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Oct 2, 2019

In Defense of a Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ

The Ascension Team

The phrase “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” has become so synonymous with Protestant spirituality that many Catholics seem to think it’s not that important. This is a huge problem. Dave “The Cheddar” VanVickle and I talk about why having a personal relationship with Jesus is absolutely vital for Catholics. 

It’s not about just having an emotional reaction, it’s about knowing the God we claim to love and allowing that intimacy to draw us ever deeper into the sacraments and mysteries of the Catholic Faith. 

Snippet from the Show

“Having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ ignites and amplifies the sacramental reception of him.”

SHOWNOTES

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2558 – “Great is the mystery of the faith!” The Church professes this mystery in the Apostles’ Creed (Part One) and celebrates it in the sacramental liturgy (Part Two), so that the life of the faithful may be conformed to Christ in the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father (Part Three). This mystery, then, requires that the faithful believe in it, that they celebrate it, and that they live from it in a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God. This relationship is prayer.

THE SOUL OF THE APOSTOLATE – If I do not believe the active presence of Jesus is within me, and if I did not try to make this presence within me a vital reality, I would be depriving my interior life of Jesus. . When Jesus, in this manner, becomes my light, my ideal, my counsel, my support, my refuge, my strength, my healer, my consolation, my joy, my love, in a word, my life, I shall acquire all the virtues. 

On Spiritual Perfection – The measure of a man’s love for God depends upon how deeply aware he is of God’s love for him. 

St. Theresa of Avila – “Mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us.”

Pope St. John Paul II – “Conversion means accepting, by a personal decision, the saving sovereignty of Christ and becoming his disciple.” 

Galatians 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” 

2 Timothy 4:7-8 – “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” 

St. John Paul II, speech to bishops of Southern Germany, Dec. 4, 1992  – “It is necessary to awaken again in believers a full relationship with Christ, mankind’s only Savior. Only from a personal relationship with Jesus can an effective evangelization develop.” 

Pope Benedict, Deus Caritas Est 1 – “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.” 

Pope Benedict XVI, May 2004  – “Many people perceive Christianity as something institutional — rather than as an encounter with Christ — which explains why they don’t see it as a source of joy.”

John 15:15 – “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” 

Marriage Analogy: If a couple has a great friendship, but refuses intimacy. If a couple has intimacy, but refuses to have a close friendship. Catholics are the latter, Protestants are the former. Neither is healthy! 

Five Practical Takeaways

1. Read: A book about the life of a saint (St. Francis of Assisi, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Augustine, etc.) 

2. Intercession: Pray for someone whose love for Christ or his Church has grown cold. 

3. Read: Read the Song of Songs 

4. Community: Host a dinner, but not a potluck. Provide everything for them and ask nothing from them in return. 

5. Reflection: Examination of a relationship you have

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