The other day, a friend posted on Facebook a quote from Mother Teresa:
Do you really know the living Jesus – not from books but from being with Him in your heart? Have you heard the loving words He speaks to you?…The devil may try to use the hurts of life, and sometimes our own mistakes – to make you feel it is impossible that Jesus really loves you, is really cleaving to you. This is a danger for all of us. And so sad, because it is completely the opposite of what Jesus is really wanting, waiting to tell you. Not only that He loves you, but even more – He longs for you.
This quote really resonated with me because I think often times, when it comes to Christ, I “know” Him in my head, and not so much “know” Him with my heart. I keep Him at a distance. As Pope Francis warned us recently, there is a danger of “becoming a disciple of ideology”. “In ideology there is no Jesus: his tenderness, love, meekness. And ideologies are always rigid,” the Pope said. “In every sense: rigid. And when a Christian becomes a disciple of ideology, they have lost the faith; they are no more a disciple of Jesus, they are a disciple of this attitude of thought, of this…”…”Why does a Christian become that way? …It is simply one thing: that Christian does not pray. And if there is no prayer, you will always close the door.”
I have been blessed with a spiritual director for the last 11 years. And he continues to advise the same thing all these years: prayer. Meditate for 20-30 minutes a day. Well, for the last 11 years, I have struggled with just stopping and praying. Always making excuses. Always waiting until the end of the day, when I am too tired and too tempted to just turn on the TV and turn off my racing mind. I shared with my spiritual director about how touched I was with Mother Teresa’s quote. He advised me to respect that desire for a deeper relationship with the “real” Jesus, revealed to me by the Holy Spirit. To sit down and see what changes I could make in my daily schedule. To allow myself to be led to a greater aliveness in the Word/Gospels. To avoid neglecting my friendship with Christ (through prayer, the Word, meditation), otherwise this will lead to a domino effect of increased anxiety. I am reminded in The Gift of Faith by Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer that “the Holy Scriptures are also inspired text and a source of revelation; therefore, our relationship with the revealed text should primarily be a personal one. In fact, the Bible is not a “thing” but, above all, it is “Somebody.” ….When reading the Holy Scriptures, you encounter the living and true Christ through the gift of faith, which He Himself gives to you.” (Tadeusz Dajczer, The Gift of Faith, 3rd ed. (Ft. Collins, CO: IAMF, 2012), 214).
I often wonder how different my life would be had I been obedient to his advice of daily meditation all these years. Where would my faith be today? I know that my laziness in my prayer life is connected to my struggles today, and I also know that I should not remain sad in this. As Mother Teresa reminds me, He longs for me.
I think what sparks my increased desire to know and fall in love with the “real” Jesus is because of my desire and hope for what my children’s relationship with Christ could be. I want them to fall in love with Him. I want them to pray, not to recite prayers. I want them to be aware of His presence with them, all day long. I want them to trust Him and His will for their lives. I know that I cannot control them or force Him upon them, so the only thing I can do is fall in love with Him myself. Perhaps with Blessed Mama’s help, they will experience God’s love through me and know that they are longed for, too.
After all, just as I am motivated to see my children give their hearts over to Christ, our Blessed Mama is even more motivated to bring me (and all her beloved children) to her Son. Thank you, God, for loving us so, so much.
 Esteves, Junno Arocho. “Pope Francis: ‘Becoming A Disciple of Ideology Closes the Door to Faith’”, Vatican City, http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-francis-becoming-a-disciple-of-ideology-closes-the-door-to-faith (October 17, 2013).