What is personal relationship with Christ?


#1

Jesus is the new Pascal Lamb whose sacrificial flesh and blood brings us forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:27-28), and seals God’s new and everlasting covenant with us (Luke 22:20). Therefore, unless we eat His flesh and drink his blood, we will not have life within us (John 6:53). He told His disciples that He is the living bread that came down from heaven; and the bread that He will give them for the life of the world is His flesh (John 6:51). He gave them this bread at the last supper saying, “Take, eat: this is my body” (Matthew 26:26). In His old covenant God wrote His words (Exodus 20) on stony tablets. The people were to follow the written words and prosper. In the new Covenant, God became flesh (John 1:14) and sacrificed His life to save us from sin (Matthew 26:27-28). Furthermore, He feeds us with the bread and wine, which are His sacrificial flesh (John 6:51) and blood of the New Covenant (Luke 22:20) so that we may have Eternal Life (John 6:54). In doing this He imprints His Words on our hearts (Jer. 31:33) to change our stony hearts to natural heart (Ezekiel 11:19). This means that believers follow God’s laws, not because they are laws, but because, they are the desires of their heart. In other words, their heart desires what God desires.

To make His sacrificial body and blood ever-present to us and to make His New Covenant eternal He commanded His apostles to celebrate His Supper as often as possible (Luke 22:19). This celebration is the wedding feast of the Lamb (Revelation 5:6) in which Christ unites with His people.  This celebration fulfills what Malachi had prophesized (Malachi 1:11): “from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation”.  By partaking in this meal we establish a communion of life with Christ (John 6:56).  Is not this personal relationship with Christ?

#2

I would say so! I am often tempted to get real technical with n-Cs who give me the “Have you received Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?” bit by answering “Why yes I have! Every time that I receive His body and soul, blood and divinity in the Eucharist at Mass. It makes my life worth living and I am renewed in my fights against sin and for the kingdom of God. Would you like to hear more?”

The problem is that devout & faithful Catholics have always cultivated a deep and powerful relationship with Our Lord, but we just don’t speak the same rhetoric and terminology and so we catch a lot of grief from n-Cs who generally have been led to believe that Catholics are not Christians to begin with, which is bunk.

Here is a series of really excellent tracts on this very topic that I urge you to read and maybe even print and give to anyone who asks about your salvation. (after thanking them kindly of course!) Salvation

Pax tecum,


#3

Beautiful answer arunangelo.

From one converts viewpoint… in retrospect… a simple answer (shorter) could be “Yes I have and am working on my relationship with the Eucharistic presence of Jesus”

Church Militant Michael:

The initial question is however a fair question for the protestant to ask …and they can be very well meaning when they ask it.

Student to student I would beg mercy for the annoying questions. They are fair because like any group of people in an assembly, (Protestants included), Catholics individually represent diverse stages of formation.


#4

Please consider the following from Chapter 4 of John’s Gospel

“God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.”

Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat."
32
But he said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know."
33
So the disciples said to one another, "Could someone have brought him something to eat?"
34
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work.”

It does seem like Catholic attitudes and teachings regarding the Eucharist is a stumbling block to many Protestants. We could say “serves them right” but I prefer to dwell on the words of two recent popes "That which seperates us (Catholics and non-Catholic Christians) is far less than that which unites us.

Putting all this together I would answer your question about what constitutes a relationship with Jesus in this way. “A tree is known by its fruit.” A person who acts like they have a relationship with Jesus is a person who has a relationship with Jesus.

I am a practicing Catholic who looks forward to and derives strength from the celebration of mass every week. Though I derive strength and grace from the Eucharist, I do not perceive it to be the most important thing I do as one who tries to follow Christ. When I see the world as Jesus sees it and when I treat other people the way Jesus treated them, then I am in full communion with Jesus.

There are some who receive communion but who fail to act Christlike. I would say they are not in a relationship with Jesus.

There are those who do not know the Eucharist but who show they know a great deal about Jesus by their actions. I would say they have a relationship with Jesus - though celebrating the mass and receiving the Eucharist would make for a fuller life.

“A tree is known by its fruit”

I pray that the Eucharist is never a source of division among those who follow Jesus

peace
-Jim


#5

The Catholic doctrine reveals that the Church and the saints (especially our Blessed Mother), make up the mystical Body of Christ and His visible Church (the Catholic Church) is His mystical Bride on earth. We are united with His Body and His Bride.

Many protestants say that we don’t need a visible church–that all we need is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. They deny the communion of saints.

We are all members of His mystical Body. When you separate Christ from the Body and the Bride (Catholic Church), is it still possible to have an intimate personal relationship with Him? Is ignorance an excuse?


