In the combox a reader asks,
Father, regarding your reference to the “personal relationship with Jesus” that evangelicals emphasize … what is that? I hear that a lot in Catholic circles now also … but I have never seen it explained. How does one recognize that experience or how does it feel? The evangelicals seem to mean a type of emotional experience … which I am grateful to the Catholics not to be under that obligation of emotionality … but what am I missing?
For the Evangelical Protestant the “personal relationship with Jesus” means first of all, having a conversion experience in which you repent of your sins and ask Christ to save you. This is called “getting saved” or “asking Jesus into your heart” or “being born again” or “accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior”. However, “having a personal relationship with Jesus” also means living the Christian life, being filled with the Holy Spirit, learning to pray, to give sacrificially, to love others and seek to be transformed into the image and likeness of Christ.
There is nothing wrong with this as such, at it’s heart this sort of conversion experience and life in Christ is also at the heart of what it means to be a Catholic. However, for a Catholic there is also much more to it. Read more.