His human nature.


#4

First thing: please be careful about claiming that you saw a priest “mock” Protestants for claiming to have a personal relationship with Jesus without something to back it up - like a link. It makes no sense and you were probably mistaking the context of the discussion. It may have been a discussion about the importance of the Church, for example, and how some beleive that their “personal relationship with Jesus” obviates any need for a church.
Second thing: “need” is the wrong word.
With that out of the way I think the simplest answer is that a personal relationship with Jesus can be fostered through their prayers for you as well as your own.


#5

Of course Catholics have a personal relationship with Christ–through prayer, through scripture, through the sacraments, in the adoration chapel, at Mass, in the privacy of one’s home, anywhere. This personal relationship can be, I think, much deeper than many protestants seem to appreciate.

Having a personal relationship with Christ does not, of course, prevent one from having personal relationships with other members of His family.


#6

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
There’s so much to reply to and yet I don’t have a lot of time so I will try to make this quick:

Catholics have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through their baptism which makes them children of God and members of Christ’s Mystical Body on Earth–the Catholic Church. That relationship is nurtured and developed by means of His grace through the other sacraments, primarily the Eucharist in which we receive his Body, Blood Soul and Divinity incarnationaly, under the appearances of created things namely bread and wine. Our prayer is gratitude and praise for this gift, contrition for anything which damages this relationship, and humble requests for more grace and for all the gifts he wishes to give us.

According to Fr. Copari’s sermon on prayer as described in the Catechism, prayer is absolutely the most important thing we must do because it is through prayer we foster this relationship. I’m confused as to why the RCC doctrine has to be so confusing. If prayer is the most important and potent way to foster our relationship with Christ, why do we need all the other stuff? (He also emphasized that the “rock” is God, not Peter…but that’s another thread).

Maybe you don’t absolutely need them but I’m sure you’d prefer them to pray for you, right?

This is what confuses me–if we don’t “need” Mary/Saints to pray for us and have direct access to God through Jesus, why would we? Why not go straight to the source 100% of the time? Why would raise my hand in class and ask a question to the student teacher when the professor is right there willing to answer? We all agree that we have direct access to God through Jesus and the Sacred Scriptures say:

1 Tim 2:5 *For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
*

Heb 4:16 *Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
*

Heb 7:25 *Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
*

Secondly, I’ve read/reseached the RCC doctrine’s view of asking “for” intercession by Mary/Saints but, in general, it does seem that these requests are delivered in the form of prayer. The practices don’t seem to be in line with the doctrine for how else is the request delivered? If I ask something of Mary or a Saint, aren’t I requesting something from them just as I do when I pray to God? My method of asking is prayer. How else can we ask? Also, what about the wide practice of praying to particular saints for particular types of things/blessings? What about shrines made in saints’ honors? Shrines are a form of worship as is prayer (I guess that is also another thread). I can’t reconcile these practices with the words of Jesus. We are taught that the Sacred Scriptures are to be used in harmony with tradition, but why then does the tradition go against what the scriptures tell us about prayer?

First thing: please be careful about claiming that you saw a priest “mock” Protestants for claiming to have a personal relationship with Jesus without something to back it up - like a link. It makes no sense and you were probably mistaking the context of the discussion.

I do apologize for the vague reference but I was unable more info. And it wasn’t out of context, I watched a good portion of the interview. I do believe it was an interview on “Life on the Rock”, but it was several months ago. I will try to stay away from such vagueness in the future, however, it didn’t directly effect my question, it simply served as a catalyst to ask my question. :wink:

I’ll catch up with y’all later…


#7

When I read comments like this, I sometimes wonder why protestants even bother to go to church. One does not need other people to have directe access to God. If that’s all that’s needed–Jesus and me–why bother with church, congregation, pastor, all of that communal and community stuff? Why pray for each other, or ask others to pray for you?

If you believe that it’s OK to have a church family, then consider that Catholics just have a very large extended family.


#8

I strongly disagree with the concept of a “personal relationship” with Christ. Clearly Scripture is at odds with the notion of Christ having a personal relationship with each member of the multitudes he preached to. For example, He only explained his parables to a select few and the Last Supper was not a Las Vegas-style buffet meant to feed a crowd. Tradition speaks of the Church’s relationship with Christ. Clearly the nature of our relationship to Christ is meant to be corporate, not personal.


