SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

Do I Need a Savior? An Advent Retreat Guide on the Prophet Isaiah

November 23, 2016 by  
Filed under Advent, Fr. Bartunek, Retreat Guides



The newest Retreat Guide from RC Spirituality: Do I Need a Savior? is now available at www.RCSpirituality.org.

Advent is about new beginnings. The Church year, also known as the liturgical year, starts afresh on the First Sunday of Advent. And the whole season is dedicated to preparing ourselves for the celebration of Christmas, the day that Jesus was born, the day on which new hope dawned and a new creation began. Even the natural world gets a fresh start at Christmas. In the northern hemisphere, the darkness of winter begins to fade as the days start to get longer again.

Advent and Christmas are supposed to be joyful seasons because the thought of a new beginning can fill us with hope. We all need fresh starts in life because we all make mistakes. Our sins and selfishness do damage to ourselves and to those around us. Christ comes with his saving grace to redeem those failures and fill us with new life.

But sociologists tell us that this season also tends to stir up sadness. More suicides happen this time of year than any other. In Advent’s atmosphere of hope we sometimes feel anxiety, even discouragement. Faced with our brokenness and weakness, we recognize our inability to give ourselves the fresh start we long for, and sadness is the result. Christ’s light seems distant and illusory; darkness and spiritual danger seem close at hand.

That was the situation of God’s Chosen People during the time of the prophet Isaiah, whose prophecies are read every year throughout Advent and during all the Christmas Masses. He was sent by God to strengthen their hope and nourish their joy. In this Advent Retreat Guide, Do I Need a Savior? we will let him do the same thing for us.

  • The First Meditation will look at Isaiah’s core message and its relation to the historical situation in which he preached.
  • The Second Meditation will spend time savoring some of his favorite images and symbols so that his message penetrates our hearts.
  • And in the Conference, we will review a frequently forgotten dimension of our own Christian vocation—that each one of us is called and equipped to be a prophet.
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About Fr. John Bartunek, LC

Fr. John Bartunek, LC, S.Th.D, received his BA in History from Stanford University in 1990. He comes from an evangelical Christian background and became a member of the Catholic Church in 1991. After college, he worked as a high school history teacher, drama director, and baseball coach. He then spent a year as a professional actor in Chicago before entering the religious Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ in 1993. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 2003 and earned his doctorate in moral theology in 2010. He provided spiritual support on the set of Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ" while researching the 2005 Catholic best seller, "Inside the Passion"--the only authorized, behind-the-scene explanation of the film. Fr. John has contributed news commentary regarding religious issues on NBC, CNN, Fox, and the BBC. He also served as the English-language press liaison for the Vatican’s 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist. His most widely known book is called: "The Better Part: A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer". His most recent books are "Spring Meditations", "Seeking First the Kingdom: 30 Meditations on How to Love God with All Your Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength", and "Answers: Catholic Advice for Your Spiritual Questions". Fr. John currently splits his time between Michigan (where he continues his writing apostolate and serves as a confessor and spiritual director at the Queen of the Family Retreat Center) and Rome, where he teaches theology at Regina Apostolorum. His online, do-it-yourself retreats are available at RCSpirituality.org, and he answers questions about the spiritual life at SpiritualDirection.com.

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