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Walking The Sacred Path (Book) Dan Schutte | Dan Schutte CDs



Walking The Sacred Path (Book Image) Dan Schutte
Walking The Sacred Path (Book) Dan Schutte
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Title: Walking the Sacred Path
Format: Book
Author: Dan Schutte
Pages: 124
Condition: New
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Walking the Sacred Path (Book)
Spiritual Exercises for Today

Dan Schutte


Contents:

Introduction

Exercise 1 So Great Our Hunger

Exercise 2 The Story of God in My Life

Exercise 3 Teach Me to Be Generous

Exercise 4 The Beauty of God

Exercise 5 Found by Love

Exercise 6 Nothing Is Impossible for God

Exercise 7 Walking in God’s Presence

Exercise 8 Prepare the Way

Exercise 9 God with Us

Exercise 10 Companions in Christ

Exercise 11 Walking with Jesus

Exercise 12 Temptation in the Desert

Exercise 13 The Harvest Is Plenty

Exercise 14 We Want to See Jesus

Exercise 15 Lord, Make Me Whole

Exercise 16 Glad Tidings for the Poor

Exercise 17 Mercy for All

Exercise 18 Community of Love

Exercise 19 Recognizing God’s Voice

Exercise 20 Grace upon Grace

Exercise 21 Faith That Does Justice

Exercise 22 God’s Word of Hope

Exercise 23 Faithful to Our Calling

Exercise 24 The Feast of Heaven

Exercise 25 God So Loved the World

Exercise 26 Waiting with Mary

Exercise 27 Daring to Dance

Exercise 28 Feed My Sheep

Exercise 29 Living in the Spirit

Exercise 30 The Path Before Us

Those familiar with the music of Dan Schutte are in for a great treat here. As in his music, he deals with themes of longing and desire
for God, the hungers of the human heart, unfulfilled hopes and dreams, and the profound happiness of finding one’s home in God.

The “exercises” here are loosely based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, and the goal is the same for both: to draw
readers into a personal, living, growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

The language is simple and prayerful and invites one to experience God in a new way, at the level of simple contemplation. This kind of
prayer fully involves both the mind and the heart, and it draws upon the power of imagination and our human feelings to fully experience
the message of the gospel stories.

Each of these thirty exercises provides preparation for prayer, a brief reflection guidelines for entering the Scripture passage, and a
beautiful closing prayer.

Topics include being more generous with God, beauty as a door to God, walking in God’s presence, seeing Jesus more clearly, becoming
whole, and responding to our gospel call.

These beautiful prayers can be used throughout the liturgical year with parish staff, RCIA teams, catechists and teachers,
inter-generational prayer groups, and by individuals seeking a deeper prayer life.

Also available: Walking The Sacred Path (2-CD) by Dan Schutte, a companion set of 30 songs composed and specifically selected by Dan himself.

Read the full Introduction and Exercise 1 below:

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From The Introduction:

A group of business professionals was gathered for their monthly luncheon. As was their custom once each year, they invited their pastors
to join them. After the meal they had scheduled a famous actor to provide some entertainment as people were enjoying coffee and dessert.
The actor stood before them dramatically reciting lines from famous plays and poetry. At one point he invited requests from those in
attendance. One elderly priest rose and spoke. “Would you recite for us Psalm 23?” The actor, a bit surprised by the unusual request,
finally agreed. “Father,” he said,” I’ll agree to your request under one condition. After I recite the psalm, I’d be honored if you would
then recite it too.” Reluctantly, the elderly priest agreed.

So the actor presented a stunningly beautiful recitation of Psalm 23, to which people responded with enthusiastic applause. Then he turned
to the priest and said, “Okay, Father, your turn.” So the priest rather hesitantly stood and began reciting the famous psalm. “The Lord is
my shepherd. There is nothing I shall want.”

When he finished, there was no applause, just hushed silence. The people, so moved by his simple recitation, were sitting with tears
running down their faces. After a few moments the actor rose and spoke. “Ladies and gentlemen, I spoke to your ears. But this man has
spoken to your hearts. And here’s the difference. I know Psalm 23. But this man knows the Shepherd.”

