Can you confidently say “Look at me”?

November 10, 2013

Msgr Charles Pope recently offered a wonderful post on the New Evangelization.  It included this insightful mini-examen regarding our relationship with Jesus:

Critical though it is, all the apologetics in the world may founder if we cannot authentically and authoritatively answer the question “How do I know it’s true?” by saying, authentically:

“Look at me. ” In other words to be able to say, “This word, this teaching, is true, because in the laboratory of my own life, I have tested it, and found it to be true, and here’s how. And Jesus is real, because I have met him and here’s when, and here is how. And here is how I’m experiencing him today in my life. Yes, when I pray, I am heard. The Lord speaks in the depths of my heart, sometimes in wordless contemplation, at other times vividly through his proclaimed word, and in my mind, and in the experiences and interactions of my day. I see him, I know him, and I experience his presence, and this is changing my life.”

  • Can you authentically speak like this?
  • Have you met the Lord,?
  • How, when?
  • Do you know him?
  • And how is your relationship with him changing your life?
  • What has your walk with him done?
  • Have you encountered him in his word, and in the sacraments celebrated?
  • How, when, and what has this liturgical experience of the Lord done for you?
  • How is it changing you?

These are essential questions and truths to ponder to be able to answer briefly and articulately if we are going to personally evangelize others today.

Ask the Holy Spirit to anoint you to know the answers to these sorts of questions, and to be able to access the memories of how the Lord is living, working and relating with you in your life. Ask God the Holy Spirit to help you form a testimony, so as to become a first-hand witness to the power of the Lord in your life!

It would be a good exercise for us to answer the questions he poses.  If we struggle to provide answers to these questions, perhaps we are assuming more of a relationship with Jesus than we really have with Him.  If the answers we provide are weak, perhaps we need to strengthen our efforts to seek the Lord and implore His grace.  If our personal attempts to evangelize have been not been fruitful, it could be because the foundation of our efforts – our personal relationship with Jesus – needs to be fortified.

In a follow-up post, Msgr Pope shares his personal testimony.

Intensify your personal encounter with Jesus

October 23, 2013

Here are 25 ways in which true disciples can nurture and deepen their intimate personal relationship (communion) with Jesus:

  1. Foster an abiding desire for Jesus in your life, especially through a commitment to daily prayer
  2. Prepare for Sunday Mass by spending time in lectio divina with the upcoming Sunday Gospel reading, focusing on the person and the teaching of Jesus
  3. See the priest at Mass as truly in persona Christi (in the person of Christ), and the congregation as the Body of Christ
  4. Make a truly heartfelt thanksgiving to our Lord after receiving Jesus in Holy Communion (like this, but in your own words)
  5. If you don’t get to daily Mass, make a prayerful spiritual communion each day
  6. Spend time in prayerful Eucharistic Adoration whenever possible
  7. Read from the Gospels frequently
  8. Contemplate the Face of Christ in the Gospels
  9. Read a spiritually inspiring commentary on the Gospels (I highly recommend The Better Part by Fr John Bartunek LC)
  10. Use a good Christ-centered prayer book during your prayer time, such as Praying with Our Lord Jesus Christ by Fr Benedict Groeschel CFR
  11. Pray and meditate on the Litanies of Jesus (Sacred Heart, Precious Blood, Holy NameFace of Christ)
  12. Pray and meditate on the Titles of Jesus
  13. Cultivate a true friendship with Jesus (cf. Jn 15:12-17)
  14. Engage in frequent colloquies with Jesus (colloquies are short periods of talking with Jesus as one friend would talk to another)
  15. Practice the presence of Jesus in your heart throughout the day
  16. Occasionally allow yourself to burst forth in brief spontaneous exclamations of praise to Jesus
  17. Read the five best books on Jesus:
    1. To Know Christ Jesus – Frank Sheed
    2. My Beloved Son – Fr Lovasik
    3. Life of Christ – Bp Sheen
    4. The Lord – Msgr Guardini
    5. Jesus of Nazareth (3 volumes) – Benedict XVI
  18. Read other books that have an especially good section exploring the person of Jesus:
    1. Divine Intimacy – Fr Gabriel
    2. Christ in the Psalms – Patrick Henry Reardon
  19. Meditate on the Mysteries of Jesus as you pray the rosary (this book will help)
  20. Delve more deeply into the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
  21. Read/study Church teaching on Jesus and on the Holy Eucharist, noting especially the teaching on the Real Presence of Jesus
  22. Be sure to focus on Jesus as you pray the Divine Mercy chaplet (prayers like this and this will help)
  23. Remember to consciously and intentionally unite your sufferings to those of Jesus, and then offer them to the Father
  24. In your nightly examen, look especially for those times when Jesus was present to you or at work in you
  25. Strive to allow Jesus to know you (cf. Mt 7:23 & Lk 13:27)

Feel free to add more in the Comment Box.