#9

It is both. Most practising Catholics say private prayers as well as attending public worship.
A few of us are called to be hermits and spend our lives in solitude, but only a very few. For them the “personal relationship with Jesus” is all-important. But for most of us, our faith is expressed largely in our social lives. The Protestants are not entirely wrong, but they’ve got the balance wrong, or rather the rhetoric of the “personal relationship with Jesus” does not match the realaity of quite tightly controlled collective gatherings.


#10

I would ask Paul why he sometimes didn’tgo straight to the source” as you put it.


#11

It seems to me that even in our private prayers, we are called to pray for ourselves, but only in relation to our membership as part of Christ’s Church. The experience of the hermits who lived in solitude does not deny the primacy of the corporate, rather than personal relationship that we are meant to have with Jesus. Such individuals would gather in a community frequently, attend Mass and offer, in their spare time, the prayer petitions of those they met at these gatherings. It seems therefore that the emphasis is still on the nature of our corporate relationship to Christ. The individual experience simply has no place in the Tradition. Our Lord’s Prayer always being recited in the first-person plural further evidences this fact.

Finally, we can see that this notion of the “personal relationship with Christ” fuels more vices than virtues. It has the unfortunate effect of inflaming vanity, stoking personal pride, leading to covetousness, and evoking spiritual envy in our neighbors. It is a poisonous concept that stands in opposition to the communal nature of Christ’s Church and has no place among His faithful.


#12

[INDENT]Wherever God opens a door of speech for proclaiming the mystery of Christ, there is announced to all men with confidence and constancy the living God, and He Whom He has sent for the salvation of all, Jesus Christ, in order that non -Christians, when the Holy Spirit opens their heart, may believe and be freely converted to the Lord, that they may cleave sincerely to Him Who, being the “way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), fulfills all their spiritual expectations, and even infinitely surpasses them.

This conversion must be taken as an initial one, yet sufficient to make a man realize that he has been snatched away from sin and led into the mystery of God’s love, who called him to enter into a personal relationship with Him in Christ.

Second Vatican Council, Decree Ad Gentes 13
[/INDENT]


#13

I receive Him on my tongue and consume Him into my body - how much more personal do you want to get? :smiley:

~Liza


#14

I have watched most of Fr. Corapi’s programs and heard him speak several times and I think you are misquoting or misunderstanding him. That being said, prayer is the most important, and the Liturgy–Mass, Sacraments and Liturgy of the Hours–is the public prayer of the Church. Private prayer is also important, but not the only way Catholics are required to pray. The other “stuff” including the sacramental economy is important because Christ ordained it.


#15

Catholics have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is through the Eucharist.

Protestants do not have this relationship as they prefer to think of the Eucharist as symbolic (high Anglicans excepted).


#16

You ask why if we can go strait to God through Christ why ask the Saints to pray for us? Well that is an odd question why wouldn’t you? If your confusion is that it is the Saints through their own power that are answering your prayers then stop worrying. They don’t. You should be praying to God, but just like it doesn’t hurt to ask your priest or a friend to pray for you its good to ask your heavenly friends to pray for you too. You don’t have to but if you don’t because you see it as unnatural then I would have to ask (like someone else here) why you bother with Church at all?

As to having a personal relationship with Christ. Yes we as Catholics certainly do. It annoys me to no end when Catholics just concede things that were their sole property for centuries to the Protestants simply because the Protestants claimed them.

We have a relationship with Christ through many levels. We relate to Him through baptism into the Church His Bride. We relate to Him in the Eucharist, We relate to Him by following His commandments and learning His thoughts by studying His words. We relate to Him directly in prayer. We relate to Him in our daily life by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We have a relationship with Christ at every level that Protestants do we also have the advantage of experiencing Him in ways not available to them (like the Eucharist).

To bring it all together the Communion of the Saints is also a way by which we can relate to Christ. By sharing the unity of His Body we as Christians militant, suffering and victorious we are able access the wonders of Christ through out the ages. Thus we gain a view into the eternity that His life, death and resurection has purchased for us.


#17

Catholics have the opportunity to have a deeply personal, mystical relationship with Jesus through personal prayer, communal prayer, and the Eucharist. In personal prayer Jesus teaches us about the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus is our brother, our shepherd, our way, truth, and life. In Communal Prayer, Catholics unite with Christ as His Mystical Body. Christ is our Head and we, His members. It is in this Mystic Union that we are both united to each and every disciple of Jesus–including those who are in Heaven, those in Purgatory, and those who are fighting the good fight on earth. In the Eucharist, the supreme Communal and Personal Prayer of Christ, Catholics have a foretaste of heaven. We are united with Christ as His Bride, the Church–the Church Triumphant, the Church Millitant, and the Suffering Church. Thus we are united with Mary, the Mother of God and all the Saints at each and every Mass lifting our hearts in prayer with Jesus to the Father in the Holy Spirit for our salvation and the salvation of all the people of the World.

