(Received in email from DFOT) A beautifully written letter from a pastor in the state of Washington . . .
December 8, 2013
Developing a Personal Relationship with Jesus
Greetings in Christ.
In 1996 at the age of 26, I began to have a conversion experience that ultimately culminated in my becoming a priest. The one defining characteristic of my conversion has been coming to know, love and serve Jesus Christ in what is popularly known as a personal relationship. From polling and antidotal evidence it is clear that most Catholics wouldn’t describe themselves as having a personal relationship with Our Lord. This is unfortunate, even tragic really, because without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, most people will not give Him their entire life. I certainly would not have become a priest without this personal relationship, and Jesus would have to vie with family, career and my passions for my priorities and focus.
About six years ago I read a book entitled: Climbing the Mountain by Anne: a lay apostle. Finally, I had a book in my possession that I thought could help so many others to know Jesus (God) enough to begin having a personal relationship with Him. Since then, I have read all of Anne’s writings from her publishing moniker: Direction for Our Times. Her books all have a powerful ability to clearly convey how heaven thinks and operates especially in contrast with the incorrect thinking and living in our world today. Because of someone’s generous donation, we have been able to order two thousand of Anne’s first book: Volume # 1: Thoughts on Spirituality. I beg you to read it. Outside of the Bible, I feel that The Volumes are the easiest, surest spiritual reading to a life in God. On November 11, 2013 Anne’s bishop granted an Imprimatur for all of the writings for Direction for Our Times; the books have a Nihil Obstat as well. The Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat are an official declaration that a book or pamphlet are free of doctrinal or moral error and that ecclesiastical permission for its publication has been granted. I encourage you to go on-line to Direction for Our Times and order all of The Volumes. Like scripture they keep on giving, I am now on my third or fourth reading of The Volumes.
Advent has begun, a great time to focus on developing or deepening our personal relationship with Jesus. Advent is a season when the Lord would like us all to slow down and quiet down so as to spiritually prepare ourselves to meet Him on His birthday. Yet the season has been hijacked by consumerism over the decades, and so instead of the silence, etc., we get hustle and bustle. Today we “celebrate” the Christmas season from Thanksgiving until Christmas day. The Church traditionally celebrates the season of Christmas for three weeks: beginning with Christmas Eve night and ending with the Baptism of the Lord. What a wonderful world and life it would be if each of us would use what is left of Advent to grow spiritually instead of stressfully. Here are some helpful ideas.
1) Reclaim silence. We need it in order to hear God and to be sane. Please cut back on the radio, background music, TV, internet, hand held devices, etc., and reclaim what all of humanity enjoyed from the foundation of the world until the middle of the 20th century – a little silence.
2) Prayer. And Jesus said: “It is necessary to pray always without ceasing.”
3) Spiritual reading. Now that you have one of The Volumes in addition to your Bible, it’s just a matter of discipline. Two or three pages a day of Volume #1 will do you and others wonders.
4) Attend weekday Masses if you can. There is no greater devotional practice nor means to deeper conversion than this. Take advantage of it while priests are still around to offer it.
5) Frequent Confession. The saints and holiest people I know use this sacrament frequently; think there’s any connection? Boundless humility on our part, and boundless grace on God’s part, is the secret to the fruit of the confessional. Use it frequently. Start with once a month and then increase from there.
Yours in Christ’s Love,
Fr. Thomas Nathe Pastor