Sometimes we mistakenly think that our faith is about understanding the truths of our faith, or professing a particular creed of beliefs,
or learning the Holy Scriptures. But these things are only secondary. Our faith, at its core, is about our relationship with God,
and with Jesus, the one who showed us the face of God.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, best known for his handbook for retreats, truly understood this. The Spiritual Exercises are essentially a journey
with Jesus. Through a series of “contemplations,” a retreatant follows Jesus through his life, from his birth to resurrection. By watching
Jesus, listening, spending time with him, a person is drawn into a deeper relationship with him. Jesus becomes both our Lord and friend,
and we become his disciples. This is the heart of our faith.

The “exercises” in this book are loosely based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Their goal is the same: to draw a person
into a real, living, growing relationship with Jesus. But the language is simple and prayerful and certainly not intimidating for anyone
wishing to pray this way. And these exercises are based on the same concept of contemplation as the means to achieve a deeper relationship
with Jesus.

The prayer of contemplation may be a bit new to some. It should not be confused with meditation, which can be primarily an intellectual
venture of coming to “understand” the meaning of a Scripture passage. Contemplation certainly involves understanding, but it embraces an
understanding of both the heart and mind. In contemplative prayer a person uses the power of imagination to enter into the story of Jesus
as presented in Scripture. We allow ourselves to become one of the people in the Bible story, to see, hear, smell, taste, and respond to
what is going on.

These exercises are not just for special times of retreat. You can use them just as effectively in your daily prayer. But they do require
a commitment of time. This kind of prayer cannot be rushed. Do them when you can set aside a half hour or more to spend time with God. You
might imagine it as time you are spending in the presence of your dearest friend. This is not a prayer of words. In fact, it is better
to imagine ourselves as simply watching and listening than to feel compelled to say something. This may be hard for many of us and may
take some time to get used to. But it is well worth the effort.

Each of the following exercises provides four elements designed to be of help during the time of prayer: 1) Preparation, 2) Reflection,
3) Things to Consider, and 4) Closing Prayer. These are meant to provide a place to begin and a bit of structure. However, the most
important thing when we pray is that we follow the lead of God’s Spirit. As we enter into the prayer, we may find ourselves drawn in
another direction. Or we may find that one particular point, or one image, seems to capture our heart and our attention. These are moments
of grace and we should always stay in that place and savor the goodness of them. Please don’t feel compelled to rush to finish the entire
exercise. Rather, stay with what brings you light, freedom, peace, and consolation.

As you work your way through these contemplations, it’s very helpful to keep a prayer journal or notebook to write down your reflections
and experiences. This is a wonderful way to remember what happened as you prayed. Sometimes there may not be much to write because the
journey of prayer also includes moments of emptiness and barrenness when it seems that nothing is happening. But at other times there will
be moments of great consolation and intimacy with Jesus. A prayer journal can help you hold onto these and allow you to look back and see
more clearly the hand of God in your life.

St. Ignatius’s notion of a person in relationship with Jesus is that he or she becomes a “contemplative in action.” By this he meant that
prayer would become such a part of our lives that the line separating times of prayer and the rest of our daily activity would begin to
fade. In other words, we can begin to carry our prayerfulness with us as we go about our daily activities. When we love someone, we carry
the presence of that person with us even when we’re not consciously thinking about them. Those we love may come to mind for a few moments
while we are driving in the car or doing our grocery shopping. And we spend a few moments being grateful for their presence in our lives.
This same dynamic can be true of our relationship with God.

Some people find that music helps them to pray. Each exercise will suggest an appropriate piece of music to accompany it. (An Appendix in
the back of the book lists the collections where you can find each of these pieces of music.) You might use the piece of music to help
quiet your soul and focus your mind and heart. Or you might play the music throughout your day to help you recall your time of prayer. If
the music is helpful, use it. If not, it’s certainly not necessary to the integrity of these exercises.

As Christians we are commissioned by the Risen Jesus to be witnesses of what we have seen and heard:

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but
some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples
of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that
I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” -- Matthew 28:16–20

The Good News that we proclaim and witness to is not something written in a book. It is a Person. May these contemplation exercises help
you to come to know and love Jesus in a new way. Walk with him on the sacred path and he will reveal himself to you. And most of all, you
will come to know how much he loves you.

