I agree with your last paragraph. Jesus is the truth, the light, and the way. There is no greater joy than walking closely with Him. He makes Himself known in so many ways and directly into our lives, and yes, without this special, personal relationship, the Bible becomes a dry read. But the Spirit of God makes it all alive and everything worth it.
As far as Catholics, for obvious reasons I find their theology very flawed also, yet I wish we could all have the faith and love they display. The real evil lies behind their leadership in the vatican, and yet I believe God honors that faith and love and works through them in spite of their leadership in high places. The workings out of salvation is very individual.