#6

I like this answer: “Praise God brother, yes indeed, I have a personal relationship with Jesus - and his mom! Do you have a personal relationship with Mary too?” :wink:


#7

[quote=Matt16_18]I like this answer: “Praise God brother, yes indeed, I have a personal relationship with Jesus - and his mom! Do you have a personal relationship with Mary too?” :wink:
[/quote]

While I couldn’t agree more with the premise of your answer, I’m not sure if refering to Mary in terms of a personal relationship up front is a winning argument for convincing other Christians of our faith. Consider this for a moment: Are your relationships with Mary and Christ qualitatively equal?

My answer is that I would hope not, for Christ reaches out for intimacy with mankind in ways that no mere Saint could. First, Christ is the source of grace; Mary is not. Christ dwells within the hearts of believers; Mary does not. Christ is received fully in the Eucharist, joining our flesh with His; Mary is not. Christ sanctifies us and clenses us from sin; Mary does not. Christ is worthy of our worship; Mary is not. Christ created us; Mary did not.

Protestants too can have a personal relationship with Christ despite their lack of complete teaching. Many know what it means to have a relationship with Jesus. But when they hear a comment like yours, which I suspect is designed more to shock than to convince, they can not be faulted for believing that we Catholics place Mary on the same plane as Christ and are given over to idolotry.

In describing my relationship with Mary to other Christians, I take great pains to explain that my love for her is more like my love for my parents than it is like my love for Christ. I also point out that like with my parents, it is possible for anyone to love someone from a great distance. My parents are in Texas, I’m in Georgia, and Mary is in heaven. But each of us are aware of our love for one another.

With Christ, on the other hand, there is no distance: He dwells in my heart. His presence is constant, even when I sin. This means that my Creator, the One who knows me more than I know myself, is intimately bonded to me, and I to Him.

When I manage to convince other Christians that a Catholic’s relationship with Christ differs from theirs mainly in style rather than substance, then I able to confidently introduce Mary to them without holding back any truth. I explain that loving Mary as mother is Christ-like – that in seeking to be more like Christ one can not help but love His mother in the manner that He surely does, especially when one’s faith is being well formed by solid teaching.

I’m not sure if your comment has been successful in convincing other Christians of Catholic truth, but I suspect it has been more of a stumbling stone. I don’t advocate holding back truth, but we should first reach out to them with what unites us rather than what divides.

Mike


#8

Why would you do that? The love that Christians are supposed to have for one another is supernatural love, not just natural human love. We love with divine love of God because we are partakers in the divine nature of God.

I want to love Mary the way Jesus loves Mary. :slight_smile:


#9

[quote=Matt16_18]Why would you do that? The love that Christians are supposed to have for one another is supernatural love, not just natural human love.
[/quote]

Did I say that the love I have for my parents is “just natural human love”? Believe me, my love for them is supernatural. You presume too much.

Like I said before, my love for Christ, as supernatural as it is, is still infinitely more profound than my love for either my parents or Mary. I have an intimate union with Christ who indwells our hearts and gives Himself to us in the Eucharist. I can’t say the same for either my parents or Mary, and I suspect, neither can you.

Think about it this way: A man who is married has an intimate, “one flesh,” loving relationship with his wife, which I would hope is different in both the level of intimacy and expression than the loving relationship he has with his mother. The source of that love may be the same, but they are nonetheless qualitatively different.

Protestants may have the same intimate relationship with Christ by virtue of His indwelling in their hearts. As such, when you equate your relationships with Christ and Mary, who could then fault them for concluding that Catholics worship Mary as another personal Lord and Savior who presumably dwells in our hearts?

Look at it from their perspective is all I’m saying.

Mike


#10

When have I ever confused my relationship with Mary with my relationship with Christ?

Mother Teresa talked about loving the poor as loving “Christ in the distressing disguise of the poor”. She talked about loving the maggot covered leper from the slums as if she was loving Christ. Was Mother Teresa talking hyperbole when she spoke this way? No she was talking as a great mystic that understood what Christ really meant when he said: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to ME.”

Oh, this is a hard saying of Jesus! It is so much easier to think that we can love Christ more than we love the least of our brothers.

A nun I know once asked Jesus how much she really loved him (she thought she loved Jesus without restraint). Jesus told her to think of the person she loved the least - that was how much she loved Jesus.

Should my love for Mary be any less than my love of Christ in the distressing disguise of a leper?


#11

[quote=Matt16_18]Should my love for Mary be any less than my love of Christ in the distressing disguise of a leper?
[/quote]

There you go again: presuming too much. Did I say I love Christ more than Mary? I said I love Him more profoundly and intimately than my parents and Mary, by virtue of His indwelling and reception in the Eucharist.

We began on the subject of personal relationships, not who loves who more. Unless Mary indwells your heart and is received in the Eucharist, I doubt very much you could be as intimate with her as you are with Christ.

