MAKE OURSELVES MORE CHRISTIAN
This thing I’m living: is it faith? How does one become more believing? What steps are there? These are questions I hear a lot from people who want to make an interior turn toward Jesus Christ, but don’t know what path to follow. Each one has to listen to one’s own call, but for all of us it could be good to remember the essential things.
To believe in Jesus Christ isn’t to have an opinion about him. Others often talk to me about him; maybe I’ve read something about his life; his personality attracts me; I have some idea of his message. It’s not enough. If I want to live a new experience of what it is to believe in Christ, I need to mobilize my whole inner world.
It’s very important not to think of Christ as someone absent and far away. Don’t get stuck in the «Child of Bethlehem», the «Teacher from Galilee», or the «Crucified on Calvary». Don’t reduce him either to an idea or a concept. Christ is a “living presence”, someone who is in our life and with whom we can communicate in each day’s adventure.
Don’t try to imitate him quickly. First it’s better to penetrate to a more intimate understanding of his person. Let ourselves be seduced by his mystery. Capture the Spirit that makes him live in a more human manner. Sense the power of his love for human beings, his passion for life, his tenderness to the weak, his complete trust in God’s salvation.
A decisive step could be to read the Gospels in order to personally seek Jesus’ truth. You can never know too much in order to understand his message. It’s not necessary to master the most modern techniques of interpretation. What’s decisive is to go to the bottom of that life from my own experience. Keep his words in my heart. Nourish my appetite for life with his fire.
Reading the Gospel isn’t exactly finding «recipes» for living. It’s something else. It’s experiencing that as we live like him, we can live a different way, with inner freedom and joy. The early Christians lived with this idea: to be Christian is to «put on Christ», reproduce his life in us. This is what’s essential. That’s why, when two disciples ask Jesus: «Master, where do you live?», what’s it mean for you to live? He responds: «Come and see».
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf