Since I’ve begun my journey toward Catholicism, a stumbling block for me has been feeling distant from Jesus. When I examine where that comes from, I think it has to do with several factors: one, it’s hard for me to believe Jesus, son of God, would want to take time for me. Also, when I read the Bible, I don’t know if it’s just me, but in the Gospel when he speaks he sounds very serious and strict, not terribly warm. Yet, we hear Jesus described as tender and loving and compassionate, which certainly we do see by his acts.
Now, I’m a writer and I know it can be difficult, if not impossible, to properly convey tone of voice and the way something is said without actually hearing it (think of the many emails we’ve all taken the wrong way :)). So I try to look at those words as more just an attempt to capture as correctly as possible what Jesus said rather than convey the emotion along with it. I feel most connected to Jesus when he was a vulnerable baby, a happy child and I’m starting to see this is OK. Jesus was all these things (baby, child, young man, grown man) and they are as much him as the Jesus of later years.
I’m reading The Story of a Soul by St. Therese de Lisieux, who declared herself Therese of the Child Jesus due to a special devotion she felt to Jesus in this part of his life. She often references her connection to the child of Jesus and his unique feelings and desires as a baby and young boy. She has also shown me what a wonderful relationship with Jesus looks like. She is so very devoted to him and full of love, more than you can imagine. She’s started to crack the walls of that love for me by showing it to me so brilliantly and I’m beginning to feel it for myself.
By spending a weekly Holy Hour with the Blessed Sacrament, I hope that too will bring me into closer communion with Jesus. After all, as with any relationship, you have to spend some time together to get to know one another :). I’m also hopeful that once I can receive the Eucharist (less than 40 days away!), that will also bring me into closer communion with our Beloved.
I also find comfort in St. Therese when she talks about many periods of darkness that she experienced throughout her life when she felt separated from the Lord. So if even a saint can experience a distance, there is hope for me yet. I suppose that much like it’s hard to know what “full” feels like unless you’ve been “hungry,” perhaps we must experience separation to know and appreciate full communion.
How has your relationship with Jesus developed?