John S. Dunne is the John A. O'Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame and the author of 19 books including The Road of the Heart's Desire: An Essay on the Cycles of Story and Song. In this erudite volume, Dunne takes us on a quest that leads through the mystery of "the life in us that can live on through death." His exploration is peppered with theological, philosophical, and literary quotations and a deep appreciation for music.

The following thoughts are essential to this quest:

• "The love is from God and of God and towards God." — The words of the old Bedouin to Lawrence of Arabia.

• "We have within us a center of stillness surrounded by silence." — Dag Hammarskjold

• "Song is the leap of mind in the eternal breaking out into sound." — Saint Thomas Aquinas

• "Even love must pass through loneliness." — Wendell Berry's poem "Setting Out"

In his quest to encounter what he calls "the riddle of eternal life," Dunne ponders the heart's desire, the road that goes on and on, a spiritual journey, a deeper life, and the process of letting go of everything and everyone. The author believes in the three metaphors of life, light, and love that are saluted in the Gospel of John. But he notes that we must also pass through darkness and loneliness. Dunne talks about his own encounter with death and counsels us to be open to the mystery of eternal life. He concludes:

" 'God requires a heart,' it is said in the Talmud. There is a letting go and letting God here, letting go of the justification of one's life, as in Tolstoy's story of Ivan Ilych, and letting God's love work in one's life. My own learning to love then comes out of God's loving me. My loving comes from being loved. Thus the primacy here of grace, of God's first loving us. Out of a sense of being loved then I am able to meet the demand of 'God requires the heart.' So my life becomes a learning to love, with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my might, and as the Gospels add, with all my mind."

A CD is included containing Dunne's "Symphony of Songs," with vocals by soprano Quinn Smith, accompanied by John S. Dunne on the piano.