As for the second question, we do not need Mary for salvation. God chose for us to need Mary out of His great wisdom and love for us. God chose to give Jesus to us through Mary. It is in this way that I know that with Mary’s Help, I will know Jesus better by knowing Mary. Mary can teach me about her son in a way that no other human can.

I had great difficulty with my faith until I begged Mary for her help. From that moment on, I have grown in wisdom and grace, certainly not on my efforts alone, but through the Grace that God makes available to us through Mary. Think of Mary as a treasure that God has given to us to help us on our way to Jesus. Would it not be rude not to open up this treasure and use this precious gift that God has given us?

My mother and father in law have a bumper sticker: Want to find Jesus; Look for Mary.

For more about this way of knowing Jesus more closely you may want to read and pray St. Louis DeMontfort’s book True Devotion to Mary.


#18

Other Eric, I both agree and disagree with you.

I agree with you for the following reason. What exactly IS a personal relationship with Jesus? Ask a Protestant. Each answer will be different because as humans, we all have a different perception of what a “personal relationship” is.

Some are raised in loving, affectionate families with a lot of hugging, pet names, and chatter. For these people, a relationship with Jesus is very emotional and physical (hand-raising, singing, dancing, being slain in the Spirit, etc.). They have an easy time praising and expressing love to Jesus, and they are very “event” centered–just like their families had “dinners” and “picnics” and “camp outs,” they enjoy “worship experiences” with Jesus and His family.

Others (me) are raised in very staid families, where hugs and kisses are given sparingly if at all, and conversation is about issues and events, not personal matters. Our “relationship with Jesus” looks extremely different than the emotional relationship of others. We talk with Jesus, but only about important things. We are interested in study and learning. And we have a hard time with the concept of “praise” because when we were growing up, we didn’t get praised very often. As for physical displays of affection in public–no way! We feel extremely uncomfortable with this kind of thing!

Still others are raised in a atmosphere of suspicion, conflict, and even hate. Parents and other relatives are abusive and even absent. For these people, a “relationship with Jesus” is characterized by lack of trust and communication. These people struggle with “falling away” and “returning to repentance” and then beginning the cycle again. Many end up leaving Christianity entirely because they just can’t manage to find that “personal relationship” with Jesus like the “affectionate” group of Christians! They never received love from their families, so they have a hard time receiving love from God.

I realize that the above descriptions are gross simplifications. But the fact remains, humans impose our own expectations and norms upon a “personal relationship” with Jesus. I believe–and I say this with fear and trembling–that many “personal relationships with Jesus” are human-driven rather than Christ-driven.

The main reason I disagree with you is that the Catholic Church Itself teaches the importance of a “personal relationship with Jesus.” Our Holy Father has spoken of this; in fact, I have used some of his writing about “personal relationship with Jesus” to speak with Protestants about Catholic Christianity.

As a convert to Catholicism from evangelical Protestantism, I find that my “personal relationship with Jesus” has become “Jesus-driven.” I don’t have to conjure up “feelings” of affection and love for the Lord. I obey Him and His Church, and in return, He gives graces to me that are helping me to conquer sin and do good in this world.

To me, it’s been like the consummation of a marriage. My husband and I dated for six years before we got married, and we were virgins on our wedding night.

Before we consummated the marriage, we definitely had a “personal relationship.” But it was when we entered into marriage that we really became “one.”

It’s the same way, for me anyway, with Catholicism. As a Protestant, I knew Jesus. But as a Catholic, I am joined with Jesus in Holy Communion. For me, it’s like…hope no one is offended…the union of a husband and wife, only different of course because it’s Eucharist, not Matrimony.


#19

Well said, Cat.


#20

Why pray to the saints in heaven when we can pray directly to Jesus Christ? Short answer: “The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects” (James 5:16) and there are no men more righteous than the saints in heaven.

Longer answer: We pray to the saints in heaven because their personal relationship with Jesus Christ is more perfect than ours and, consequently, their prayers to Jesus on our behalf are more efficacious than our own prayers directly to Jesus.

Suggested reading: James 5:14-18.


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