Random Musings of Faith – August 22, 2014
Thoughts on a day-off …
I was recently talking with someone about the whole profound nature of having a “personal relationship with Christ.” It’s one of those phrases that our evangelical brothers and sisters tend to use a lot more than us Catholics. It’s often part of a question, “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.” It sounds a little odd to me, almost liking having a personal chef or a personal work-out guru, somebody who you choose, for your benefit. I know it means more than that, of course, but the act of “choosing” to accept the Lord and make him “my” Savior has always struck me as somewhat Pelagian. I guess I’m a bit of a Jansenist at heart, needing to rely more on God’s grace in the midst of my broken human nature to get by. Still, I have to choose to and desire to cooperate with the divine offer of grace but I like to think I need to rely on God a lot more than myself.
And that is where the difference between the evangelical understanding of a relationship with Jesus Christ and the Catholic understanding differ because it’s never my choosing that sets me free and calls me toward Christ and His salvation. It is always God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in and through His Church who first chooses me and seeks out me and helps me. I then choose to say “yes” to that divine offer of love. It is played out not in a “me and Jesus” way but in a “me in the midst of the Body of Christ,” in others who believe and in the Church. As a Catholic, my relationship with Christ does not call me to isolation but to Communion in His Church and in community.
I guess that’s one of my first responses to those who say, “I am spiritual but not religious …”