News
Advent 2018: Jesus Lights the Dark

By Mike Jordan Laskey

November 30, 2018 — In a much-beloved Christmas episode of the TV show “The West Wing,” one of the president’s advisors, Josh Lyman, is in the middle of a personal crisis after a traumatic event. Josh’s boss, chief of staff Leo McGarry, who’s been through some extremely difficult stuff himself, empathizes with his friend and tells him this story: 

“This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you. Can you help me out?’ The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on.

“Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I'm down in this hole, can you help me out?’ The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on.

“Then a friend walks by. ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me, can you help me out?’ And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.’ The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I've been down here before and I know the way out.’” 

I thought of this powerful scene when I heard Fr. Tim Kesicki, SJ, president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, share a reflection on this year’s Advent season: “How often have you used the expression ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’? So often for us, going into the darkness is a time when we look for light. But Advent isn’t really about looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. Because in the season of Advent, Jesus comes with us into the tunnel, comes with us into the darkness, so that we might see his light at Christmas.” 

Jesus isn’t waiting for us outside the tunnel. He doesn’t look down on us from outside the hole. He comes right to our dark moments of suffering or anxiety or uncertainty and says, “I’m with you.” This is what Advent and Christmas are all about: The name “Emmanuel” — used for Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew’s nativity story — literally means “God with us.” And how we so desperately need God with us in this dark time for our church family. 

This Advent season, we ask Jesus to light the dark. We pray for that light to inflame us with brighter faith, hope and love. 

First Sunday of Advent (readings):

Light the Dark, Jesus 
Download the prayer

Dear Jesus, 
Brother, friend and savior,
It is a difficult time to be a Catholic.
Stories of abuse make us angry and break our hearts.
We are wandering in the dark. We are weary. 

Light the dark, Jesus. 

But we know you accompany us in our suffering, Jesus.
You do not leave us alone. 
You do not wait for us like the light at the end of a tunnel.
You bring the light in. 

Light the dark, Jesus. 

When we sing “O come, O come, Emmanuel” this Advent,
We are asking you to be “God-with-us”: 
God with us in our wandering,
God with us in our pain,
God with us in our confusion,
God with us in our time of darkness. 

Light the dark, Jesus.  

Advent is a time of expectant waiting. 
Find us ready to receive your light at Christmas. 
Bring that light of your love to our church family and to all the world. 
Inflame our hearts with your radiant faith, hope and love.
Please hurry. We need you with us. 

Light the dark, Jesus. 

Amen. 





Recent News

The Jesuits of the USA Central and Southern Province invite young men to learn more about life as a companion of Jesus Christ in the Society of Jesus.

Nov. 19, 2018 - It was an historic moment for Loyola University New Orleans on Saturday, Nov. 16, when Tania Tetlow, JD, was formally inaugurated as the university's first lay president.

We invite you to use this litany of gratitude this Thanksgiving.

November 15, 2018 — Kenyan Jesuit Father Victor-Luke Odhiambo, 62, was murdered on Nov. 15 when unknown assailants attacked the Daniel Comboni Jesuit Residence in Cueibet, South Sudan, where he resided.

Nov. 16, 2018 - The Jesuits U.S. Central and Southern Province has retained an outside organization to review all personnel files of Jesuits going back to 1955 in preparation of publicly releasing the names of all Jesuits and former Jesuits of the province who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.

October 18, 2018 — The Jesuits issued a statement of continued solidarity with the people of Nicaragua on the six-month anniversary of nonviolent protests.

Oct. 16, 2018 - Please join us in praying for the members of the Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province who have died in the past year.

view all news

Search news

Publications






White House Jesuit Retreat Center
The White House Jesuit Retreat Center is located on a beautiful 80-acre campus on the bluffs of the Mississippi River in St. Louis.