How To Have a Personal Relationship With Jesus

How To Have a Personal Relationship With Jesus
Man in the image of Christ reaching out his hand, dark background. Belief in god, christian faith

How To Have a Personal Relationship With Jesus? Most people are aware of how relationships generally work. Establishing and nurturing a personal relationship with a loved one. Being close and communicating with them, showing them care and attention.

In the case of our relationship with Jesus, it is difficult to have all of these mainly because there’s nothing physical about this relationship. At least not without faith. Meaning with faith, visiting Jesus in the Eucharist becomes a visit to a friend’s place. This is usually not how it goes in the beginning so let us start someplace else.

We need to choose

As with any relationship, you, first of all, choose how far you want to go, how close you want to be with the person. This is the first and most important choice that will affect the relationship and shape its very nature. Many Christians today were born into the religion. Many of us were baptized as infants. This isn’t enough to have a close personal relationship with Jesus as an adult. The Church cannot choose for you, nor your parents, it has to be you. You have to choose how closely you want to follow Jesus. You have since experienced and enjoyed exposure to the faith of the Apostles. Now you have to choose to enter a deeper part of that faith; walking closely with Jesus. Knowing about Jesus isn’t just enough, remember even demons knew him too. What is important is choosing to love him.

Nature of this love

This love is about responding to a love first extended to us by God. In creation and in adopting us as sons, God has made the first move to bring us close to him. We choose Jesus over and over again as this is not a one-and-done deal. We live out this relationship by prayer, participating in the Liturgy and Sacraments. Also by growing in virtue, especially love of God and man, serving God and men for God’s sake, and helping others discover God’s love.

Having a personal relationship with Jesus can sound like a concept from Protestantism, but it’s not. This is the most Catholic of all concepts. This is basically doing what millions of Catholic Saints did: finding God in ordinary life and worshipping him by doing his will.

From recent Popes and from the Vatican II

“Let the risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life! If up till now you have kept him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms. If you have been indifferent, take a risk: you won’t be disappointed. If following him seems difficult, don’t be afraid, trust him, be confident that he is close to you, he is with you and he will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as he would have you do.” -Pope Francis

“Being a Christian means having a living relationship with the person of Jesus; it means putting on Christ, being conformed to him.” -Pope Francis

“It is necessary to awaken again in believers a full relationship with Christ, mankind’s only Savior.” Pope Saint John Paul II

“Christian faith is not only a matter of believing that certain things are true, but above all a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” -Pope Benedict XVI

“Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we truly become Christians.” -Pope Benedict XVI

“This mystery (of faith), 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.” -CCC 2558“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. For, by the workings of divine grace, the new convert sets out on a spiritual journey, by means of which, already sharing through faith in the mystery of Christ’s Death and Resurrection, he passes from the old man to the new one, perfected in Christ.” -Decree on Missionary Activity, §13. Vatican II

This language isn’t recent. Here are some quotes through the many years of the Church:

“Hope in him, all you assembly of the people. Pour your hearts out before him (Ps 61: 9).

Dont give in to those who are asking you, Where is your God? My tears, the Psalmist says elsewhere, have become my bread day and night while they say to me everyday: where is your God?

And what does the Psalmist say there? These things I considered, and I poured out my soul above me (Ps 41: 4-5).

I remembered what I hear, Where is your God? Seeking my God, I poured out my soul above me so that I might reach him; I didnt remain in myself. Hope in him, all you assembly of the people. Pour your hearts out before him, praying, confessing, hoping. Dont restrain your hearts inside your hearts: Pour out your hearts before him. What you pour out is not lost. For he is my protector. Cast your care upon the Lord (Ps 54:23), and hope in him. Pour out your hearts before him, God our helper.” -St. Augustine

“Should you, my child, ever be attacked by this evil spirit of sadness, make use of the following remedies. ‘Is any among you afflicted?’ says Saint James, ‘let him pray.’ Prayer is a sovereign remedy, it lifts the mind to God, Who is our only Joy and Consolation. But when you pray let your words and affections, whether interior or exterior, all tend to love and trust in God. ‘O God of Mercy, most Loving Lord, Sweet Savior, Lord of my heart, my Joy, my Hope, my Beloved, my Bridegroom.” – Francis de Sales

“Whosoever is a LITTLE ONE, let him come to me.’ (Proverbs 9:4) And so I succeeded. I felt I had found what I was looking for. But, wanting to know, O my God, what You would do to the very little one who answered Your call, I continued my search and this is what I discovered: ‘As one whom a mother caresses, so will I comfort you; you shall be carried at the breasts, and upon the knees they shall caress you.’ (Isaiah 66: 13,12) Ah! Never did words more tender and more melodious come to give joy to my soul. The elevator which must raise me to heaven is Your arms, O Jesus! And for this I had no need to grow up, but rather I had to remain little and become this more and more.” St Therese of Lisieux

“Acquire the habit of speaking to God as if you were alone with Him, familiarly and with confidence and love, as to the dearest and most loving of friends. Speak to Him often of your business, your plans, your troubles, your fears— of everything that concerns you. Converse with Him confidently and frankly; for God is not wont to speak to a soul that does not speak to Him.” —St. Alphonsus de Liguori

“If you have learned everything except Jesus, you know nothing. If you’ve learned nothing but Jesus, you have learned everything.” – St. Bonaventure

So we are encouraged to talk about this form of relationship with Jesus and we need to continue working on ourselves to be closer to him.

In practice:

Some of these actions encourage this relationship with Jesus and the vigor with which we do these and more show how close we are to him. They also mean we are choosing him:

  • set time apart daily to pray.
  • go to Mass
  • go to Confession
  • read the Bible
  • choose to act virtuously
  • perform an act of mercy or kindness
  • share your faith with others
  • visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament
  • Have a special custom known to you and Jesus alone. Could be calling his name first when you wake up and last when you sleep. Or could be remembering his precious blood anytime you pick up a glass of water to drink. Anything at all to allow your heart move with love for him. And this NEEDS to be a secret. That is what lovers do:)

Every day we are supposed to renew our commitment. To remind ourselves of the initial choice we made to follow Jesus. Losing sight of that initial commitment is dangerous as we can forget quickly. But we need to wake up each day with the th9ught of doing more to be closer with him. As Thomas a Kempis says:

“You cannot live well without a friend, and if Jesus be not your friend above all else, you will be very sad and desolate. Thus, you are acting foolishly if you trust or rejoice in any other. Choose the opposition of the whole world rather than offend Jesus. Of all those who are dear to you, let Him be your special love. Let all things be loved for the sake of Jesus, but Jesus for His own sake. Jesus Christ must be loved alone with a special love for He alone, of all friends, is good and faithful. For Him and in Him you must love friends and foes alike, and pray to Him that all may know and love Him.”

This relationship can only happen when you are intentional about it. When you choose and choose every day without fail. When you fall or make mistakes you quickly rise to repentance and return to him No matter how frequently or how terribly you fall. It means remembering you need guidance and sprinkling some obedience in your soul. Get a spiritual guide if possible or have one confessor who can keep track of your progress. This is a great way to ensure your devotion is true, by choosing a wise, spiritually sound priest to help.

“Choose this day whom you will serve…as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” -Joshua 24:15

“Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in any one’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry” -2 Cor 6:2-3

How To Have a Personal Relationship With Jesus.

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