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Building a Relationship with Jesus – A Christopher News Note (by yours truly)

Building a Relationship with Jesus – A Christopher News Note (by yours truly)

Over a year ago I was contacted by The Christophers to draft one of their famous inspirational News Notes! I was honored to be offered this subject of “Building a Relationship with Jesus.”

Here’s a sample…

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

You’ve likely seen this famous bible quote from John 3:16, but to explore its depth, let’s personalize the message:
God so loved me that He gave His only Son that I may believe in Him and not perish but have eternal life.

The Good News is that God’s love comes to rescue us in the person of Jesus. In John 14:6, He taught, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me.”

Those are pretty credible reasons for wanting a relationship with Jesus. But what truly shapes our belief is to know deep down within ourselves, not only that we believe in God, but that God believes in us. God wants us to know His love.

God Makes the First Move

God initiates our relationship. Indeed, the God of Glory has a vested interest in us. Building a relationship with Jesus means we have to trust this truth. Our belief is a response to God’s revelation of Himself and His love. Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 5.49.54 PM

The attraction of Christianity is not that we are in search of God, but that God is in search of us!

God desires to make us sons and daughters—a family! By faith we respond to Him, offering our intellect and will, our minds and hearts. This is known as “the obedience of faith.”

No matter who we are, from popes to prodigals, all are invited into a loving relationship with Jesus. But we must choose. As it states in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), “Faith is a personal act—the free response of the human person to the initiative of God who reveals Himself.”

Steve Nelson, from Stillwater, Oklahoma, recalls a time during his graduate school years when he started to drift away from the Church. He said, “I became terribly self-centered and started down the road toward a very un-Christian life. One day, in the church parking lot, I encountered a friend of mine who was in his second year of seminary. When he challenged me on my lifestyle and absence from the Church, I remember saying something like, ‘If God exists, He should prove Himself to me.’ My friend would have none of it and told me that I had to at least meet God halfway by putting myself in the pew on Sunday morning. That was the turning point.”

Nelson soon went on to make Christ the priority in his life: “My relationship with Jesus is important because I remember what it is like not having one. [That] chance encounter in a parking lot [was] not exactly a burning bush, but it was a definite message by God to look towards Him rather than away.”

We are not alone in the building of this relationship. God strengthens us through grace, which is like jet fuel to launch our faith. The prayer of Jesus’ apostles inspires us: “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5).

You can read the whole thing here. You can even order the pamphlet for your parish or ministry group or retreat team.

Keep the Joy of the Easter Octave Alive!

Keep the Joy of the Easter Octave Alive!

Easter is not just a day, but a season! We’re in the middle of the Easter Octave… on our way to Mercy Sunday!

Turn up the volume on your favorite hymns and rejoice!

Here’s one that moves me!

Or that oldie accapella one I posted from last Sunday, “Be Ye Glad”…

Oh yes, I love the traditional ones, too…

“O death, where is thy victory?”

“O death, where is thy victory?”


“O death, where is thy victory?
O death, where is thy sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 
But thanks be to God,
who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15: 55-57


And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 
but when they went in they did not find the body. 

Luke 24 2-3


From my house to your, a very blessed Easter!

Good Friday… Jesus is the Answer

Good Friday… Jesus is the Answer


Stained glass window found at St Francis of Assisi Church, Springfield, IL

There is not a single aspect of the Christian message
that is not in part an answer to the question of evil.
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, par 309)

Jesus is the Answer.


Other resources:

A 2015 post featuring the poem, “Splinters from the Cross”.

An older post from 2014 that features a prayer before the crucifix from St Francis de Sales.

An even older post from 2011 from my Patheos archives: “The Scandal of Evil is No Match for the Cross of Christ”.

You might also like this short video from Diana and David von Glahn,from the “The Faithful Traveler”series…

Via Dolorosa–the Way of the Cross from The Faithful Traveler on Vimeo.

Among Women Espresso Shot: The Wisdom of St Katharine Drexel

Among Women Espresso Shot: The Wisdom of St Katharine Drexel

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 4.50.29 PMListen to Episode 7 of Among Women “Espresso Shot”– a short strong coffee break of faith sharing and teaching from Pat Gohn.

Today’s topic: The Wisdom of St Katharine Drexel

Following up on my recent post, this short podcast dives into some of the writings of St Katharine Drexel. We recently passed her feast day, March 3, and as we press on in Lent, I share some timely inspiration from this American saint.