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From Exercise 1: So Great Our Hunger

Suggested music: “Beyond the Moon and Stars”

Preparation

Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed or distracted. Take a comfortable, relaxed sitting position. Recall that prayer is
more about listening than speaking, so do not worry about what words to speak. Prepare yourself by closing your eyes and focusing on your
breathing. Spend a couple of minutes sitting quietly, inhaling and exhaling deep, long breaths. There’s no need to rush. Slowly become
mindful of God’s loving presence, both around you and within you. Sit and take in the comfort and peace that the Lord’s presence brings.
When you’re ready, continue by prayerfully reading the following reflection.

Reflection

O God, you are my God,
I seek you,
My soul thirsts for you;
My flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.

-- Psalm 63

Hunger motivates us. In both the physical and spiritual realms, our energies are often focused on satisfying our hunger. St. Ignatius of
Loyola understood this. In his handbook for spiritual growth, the Spiritual Exercises, he invites us to reflect prayerfully on our deepest
desires. What do I most want in life? What excites me? What are my hopes and dreams? In his wisdom, Ignatius knew that getting in touch
with our deepest desires and longings is the key to finding where God is working in our lives.

In our living we do experience moments of deep and profound happiness. But we also realize that the satisfaction they bring is only
temporary. Before we know it, we’ve moved on to the next dream, ever hoping that the next horizon will make us happy. We hunger for love,
for intimacy, for belonging, for accomplishment, for peace, for justice, for the happiness of our children, for our first home, for a life
companion, for health, for wealth, and for security. And even though we experience the joy that these bring, we still hunger for something
more.

No one likes being hungry. In our hurry, we often look for satisfaction in things that ultimately are not good for us, and maybe even hurt
us or the ones we love. Sometimes we turn to unhealthy relationships, addictive chemicals, food, sex, alcohol, or work because we are
frantic to do something about this ache that exists at the core of our being. We hate it. It’s not a comfortable feeling, and so we often
try to run from it. Instead, at the beginning of his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius suggests that we need to spend time with our
hunger. Rather than running from it and trying not to feel it, we are invited to stay with our hunger and learn from it.

Where does this deep down, soulful hunger come from? The ache that you and I experience deep in our souls was created by the One in whose
image we are made. We are meant for God and God is meant for us. While we look for many ways to satisfy the hunger of our hearts,
ultimately we will only find satisfaction in the heart of God.

If we really believe that we are created in the image and likeness of God, it makes sense that the same hunger that is so much a part
of us is somehow a part of God’s being as well. Our insatiable thirst for happiness and intimacy was created by a God who longs to be
in union with us. The entire story of salvation is about the unreserved love of God that constantly draws us into the intimacy and
companionship for which we were created.

Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is
made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore
I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities, for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am
strong.


-- 2 Corinthians 12:8–11

Perhaps the most precious thing we can offer each other on this journey of faith is a willingness to let others know the hunger of our own
hearts. This means that we must find the courage to be vulnerable to each other. This is never an easy thing. But by offering others a
glimpse into our own journey of faith, we give them hope and let them know they are not alone. When we speak from our weakness, without
the arrogance of thinking we have all the answers, we offer the greatest gift.

Things to Consider

Take some time to pray about the following questions:

• In the depths of my soul, what do I most desire?
• What are my greatest hopes and dreams?
• How do I try to satisfy the longings of my soul? Where do I
seek happiness?
• What do I seek that really doesn’t satisfy my hunger?
• During this time of reflection, what most moves my soul?

If you have a prayer journal, write down your answers so that you
can remember them and come back to them later.

Closing Prayer:

Ignatius ends each of his exercises with a “colloquy,” a heartfelt prayer, in one’s own words, addressed to the God who loves us and
is present here with us. It should be spoken like a friend talking to a friend. You may begin with the following words, and then continue
to talk to God however your heart moves you.

Ever faithful God, open the windows of my heart to allow your peace to enter those places where I most need refreshment. Help me, O Lord,
to recognize the hunger you created in me, to be aware of the deepest desires of my heart, to know that I will find you in my longing.
Deepen my faith, dear God, that I might walk in faith beside you in companionship with those you’ve given me to love.

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