This is not merely a good idea or a nice thought, it is reality. Our faith is not merely a collection of ideas or teachings that we adhere to, or merely a way of life that we live. We do have teachings, and we do have a way of life, but our faith is more, it is something real and living, concrete and true. Jesus is alive. If he is not alive, risen, bodily, from the dead, then I can say with Saint Paul that my faith is in “vain” and “futile” (1 Cor 15: 14, 17). And if you’re a skeptic reading this then I am with you when I say, no really, I’m wasting my time if he is not alive.
I am wasting my time even writing this blog if Jesus is not risen from the dead. It is He who has invited me to follow him. It is the risen Lord who has moved my heart and mind. I know this because it was not nice people, good music or clever ideas that drew me to faith in Jesus and it certainly wasn’t my own initiative or intellectual efforts but it was Jesus himself. I spent plenty of time as a teenager using my mind, looking at the evidence for the existence of God, looking into the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, learning about what Catholics really believe. While much of it was helpful, nothing has drawn me, or convinced me like Christ himself. He is alive, and this is the greatest evidence. The reality of his life, his presence, his activity.
There are many ways in to a relationship with Jesus. All of them good; the witness of a Christian life, friendship with a faithful friend of Jesus, the beauty of Christian music and art, the compelling reasons for our Faith, the conviction of Christian teaching, the comfort of Christian prayer. The list could either go on or be summarized into all that is good, true and beautiful. Regardless of how we get in to this relationship, the end goal is the same for all; communion with Christ himself. He is alive and nothing convinces me like the reality of his presence, his friendship, his guidance, his mercy, his love, all of which I have experienced.
You can experience this friendship too. He promises:
“You will seek the Lord your God, and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut 4:29).
Turn to God, search for him, seek him, with all your heart, mind body and soul and see what happens. Watch him respond and get ready to respond to him. Seek Him daily, and don’t hold back.
“Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:8-9).
Written by Gerard Hanley