FYI: Among Women 18 (Dating back to 2009!) also has more biographical information about Katharine Drexel. Listen here.

Among Women 205: The Testimony of the Woman at the Well

Among Women 205: The Testimony of the Woman at the Well

This episode of Among Women calls us to share our experiences of faith with others.

In our “Blessed are They” segment, I explore Jesus’ meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well. This is the longest recorded conversation of Jesus in Scripture. In it we find a woman whose life is changed by meeting Jesus, the Christ. We also observe how this woman could not keep the good news of the Messiah a secret. Her convincing testimony leads others to belief in Jesus, persuading them to hear his word and accept him for themselves.

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 1.44.10 PM

Today, evangelization takes place both in person and virtually. Online Catholic resources often function as a modern well, where people gather to read and hear inspiring conversations about faith and life. Stories and articles can be shared and discussed — so that others might become curious about a life of faith, and ultimately find Jesus too. The Catholic website, Aleteia, now offers a lifestyle magazine “For Her” — hoping to capture the varied interests of Christian women who seek engaging content that resonates with their values. Join me for a discussion about this new venture with Cynthia Darmody, the editor-in-chief of “For Her”.

Listen to this latest AW podcast!

My Favorite Advice from Mary #ShareJesus

Ever feel like you’re doing things half-way with the Lord? Ask Mary, our model for perfect discipleship, to help you break out of that and be quick to offer God everything without holding back. This is the life work of a Christian.

The most simple and direct advice is often the best… at the Wedding at Cana, Mary instructs the servants to listen to Jesus and to “do whatever He tells you.” In this video John Beaulieu shares that the reward for your trust and obedience in God is… Jesus himself. This is what Mary learned at the Incarnation.

This makes me think… about the challenge of letting the Lord lead every aspect of my life…

The Three Comings of the Lord

We know that there are three comings of the Lord. The third lies between the other two. It is invisible, while the other two are visible. In the first coming he was seen on earth, dwelling among men; he himself testifies that they saw him and hated him. In the final coming all flesh will see the salvation of our God, and they will look on him whom they pierced. The intermediate coming is a hidden one; in it only the elect see the Lord within their own selves, and they are saved. In his first coming our Lord came in our flesh and in our weakness; in this middle coming he comes in spirit and in power; in the final coming he will be seen in glory and majesty.

In case someone should think that what we say about this middle coming is sheer invention, listen to what our Lord himself ways: If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him. There is another passage of Scripture which reads: He who fears God will do good, but something further has been said about the one who loves, that is, that he will keep God’s word. Where is God’s word to be kept? Obviously in the heart, as the prophet says: I have hidden your words in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.

Keep God’s word in this way. Let it enter into your very being, let it take possession of your desires and your whole way of life. Feed on goodness, and your soul will delight in its richness. Remember to eat your bread, or your heart will wither away. Fill your soul with richness and strength.

Because this coming lies between the other two, it is like a road on which we travel from the first coming to the last. In the first, Christ was our redemption; in the last, he will appear as our life; in this middle coming, he is our rest and consolation.

If you keep the word of God in this way, it will also keep you. The Son with the Father will come to you. The great Prophet who will build the new Jerusalem will come, the one who makes all things new. This coming will fulfill what is written: As we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, we shall also bear the likeness of the heavenly man. Just as Adam’s sin spread through all mankind and took hold of all, so Christ, who created and redeemed all, will glorify all, once he takes possession of all.

-St Bernard-
Sermon on Advent, Liturgy of the Hours.

Among Women Podcast 199: Beatitude = Being Like Jesus

Among Women Podcast 199: Beatitude = Being Like Jesus

The latest episode of Among Women focuses on the heart of the matter — or more specifically, the heart of Jesus and the face of Jesus we find in the Beatitudes. My guest is Melanie Rigney. Her latest book, in which I was privileged to compose the foreword, is one part a meditation on the Beatitudes and one part a reflection on the lives of the saints… Blessed Are You: Finding 9781616368807_mediumInspiration from Our Sisters in Faith, is the basis for our conversation today on how to live the beatitudes. In other words, it’s how to live like Jesus. Also in this episode, enjoy a profile on the life of St Frances Xavier Cabrini, and encouragement to tune into the Jubilee Year of Mercy coming Dec 8th.



My stop on the Blessed Are You blog tour. 

A previous Among Women conversation with Melanie Rigney on her earlier book, Sisterhood of the Saints.