Jesus Christ: A Personal Relationship
The Catholic view of Jesus can easily become impersonal. We meet Him in the Eucharist regularly, but if we received poor teaching on the Eucharist, our Eucharistic relation with Jesus will also be poor. The answer to a quest for a personal relationship to Jesus is always nearby in any Catholic church. It is the crucifix. We see Jesus hanging on the cross dying for us. In a personal sense, He is dying for me. The whole point of the Eucharist is thanksgiving. The word “Eucharist” is a transliteration of the Greek word eucharistia, which is itself a translation of the Hebrew word berekah. All three words have the meaning of thanksgiving, or praise for the wonderful works of God.
When I receive Jesus in the Eucharist, I thank Him for his personal sacrifice for me on the cross to forgive my sins and to reserve a place for me in heaven. I can never thank Him enough, just as I couldn't thank others enough if they took my place in a firing squad or took a bullet for me in the line of fire. All Jesus asks in return is that we follow His way of self-sacrificing love for others. In a sense, He is asking us to simply pass it on.
When I am asked by non-Catholics if I have a relationship with Jesus, I answer an overwhelming, "Yes! Jesus is my Lord and Savior and I meet Him in the Eucharist in a special way because I believe He is present in His totality, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. He remains with me and I in Him as long as I am following His way of self-sacrificing love."
That self-sacrificing Love is not some nebulous, feel-good Christian secret. It is what Jesus told us would be the measure of our love: "If you love Me, keep My commandments (John 14:15)." The Catholic Church, inspired by the Holy Spirit, defines which each of those commandments means in great detail. They are the framework of the Christian Life. It takes all of our strength, aided by the Holy Spirit, to keep those Commandments to be the Christian men and women that Jesus wants us to be.
Before we receive the Eucharist, we need to show our love of Jesus by asking for forgiveness of any failures we have made in following the Commandments. This can be done in the form of an Act of Contrition, then we can receive the Eucharist with a pure heart. If our sins are serious and we, as Catholics, have not confessed our sins to a Priest, we need to go to Confession, repent of our sins, do the prescribed penance, then we can go with a pure heart to the Eucharist.
Even given the Eucharist, some will seek a formal pledge to have Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. For them, I recommend the traditional Christian formula:
Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus:
I here and now repent for my sins, and
believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
I believe that Christ died for me, as my substitute, and rose from the dead according to the Scriptures.
Thank you God, for sending Your Son, and paying my debt in full.
Even though I was separated from You by my sins, You saw me helpless, and fallen, and loved me enough to die for me.
I believe that Jesus suffered the penalty of my sins, and paid the full price to clear my debt.
Your Word declares that His Precious Blood, sinless and Divine, pays for all of my sins.
Because He suffered my penalty, I am now free.
No sin remains to condemn me. I'm no longer guilty before You.
I believe the good news of the Cross, and Your promise that
"Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Acts 2:21)
I ask Your forgiveness, and I now receive Jesus Christ into my life as my Savior.
Today, I accept Your gift of love, mercy, peace and eternal life.
I declare by faith that Jesus Christ now lives in me.
I am a new creation in Christ, born of God with the life of Jesus in me.
I trust the blood of Christ blots out every sin from my life. My record is clean by Your mercy.
According to Your Word, I am now forgiven, I am now saved.
Once we have established a personal relationship with Jesus, the Eucharist will become such a special occasion that we may want to join the multitude to Catholics who go to Mass daily to receive Jesus in the Eucharist and to be with Him throughout each day.
To read about those who have accepted Jesus into their lives including those who became Christians or Catholic Christians, click on the following link: Conversion