"Jesus, I trust in you!"

Friday, March 14, 2008

A personal relationship with Jesus Christ

Here is a prayer by St. Ambrose from a devotional in the Latin Missal

O loving Lord Jesus Christ, I a sinner, presuming not on my own merits, but trusting in Thy mercy and goodness, with fear and trembling approach the table of Thy most sacred banquet. For I have defiled both my heart and body with many sins and have not kept a strict guard over my mind and my tongue. Wherefore, O gracious God, O awful Majesty, I a wretched creature, entangled in difficulties, have recourse to Thee, the font of mercy: to Thee do I fly that I may be healed, and take refuge under Thy protection. And I ardently desire to have HIM as my Savior, whom I am unable to withstand as my Judge.

To Thee O Lord, I show my wounds, to Thee I lay bare my shame. I know that my sins are many and great, on account of which I am filled with fear. But I trust in Thy mercy, of which there is no end. Look down upon me, therefore, with the eyes of Thy mercy on me, who am full of misery and sin, Thou Who wilt never cease to let flow the fountain of mercy.

Hail, Victim of Salvation, offered for me and for all mankind on the tree of the Cross. Hail, noble, and precious Blood, flowing from the wounds of my crucified Lord Jesus Christ and washing away the sins of the whole world. Remember, O Lord, Thy creature, whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Blood, I am grieved because I have sinned, I desire to make amends for what I have done.

Take away from me, therefore, O most merciful Father, all my iniquities and sins, that, being purified both in soul, and body, I may worthily partake of the Holy of Holies. And grant that this holy oblation of Thy Body and Blood, of which , though unworthy, I purpose to partake, may be to me the remission of my sins, the perfect cleansing of my offenses, the means of driving away all evil thoughts and of renewing all holy desires, the accomplishment of works pleasing to Thee, as well as the strongest defense for soul and body against the snares of my enemies. Amen.


That line, "I ardently desire to have HIM as my Savior, whom I am unable to withstand as my Judge" strikes me to the very core. God by rights is our judge, but He has chosen to save us instead.
To me this communicates most deeply the unconditional fatherly love with which He regards us. Often I feel five years old again when I talk to God.


I was inspired to post this by a moving reflection by Father Longenecker on the concept of a personal relationship with Jesus. Father Longenecker is yet another example for the impact of the faithful converts who seem be re-catechizing the Church, having once been an Anglican priest.

To excerpt:
The problem I had was that I felt more and more that the 'personal relationship with Jesus' was more 'personal' than 'Jesus'. As I grew older and got a wider experience of Evangelical Christianity it all seemed rather sentimental and subjective. Not only were the different denominations idea of the personal relationship different, but every individual's personal relationship seemed as different as could be, and I naturally began to suspect that much of the , 'personal relationship with Jesus' consisted of sincere, but subjective emotions, and that the Jesus people had a personal relationship was often more of a reflection of their own inner desires, their own personality, their religious preferences and what they had been taught about Jesus than anything else.

I then began to meet a few Catholics who seemed to be closer to Jesus than anyone I had ever met, but they never spoke about a 'personal relationship with Jesus.' Then when I became a Catholic I began to experience the personal relationship in a way I had never experienced before. Suddenly things did not depend on my own emotional world, but on objective realities. Catholicism was something hard and real and solid. "Here" as John Henry Newman observed, "was real religion." The Eucharist was real. Confession was real. The priesthood was real. The visible Church was real. The saints were real. Jesus was real, and my personal relationship with him was very, very real, and I was not sure that what I was experiencing was actually something I liked. Humankind cannot bear very much reality, and the reality of my relationship with Christ entered a new and disturbing dimension.


Go and read the rest. And spend some time reading his other posts too.

1 comment:

Robert said...

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