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



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

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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