[quote=Matt16_18]When have I ever confused my relationship with Mary with my relationship with Christ?
[/quote]

Well, when you tell Protestants that you have a personal relationship with Mary. You may not intend to, but when Protestants only understand a personal relationship with Christ in terms of “having received Him as personal Lord and Savior” in their hearts, then you may be setting up Mary as a stumbling stone.

[quote=Matt16_18]I like this answer: “Praise God brother, yes indeed, I have a personal relationship with Jesus - and his mom! Do you have a personal relationship with Mary too?” :wink:
[/quote]

Difficult Catholic teaching is handled best when invested with time, effort and sacrifice, not back-at-you, quickie platitudes meant to shock.

Next time one of them asks you if you have a personal relationship with Christ, cut him some slack and make an effort to share your own testimony. Build a relationship with him so that you could bring him to a point where you could introduce him to the Eucharist and Mary. Mother Theresa would do no less.

Mike


#12

[quote=trogiah]Please consider the following from Chapter 4 of John’s Gospel

“God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.”

Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat."
32
But he said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know."
33
So the disciples said to one another, "Could someone have brought him something to eat?"
34
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work.”

It does seem like Catholic attitudes and teachings regarding the Eucharist is a stumbling block to many Protestants. We could say “serves them right” but I prefer to dwell on the words of two recent popes "That which seperates us (Catholics and non-Catholic Christians) is far less than that which unites us.

Putting all this together I would answer your question about what constitutes a relationship with Jesus in this way. “A tree is known by its fruit.” A person who acts like they have a relationship with Jesus is a person who has a relationship with Jesus.

I am a practicing Catholic who looks forward to and derives strength from the celebration of mass every week. Though I derive strength and grace from the Eucharist, I do not perceive it to be the most important thing I do as one who tries to follow Christ. When I see the world as Jesus sees it and when I treat other people the way Jesus treated them, then I am in full communion with Jesus.

There are some who receive communion but who fail to act Christlike. I would say they are not in a relationship with Jesus.

There are those who do not know the Eucharist but who show they know a great deal about Jesus by their actions. I would say they have a relationship with Jesus - though celebrating the mass and receiving the Eucharist would make for a fuller life.

“A tree is known by its fruit”

I pray that the Eucharist is never a source of division among those who follow Jesus

peace
-Jim
[/quote]

I understand what you both are saying. Because my relationship with Jesus has deepened through deliberate acts on my part - prayer and meditation come to mind as specifics - my receiving Him in the Eucharist has become more important and meaningful. At the same time, this wonderful Sacrament has been available to me since I was 7 years old. I believe one of the reasons I survived my incredibly immoral, scary and horrible life is because Jesus was present with me always and because of my being a practicing Catholic before the drugs and alcohol hit.

I guess it is kind of a “what came first, the Chicken or the Egg” kind of question. Or am I being too simplistic again? I never am sure. Sometimes I think I am just not smart enough for the people on this forum!


#13

When I receive Christ in the Eucharist, I am brought into intimate communion with the body of Christ. So, yes, the Eucharist brings me into intimate communion with Mary, since she is part of the body of Christ.

Both/And not Either/Or "I have given you this admirable heart of My dearest Mother, which is but One with Mine…."
St. John Eudes

By the will of God, the most Blessed Virgin Mary was inseparably joined with Christ in accomplishing the work of man’s redemption so that our salvation flows from the love of Jesus Christ and His sufferings, intimately united with the love and sorrows of His Mother.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pope Pius XII, 1956

For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but ** I speak in reference to Christ and the church**.
Eph 5:29-30


#14

[quote=Church Militant]I would say so! I am often tempted to get real technical with n-Cs who give me the “Have you received Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?” bit by answering “Why yes I have! Every time that I receive His body and soul, blood and divinity in the Eucharist at Mass. It makes my life worth living and I am renewed in my fights against sin and for the kingdom of God. Would you like to hear more?”

Pax tecum,
[/quote]

I think that is a great response. I usually tell them something along the lines of Yes I have personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I eat him. Then I ask them if they have a personal relationship with Mary :smiley:


#15

[quote=Jehu13]I think that is a great response. I usually tell them something along the lines of Yes I have personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I eat him. Then I ask them if they have a personal relationship with Mary :smiley:
[/quote]

After all…Jesus did!


#16

[quote=Matt16_18]When I receive Christ in the Eucharist, I am brought into intimate communion with the body of Christ. So, yes, the Eucharist brings me into intimate communion with Mary, since she is part of the body of Christ.
[/quote]

And the rest of us are part of the body of Christ as well, along with all the other heavenly Saints. So taken to it’s logical conclusion, which is no big leap, you should have an intimate and personal relationship with every saint, both mortal and immortal, who have ever existed. We all dwell in your heart, and we’re all received body and spirit into your flesh when you partake of the Eucharist. You know every single one of us as intimately and personally as you know Christ and Mary.

