What are you desperate for in life?

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal 5:22-23). If for these, if for the Lord of all consolation, then come to the Upper Garden, where choice fruits of the Spirit are grown under the tutelage of the mystics.

In the Upper Garden, our roots go deep into the soil of heaven, deep into the cloister-garden of the Father’s House. Rays of Christ’s Light shine on us in the Scriptures and the Saints, with the nourishment of the Sacraments of the Church. And the living water of the Holy Spirit flows to us through the aqueduct who is Mary (as St. Bernard calls her).

“The bride has entered the sweet garden of her desire, and she rests in delight, laying her neck on the gentle arms of her Beloved.” … “I abandoned and forgot myself, laying my face on the Beloved. All things ceased and I left myself, leaving all care forgotten among the Madonna lilies.” —St. John of the Cross (Spiritual Canticle 22, Dark Night 8)

In the inner wine cellar, I drank of my Beloved...and lost the herd that I was following

St. John of the Cross
Spiritual Canticle, 26

We seek a youthfulness as eternal as wisdom.


A monk was told that his spiritual father had died.  He said to the messenger, "Do not blaspheme.  My father cannot die” (cf. Jn 11:25-26).

Evagrius of Pontus (4th century monk)
Sayings of the Desert Fathers

We can think ourselves too sophisticated for ‘renunciation,’ especially renunciation of the world.  True love, however, strikes a sharp and decisive ‘No!’ to all that may hinder union with the Beloved” (cf. 1 Jn 2:15-17)


Our prayer belongs more to God than to us.  So, when we pray, we belong more to God than to ourselves.


I am much more prepared to give than you are to receive.

The Lord to St. Angela of Foligno

Awaken me to You.  Lord, You are already here and at work.  Faith is so simple.  Awaken me to You, O Lord.


Love, or time is going to pass you by.


The Lord Jesus promises us the ‘Abundant Life’ (Jn 10:10), but only by way of the Beatitudes (Mt 5:3-10)


The true monk takes nothing with him but his lyre.

An unknown Italian mystic

We encounter the Incarnate Son along the path He has come to us, in the humility and lowliness of His condescension.  There’s always the danger we’ll overshoot Him, aiming at the heights, while He has come more simply and below us.  We may be straining upwards when, in fact, Jesus is at our feet (cf Jn 13:1-17).


A single word in intimacy is worth more than a thousand at a distance.

Evagrius of Pontus
4th century monk

St. Anthony called his two companions and said to them, ‘Always breathe Christ.’

Life of St. Anthony, XCI
Olivier Clement, 204

The spring of living water, promised by Jesus to well up from within us (Jn 7:38), is almost by definition something familiar yet very strange.


The flesh of Christ is the hinge of salvation.

On the Resurrection, 8

The theological virtues at times can come to take the form of the Cross: faith grounding you in the cold hard truth, hidden and buried away; hope reaching up into seemingly empty space; and charity extending and stretching you out, but embracing and grasping nothing.  Yet this Cross lifts you to God.


I walk with a song in my heart, for Thy Love has wounded me.

John Climacus (7th century abbot)

We begin with a tender and delicate love for God but eventually it must become a robust and strong love.  We begin as a tender shoot but we are to become a hardy oak tree.  Yet even the mighty oak still puts forth fresh and tender shoots.

St. John of the Cross
cf. LF 1.36

The saint I want to be and the saint God wants me to be are usually not precisely the same thing. Daily life and prayer tend to shape us for the divine, far better call.


I'm no longer my own; I'm your garden.

Misty Edwards
Your Enclosed Dwelling Place, Lord

What moves and conquers is unrelenting hope.

St. John of the Cross
Dark Night 2.21.8

What is the meaning of ‘Upper Garden’? ‘Upper Room’ may have been more self-explanatory and captures both the intimacy of the Last Supper and praying with Mary as the Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost. But ‘Upper Garden’ also captures Jesus’ journey on Holy Thursday night, from the Upper Room to the Garden of Gethsemane–two modes of intimacy. Finally it’s about the intimacy of the Garden found throughout the Scriptures (Song of Songs, Eden, the Empty Tomb, etc) yet not so much a garden of the senses but of the spirit, hence Upper Garden. 

The image atop the mountain on the homepage was painted by a contemporary Christian, based on what she saw of heaven in a vision.

May the Lord Jesus use this website to enhance and build up a communion of mystics in our own day! We humbly ask for more of the Father’s generating of life in our souls, more of the Son’s radiating light, and more of the Spirit’s enkindling of love. May the sparks of light, love, and life which they ignite in our souls grow, spread, and blaze forth unto the greater glory of the Blessed Trinity!

The icon " Trinity " by Andrei Rublev | Download Scientific Diagram
The Holy Trinity Icon of Andrei Rublev
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