Sure, all kinds of Christians love Jesus. But he’s especially central in evangelical piety.
Some years ago Francis Quinn, then Roman Catholic bishop of Sacramento, and I were talking about evangelicals who were converting to Catholicism. I was a Presbyterian minister at the time, serving a small church in Sacramento. I can’t remember the occasion of our conversation, but I do remember one his remarks. He said that when evangelicals move into Catholicism, “I hope they bring Jesus with them. We Catholics need more Jesus.”
Catholics certainly don’t ignore Jesus—he hangs crucified at the front of most of their churches, after all. And they believe it is his very body and blood that they receive in every Mass. But as the good bishop noted, Jesus isn’t necessarily at the center of most Catholic daily piety. For many Catholics, that place would be occupied by the Virgin Mary or perhaps one or more of the saints. Other Catholics are enamored with the magisterium or the church’s tradition. But it would be hard to argue that the Catholic faith is “Jesusy.”
That term was coined by writer Anne Lamott soon after her conversion. In a period of dark despondency, one night she lay in bed, when “I became aware of someone with me, hunkered down in the corner. … The feeling was so strong that I actually turned on the light for a moment to make sure no one was there—and of course, there wasn’t. But after a while, in the dark again, I knew beyond any doubt that is was Jesus.”
For the next few days, she says, “I had the feeling that a little cat was following me, wanting me to reach down and pick it up, wanting me to open the door and let it in.”
A week later, she found herself in church crying uncontrollably at the singing of hymns. She left …
Source: Christianity Today Most Read