Imagine, millions of us everywhere actually living within your flesh. Millions of our divinely imparted spirits indwelling your heart. What a revelation! I had no idea I could do that. Why hasn’t the pope or the church magisterium ever taught that before? Have I missed something here?

I suggest you call the pope and share with him this new doctrine so that he may call a church council to declare it infallible. In the meantime, try winning Protestants over with that one. Good luck.

Then again, it might just be that you’re merely trying to stretch a few token passages to justify your overzealous – and counterproductive – claims.

Hmmm, let’s see. Either/Or not Both/And:

  1. Millions of saints from throughout time have imparted our presumably divine spirits into your heart along with the Holy Spirit according to no such known doctrine of the Church, so that we may all have an intimate and personal relationship with you, or

  2. You’re reaching.

Even a Protestant knows the answer to that one.

Mike


#17

[quote=trustmc]And the rest of us are part of the body of Christ as well, along with all the other heavenly Saints. So taken to it’s logical conclusion, which is no big leap, you should have an intimate and personal relationship with every saint, both mortal and immortal, who have ever existed.
[/quote]

Yep. :slight_smile: Haven’t you ever heard of the the communion of saints? Do you think that communion exists apart from Christ?


#18

[quote=LSK]I understand what you both are saying. Because my relationship with Jesus has deepened through deliberate acts on my part - prayer and meditation come to mind as specifics - my receiving Him in the Eucharist has become more important and meaningful. At the same time, this wonderful Sacrament has been available to me since I was 7 years old. I believe one of the reasons I survived my incredibly immoral, scary and horrible life is because Jesus was present with me always and because of my being a practicing Catholic before the drugs and alcohol hit.

I guess it is kind of a “what came first, the Chicken or the Egg” kind of question. Or am I being too simplistic again? I never am sure. Sometimes I think I am just not smart enough for the people on this forum!
[/quote]

I find more and more opportunities to quote Forrest Gump. “Stupid is as stupid does.” I believe the same is true for being smart.

If you spend time in prayer trying to deepen your relationship with Jesus, you are as smart as anyone else on this forum. Good luck. Don’t let anything lead you astray from your efforts

peace,

-Jim


#19

[quote=Matt16_18]Yep. :slight_smile: Haven’t you ever heard of the the communion of saints? Do you think that communion exists apart from Christ?
[/quote]

Of course not, but we all don’t live in your heart no matter what you desperately may want to believe. Apart from this forum, I can’t counsel you on spiritual matters according to your deepest needs, nor do I have the ability to impart any grace or know your innermost thoughts and struggles. Despite my claims to membership in the Communion of Saints, I would still hardly call this arrangement an “intimate” and “personal” relationship.

You should know from reading your Catechism and bible that Christ indwells through the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, not the Communion of Saints. And the Eucharist is the Real Presence of Christ, not the Church.

Yes, the Church doesn’t exist apart from Christ, but one would be hard pressed, including you apparently, to find any official Church teaching from the Magisterium that has come to the same outlandish conclusions about Mary and her alleged indwelling in your heart. I’ll admit, you’re good at spouting quickie Catholic platitudes that you believe justify your opinion, but only in the same way that Protestant fundamentalists are good at lobbing isolated bible verses to justify their own erroneous theology.

Bottom line – and I say this with the utmost charity out of concern for your religious development – Mary does not indwell the hearts of believers. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. The totality of Mary (body, soul and spirit) is in heaven; She is neither divine nor omnipresent. She could never be as intimate with you as Christ.

Love her and adore her, yes. Revel in the Communion of Saints, yes. Receive the fruits of the Eucharist, yes. But don’t make Mary or any other Saint out to be some sort of divine being with the same will and power to sanctify as the Holy Spirit just to satisfy some desire to be correct.

I implore you to continue this discussion with a priest. Show him this thread and allow him to comment on our dialogue. As for me, I now feel that it is pointless to go on beating a dead horse. This is my final comment on the subject. Respond to me if you want so that you can at least say you’ve had the last word, but I can no longer be a party to leading any Protestants and Catholics who may be reading this astray with your poor catechism and undeveloped theology. I’m confident that you will eventually know the truth, but only if you seek in a spirit of humility.

Mike


#20

When I’m asked if I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I answer as follows:

Yes I have an intimate physical and spiritual relationship with Jesus the Christ. I just don’t call Him on the telephone but once a week I unite my body and soul with Him when I recieve Holy Communion and almost weekly I go before Him to gaze upon His Body, Soul and Divinity where we have an intimate dialogue face-to-Face at Adoration. Just as I have a better and more intimate relationship with my wife by us living together or when I go visit my mom, my relationship with Jesus Christ is better because we get together so much.


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