“To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.” (Psalm 116)

posted Feb 18, 2017, 3:59 AM by Colleen Moran

Have you ever heard an evangelical christian speak about the need to develop a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ?”  Usually, their personal encounter with Christ was expected to begin when a person “got saved” of “accepted Jesus into their heart as their personal Lord and Savior. Once repented of their sins and praying to “accept Jesus Christ” they are told that they are now “saved,”  bound for heaven, and nothing they can do could ever destroy the decision they have made.  Is this all that is necessary for them to enter eternal life when they die?  Although this might be a wonderful conversion experience at the moment, it doesn’t and shouldn’t stop their.  Our conversion to Christ should be ongoing from that moment on. Our salvation is never guaranteed until we die and God judges us on how we lived our very lives every day that we had here on earth. The bible and our Catholic faith teaches that we are not “saved” by faith alone but also on our works, or how we choose to live our lives.

“If you trust in God, you too shall live;  He has set before you fire and water;  to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand.  Before man are life and death, good and evil,  whichever he chooses shall be given him.”  Sirach 15:15-16

Even so, having a “personal relationship” with Jesus is something I very much desire.  But how is this possible?  I can’t see Jesus, or talk to Him in a conversation like I can talk to a real person.  That would be nice and easy, wouldn’t it?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Him and interact with Him as He truly is? Someday this will be possible; but not in this life.  So how can we truly encounter Christ?

The Catholic church teaches that there are five objective means through which we can have an encounter with Jesus Christ. These five ways are found in the “Catechism of the Catholic Church and are supported by sacred scripture.

“The Catholic encounter with Christ is therefore, not a vague, personal, emotional experience.  It is a concrete, real, and objective experience.  The experience is objective because it is rooted in the historical events of the Gospel and sacred history of the Church and her saints.  It is an experience that can be guaranteed no matter what our emotions might tell us.”  Quote by:  Fr Dwight Longenecker

First of all, we encounter Christ in Sacred Scripture. If we want to know Christ we need to read scripture. Second, we encounter Christ in the assembly of the faithful.  “Where ever two or three are gathered in my name there am I in the midst.” The church is not only where we meet our family and friends.  It’s where we meet Christ the Lord. Whether we feel emotional about it or not, Christ is present there to meet us.  The third way we encounter Christ is in the person of the poor, the imprisoned, the sick and dying. (Matthew 25)  Do you want to encounter Christ?  Work with the poor. Our Friars, Sisters and all our volunteer missionaries who go to Haiti will attest to having met Jesus in the poor.  The fourth way we encounter Christ is in the person of the priest. Jesus is hidden in the priest not only in his gifts of love, mercy and administration of the sacraments.  Jesus is also hidden there in his human frailties and weakness.  If we want to see Jesus we should love our priests because even in their humanity they are revealing Jesus to us.  Finally,  and most importantly we encounter Jesus in the sacraments of the church.  Sacraments are not rituals.  They are the objective, physical and historical means through which Jesus comes to us.  The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith, where we encounter the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ.

These five ways do not depend on the fickleness of our emotions.  When approached with hearts full of love, devotion and humility, we encounter in a real, powerful and personal way Jesus Christ the Lord.

Thoughts and quotes are taken from Fr. Dwight Longenecker “Five Objective Ways to Encounter Christ”  published in “The Catholic Register” February 5-18, 2017 edition on page 11.

We can see Jesus all around us if we are just attentive to His presence.  He is always there, calling us, nudging us, waiting patiently for us to notice Him. He’s in the little miracles that happen throughout the day.  Maybe this can be your Lenten goal this year;  to see Jesus in the miracles of each day and to bring Jesus to at least one person each day during Lent.

Friar Suppliers continues to meet the needs of the Community of Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Renewal who live in the NY area. We purchase their food in large quantities each month and divide it up here at our house with the help of volunteers.  Some of the Friars and Sisters come each month to help as well and to bring their food back to their Friaries and convents. We always enjoy the interaction and it is always a blessing to join them in praying the liturgy of the Hours and having lunch together.  We know that Christ is present in Friar Suppliers because there is no way this could have developed on it’s own or last this long if Christ wasn’t in charge.

We are happy to be His instruments and we are thankful for all of you who have been so faithful to Friar Suppliers over the years. We continue to grow as our Haiti mission continues to present us with ever greater and greater need.  God seems to give us little challenges at a time. Please continue to stay with us; we need your donations to continue.  Please spread the word about Friar Suppliers to your family and friends.  Know that the Friars and Sisters pray for your intentions daily at Mass and Holy Hour.  Your needs are never forgotten.  Thank you so much!

Have a blessed holy Lent. May the peace of Christ be with you all.

Next Friar Supplier packing date:  Sat. March 18th  @ 10am