Best Ignatian Songs: Holy Darkness

Reader Nancy Walton-House nominates this week’s Best Ignatian Song. It’s a lovely piece: “Holy Darkness” by Dan Schutte, one of the St. Louis Jesuits. Nancy writes:

This song is about desolation and consolation. I’ve used it very successfully with Ignatian spirituality small groups that I facilitate. Listening deeply leads to great reflection, prayer, journaling, and conversation.

The lyrics are inspired by St. John of the Cross.

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Jim Manney
Jim Manney is the author of highly praised popular books on Ignatian spirituality, including A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer (about the Daily Examen) and God Finds Us (about the Spiritual Exercises). He is the compiler/editor of An Ignatian Book of Days. His latest book is What Matters Most and Why. He and his wife live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


  1. Dan Schutte music brings the gospel and bible to me.
    The music is beautiful and I listen to it on “repeat”. His music leads me to read the bible.
    While doing 31 Days Ignatian Spiritualiy, I read the words, which are the lyrics of Dan Schutte’s music. His “These Alone are Enough” is the Sucipe .

  2. I would also add that this song has been played at quite a few of the Easter Vigils I’ve attended. It’s perfect for the occasion as well as speaking to our own dark nights, reminding us we are not alone and there is a greater purpose to what we don’t always understand.

  3. “Holy Darkness'” is a hauntingly, beautifully moving song. My favorite rendition is by John Michael Talbot ( The Troubadour Years). I was introduced to it about 4 yrs ago and I still cannot listen without getting chicken skin. For me, God speaks powerfully through

  4. Thank you so much. I am forwarding this to friends who are grieving the loss of a child. I hope it will afford them some comfort in these very dark days. I am grateful that you have made me aware of it.

  5. I introduced my students to Ignatius and to John of the Cross this week, so will enjoy adding this modern text and music to their “readings” later in the semester.
    Thank you!

    • Our family once belonged to a Carmelite parish where we experienced an amazing growth in faith. I find myself living in the overlap space between Ignatian and Carmelite spirituality, fits me to a “T”.
      And bringing things to my beads? Nothing settles me like they do, and only once settled am I able to pray well and receive insight.

  6. Thanks, Jim, for selecting this song. I love it. Whenever I listen to it, my heart fills with trust, peace, love, grace and gratitude. I am healed and my faith renewed. Dan Schutte sings it on his CD “Table of Plenty” (2008). I downloaded it to my iTunes Library together with other Best Ignatian Songs and listen to them frequently. Thank you so much for bringing this music to our attention. Like many others, I believe we pray twice when we sing. 🙂

  7. Listening to this song, familiar to me from Mass, I am reminded that we seem to spend a lot of time waiting for answers, not only because situations must be allowed to unfold, but because we have to be prepared to receive them. Our modern day impatience views waiting for anything as a waste of time, but perhaps the waiting is as much of a gift as the answer is, whatever form it takes. This song struck a chord (pun intended) with me this morning as a lot has been going on in our family lately, and I will bring it with me to my beads later today.

  8. I wish it had been playing in my head for over a week! as I have been very much stuck on what to do about Abraham and Isaac for Sunday’s sermon, and the answer was handed to me when I listed to this early this morning. I immediately got up and wrote my conclusion down furiously by hand, as my laptop chose that particular moment to update itself. (The lyrics also sound suspiciously like the Book of Job as much as they do John of the Cross).


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