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Road of the Heart’s Desire

The Road of the Heart’s Desire

An Essay on the Cycles of Story and Song

John S. Dunne

“John Dunne has been pursuing human wholeness through the course of his many books. His insights into our completeness come out of his unique journey leading to the healing of his own separations: from the paths not taken earlier in life that return to join the one consciously chosen; from his relationships with others, leading to his meeting other people where we are most alone; and, ultimately, from his discovery of God’s presence in his own experience of longing.” —Carol Ochs, Hebrew Union College

“The old master has been at work again! John Dunne provides a rare combination of the poignantly personal with the utterly universal, a work of intense thought and reflection that erupts into song, a book that like a good friend pauses and responds to your questions about the life of the spirit as it pauses and responds to John Dunne’s own doubts and difficulties and desires.” —John T. Noonan, author of The Lustre of Our Country

“Dunne is one of our finest writers of spiritual literature. His intellectual breadth alone marks his work as significant. His poetic style prompts slow and careful reading. . . . John Dunne offers nourishment to which we can return often.” —Denise Carmody, Santa Clara University

The Road of the Heart’s Desire focuses on the emergence of the human race and the individual from an undifferentiated oneness and the return of the individual to the human community and to reflective and differentiated oneness with God. Dunne expresses this reunion through music and language. “Thinking of the human essence, we can discern in story and song a double emergence and separation, that of the human race and that of the individual,” he writes.

Dunne traces four cycles of story and song: the unity of all things, an emergence and separation of the human race, the emergence of the individual, and finally a reunion of humanity with “all in all.” The “road of the heart’s desire” is the path each person takes toward this reunion.

ISBN: 978-0-268-04013-0
160 pages
Publication Year: 2002

John S. Dunne (1930–2013) was the John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame and the author of over twenty books.

“. . . a profound and profoundly personal essay on the spiritual path of the human being . . . this striking and original work of theology is highly recommended.” — Library Journal

“. . .theology comes alive as a joyous celebration in the work of John Dunne.” — Booklist

“It is difficult to convey the subtleties of the yearning of our hearts for unity with God, others and the abundant pleasures of life on Earth. In this richly textured paperback, Dunne does just that, a commendable mix of philosophy, literary wisdom and theological acumen.” — Spirituality and Health

“Dunne’s prose is thickly layered with poetic and literary allusions and quotations, encouraging the reader to linger and reflect on the images described. The astounding breadth and diversity of literary and musical quotations reveal deep understanding in both of these fields which seem to be truly united in the author’s life. Through his personal story, Dunne describes universal aspects of our existence as we journey toward reunion with God.” — Perspectives in Religious Studies

“John S. Dunne is a Catholic theologian who really does understand what it means to listen and discern the voice of God.” — Newsweek

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The Road of the Heart’s Desire

An Essay on the Cycles of Story and Song

John S. Dunne

The Road of the Heart’s Desire: An Essay on the Cycles of Story and Song
Paper Edition

“John Dunne has been pursuing human wholeness through the course of his many books. His insights into our completeness come out of his unique journey leading to the healing of his own separations: from the paths not taken earlier in life that return to join the one consciously chosen; from his relationships with others, leading to his meeting other people where we are most alone; and, ultimately, from his discovery of God’s presence in his own experience of longing.” —Carol Ochs, Hebrew Union College

“The old master has been at work again! John Dunne provides a rare combination of the poignantly personal with the utterly universal, a work of intense thought and reflection that erupts into song, a book that like a good friend pauses and responds to your questions about the life of the spirit as it pauses and responds to John Dunne’s own doubts and difficulties and desires.” —John T. Noonan, author of The Lustre of Our Country

“Dunne is one of our finest writers of spiritual literature. His intellectual breadth alone marks his work as significant. His poetic style prompts slow and careful reading. . . . John Dunne offers nourishment to which we can return often.” —Denise Carmody, Santa Clara University

The Road of the Heart’s Desire focuses on the emergence of the human race and the individual from an undifferentiated oneness and the return of the individual to the human community and to reflective and differentiated oneness with God. Dunne expresses this reunion through music and language. “Thinking of the human essence, we can discern in story and song a double emergence and separation, that of the human race and that of the individual,” he writes.

Dunne traces four cycles of story and song: the unity of all things, an emergence and separation of the human race, the emergence of the individual, and finally a reunion of humanity with “all in all.” The “road of the heart’s desire” is the path each person takes toward this reunion.

ISBN: 978-0-268-04013-0

160 pages

“. . . a profound and profoundly personal essay on the spiritual path of the human being . . . this striking and original work of theology is highly recommended.” — Library Journal

“. . .theology comes alive as a joyous celebration in the work of John Dunne.” — Booklist

“It is difficult to convey the subtleties of the yearning of our hearts for unity with God, others and the abundant pleasures of life on Earth. In this richly textured paperback, Dunne does just that, a commendable mix of philosophy, literary wisdom and theological acumen.” — Spirituality and Health

“Dunne’s prose is thickly layered with poetic and literary allusions and quotations, encouraging the reader to linger and reflect on the images described. The astounding breadth and diversity of literary and musical quotations reveal deep understanding in both of these fields which seem to be truly united in the author’s life. Through his personal story, Dunne describes universal aspects of our existence as we journey toward reunion with God.” — Perspectives in Religious Studies

“John S. Dunne is a Catholic theologian who really does understand what it means to listen and discern the voice of God.” — Newsweek