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Book review: From musician to author, Schutte leads us into prayer

By Sister Jean Peerenboom

Walking the Sacred Path: Spiritual Exercise for Today by Dan Schutte (Twenty-Third Publications, $12.95)

The last time I saw Dan Schutte perform, he told a story of an artist, a pastor and Psalm 23. It brought tears to my eyes.

When I read the same anecdote in the introduction of Walking the Sacred Path, I again teared up. Some things bear repeating time and again. Schutte’s book also can be used over and over.

Most of us know Schutte through his music, which we’ve been singing at Mass since the 1970s. These include “You Are Near,” “Here I am, Lord,” “Table of Plenty” and “City of God,” to name a few. He continues to write endearing sacred music so I was intrigued when I saw he had written a book, as well.

Drawing on his Jesuit background, he bases his “exercises” on the “Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.”

The themes, like his music, deal with longing and desire for God, the hungers of the human heart, unfulfilled human hopes and dreams, and the profound happiness of finding God. The goal is to draw us into “a personal, living, growing relationship with Jesus Christ.”

The language is simple; the exercises are short. But don’t let that fool you. They can take you to a deeper level of contemplation if you let them.

There are 30 exercises, which include a preparation for prayer, a reflection, guidelines for entering the Scripture passage and a closing prayer. Each has a suggestion for a song to accompany your prayer time.

Topics include God’s beauty, walking in God’s presence, recognizing God’s voice, waiting for Mary, seeing Jesus more clearly, becoming whole, finding hope and spreading the good news of the gospels.

Consider it a primer on contemplation, or just enjoy the reflections and closing prayers. Either way, you will fall in love with God all over again.

Sister Jean Peerenboom is the former religion/books editor from the Green Bay Press Gazette. Sister Jean is a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross. She writes a monthly book review for the Holy Cross Family Blogspot.

To read all of Sister Jean Peerenboom's book reviews, click here.

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