Personal Relationship With God
Conversion happens through a personal encounter with God, and discipleship is sustained through an ongoing personal relationship. We believe in a personal God who calls us by name and cares about us as individuals.
As Christians, we believe in a personal God, one who calls us by name. God, especially in the person of Jesus, seeks us out directly and yearns to speak to us through personal prayer. God reaches out to us in our own unique, personal situations.
Since Christ, sent by the Father, is the source and origin of the whole apostolate of the Church, the success of the lay apostolate depends upon the laity's living union with Christ, in keeping with the Lord's words, "He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit, for without me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). This life of intimate union with Christ in the Church is nourished by spiritual aids which are common to all the faithful, especially active participation in the sacred liturgy. These are to be used by the laity in such a way that while correctly fulfilling their secular duties in the ordinary conditions of life, they do not separate union with Christ from their life but rather performing their work according to God's will they grow in that union.
Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity (Apostolicam Actuositatem), 4
Second Vatican Council
The continuing story of salvation in Christ involves each of us one by one as well as society itself. How else could it be? Conversion speaks of the change of heart that, as a member of the Church, each one must undergo. The Gospel speaks across time and space to each human being, each mind, each heart. It asks us what we think about our lives, how we hope, whom we love, and what we live for. If faith is not transforming each heart and life, it is dead.
Go And Make Disciples: A National Plan and Strategy for Catholic Evangelization in the United States, 16
In response to God's call to holiness, our faith and life as adult disciples are grounded in developing a personal relationship with Jesus, "the Holy One of God" (Jn 6:69, Mk 1:24). Accordingly, "‘at the heart of catechesis we find, in essence, a Person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth. . . .' Catechesis aims at putting ‘people . . . in communion . . . with Jesus Christ.'"
Unless people know the grandeur for which they are made, they cannot reach fulfillment and their lives will be incomplete. Nor will they know that they are called into interpersonal union with God and with each other. The intimate union that Jesus revealed in his life, being one with the Father and rejoicing in the Holy Spirit, can envelop our lives. This is the union in which Jesus wishes all to share, a union whose realization brings great peace to people, families, societies, and the world. Evangelization opens us to Christ's wisdom and personal union with God and others.
Go And Make Disciples: A National Plan and Strategy for Catholic Evangelization in the United States, 31
Clearly, unless we continue to be evangelized ourselves, with renewed enthusiasm for our faith and our Church, we cannot evangelize others. Priority must be given to continued and renewed formation in the faith as the basis of our deepening personal relationship with Jesus.
Go And Make Disciples: A National Plan and Strategy for Catholic Evangelization in the United States, 47
Adult faith is clearly and explicitly rooted in a personal relationship with Jesus lived in the Christian community. "The Christian faith is, above all, conversion to Jesus Christ, full and sincere adherence to his person and the decision to walk in his footsteps." Our understanding of the person and the way of Jesus continues to grow by our meditation on the word of God, by prayer and sacrament, by our efforts to follow Jesus' example, and by the sure guidance of the Church's teaching.
Cover image from Pentecost, a painting by El Greco.