“Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?”
That is a question often posed by fundamentalists, perhaps even in the same breath as “Are you saved?” It is rarely thought or spoke of among Catholics. One might even deduce that “Catholics are better at the religion, and Protestants are better at the relationship”.
Growing up in a strong and faithful Protestant home, it was not uncommon for personal mealtime or bedtime prayers (or the opening prayers at church) to go on for upwards of 20-30 minutes. It was “talking to God” as one would talk to his/her brother or lifelong friend.
When I met my husband, who was a cradle Catholic and uncomfortable with the concept of praying out loud (let alone praying in your own words), I was dumbfounded. Why do Catholics always read scripted prayers? Why do they recite everything from memory? What’s so wrong with praying from the heart? Don’t they know how to just have a conversation with God?
This is likely one of the main reasons it’s often said that converts make the best Catholics. Not only do they have a solid background in the Bible, but they have a comfort level in prayer that often can’t be taught. It’s second nature.
At the Kennedy Brownrigg Group, these themes are the project basis for more than one client currently:
Ascension Press just released a new DVD study called “Follow Me: Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John.” Author and presenter Dr. Edward Sri takes students beyond forgiveness and the Year of Mercy into intimate discipleship with Jesus. Using the very accessible Book of John and the assorted cast of characters who encounter Jesus personally, we are invited to go deeper in our relationship with Christ. We learn that Jesus’ love is as much for Mary and Martha as it is for the woman caught in adultery and the man born blind.
Gary Zimak, well known as the leading Catholic speaker on the subject of overcoming anxiety, just released his newest book from Servant Books called “Find a Real Friend in Jesus.” Being a weekly or even daily communicant does not automatically mean a person has a best friend kind of relationship with Jesus. Gary offers a step-by-step approach on drawing nearer to the Lord and finding a peace that can’t be found any other way.
Sacraments and prayer, no matter the form, are our life lines to Jesus and our path to intimacy and close friendship with Christ. I feel grateful for my faith background. I feel grateful for prayers that I can read or recite in those moments when I can’t find the words on my own, and I feel comfortable having a conversation in the stillness of a quiet room.
Carrie Kline is Client Marketing Specialist.