“Ask a Priest: How Can I Find a Relationship With Jesus?”

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Q: I am 52, and over the last months, even though I have been a Catholic all my life, I can’t find a relationship with Jesus. I have checked so many websites to help me focus on Jesus during the day, but I am totally empty. I don’t know how to find a way to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I have been a totally dry Catholic from when I first learned about faith. – Siobhan

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It’s good that you at least sense that your faith is about a relationship with Jesus.

Now, relationships are unique. Your relationship with Jesus will be different from your neighbor’s.

Without knowing more about your situation, I’ll limit myself to general observations.

First, a sense of dryness is not in itself a sign of a bad relationship with Jesus.

Sometimes there will be feelings of consolation, even great consolation, in prayer. Those are to be welcome with humility. But those feelings aren’t the most important thing.

What is more important is that we take time to pray each day, whether we feel like it or not, and that we try to live in accord with God’s will.

In fact, prayer without consolation can be a better type of prayer, because it is costlier for us. We pray, not because we get warm, fuzzy feelings, but because we want to spend time with Our Lord. Prayer that is dry can be a more purified kind of prayer.

Second, try taking advantage of the full range of ways of encountering Jesus. This includes frequent recourse to the sacraments (especially confession and Communion), a bit of Scripture reading daily (especially the Gospels), and Eucharistic adoration if possible.

Also, we encounter Christ in other people. Try to get involved in some kind of Church-related work, such as with parish projects. Helping out at soup kitchens or visiting shut-ins is a great way to live your faith if done in a spirit of service to Christ himself.

You might also consider spiritual reading that is centered on Jesus and prayer. A few suggestions: The Life of Christ, by Fulton Sheen; The Better Part, by John Bartunek; and Time for God, by Jacques Philippe.

I hope that some of this helps. Count on my prayers.


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