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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

Hidden Mountain Secret Garden

Hidden Mountain, Secret Garden: a theological contemplation of prayer is my first book. The work derives from lectures on the spiritual classics of the Catholic Tradition delivered over a twelve year period. Gaged to help new seminarians of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary and other graduate students discover the riches of prayer, these lectures introduced the practice of contemplative or mental prayer in the discipline of the Christian life. In fact, the images of the "Hidden Mountain" and the "Secret Garden" are ancient metaphors for contemplative prayer, a kind of prayer that begins and ends in faith. Drawing from the Holy Bible as well as a selection from the great saints and mystics, the book explores how the presence of Christ is the living fountain of Christian prayer. Christians offer their hearts to the Lord in response to the very objective but very personal way the Lord has disclosed His love for us. The Lord's mysterious presence invites us into an ongoing conversation about the whole of our lives and at the same time His dynamic presence provides the power to live in ways we could not have imagined were possible without Him. To follow the way shown to us by the Risen Lord, no method or technique can replace faith guided by love, a living faith which is ours for the asking, a bold faith that steps out in confidence even in the shadow of death. Such faith sees what is hidden and secret: Jesus Christ is never absent in our struggles, no matter how dark the doubt, or the fear, or the trial, or the temptation engulfing us. He is with us in all our efforts to love, and especially in our efforts to find Him, to cleave to Him, to share Him with others. This book is especially for those whose prayer is a search for the loving eyes of One who has conquered death. This kind of prayer beholds the wonder of Christ's living but hidden presence lifted up in one's highest thoughts as well as in one's deepest longings. The ecstasy of this kind of prayer extends beyond even the vast unexplored frontiers of the human heart and opens to an immensity of such excessive mercy that all else is forgotten -- and only love remains. The whole world needs this love: it is the secret garden, the hidden mountain, the inexhaustible riches only prayer knows and only prayer can make known. For those great souls who are faithful in opening their hearts to the Lord, every Christian owes you a debt of gratitude. For those who want to join them, I hope this work encourages you along the way. Available at as an ebook (click here), a paperback edition will be available here soon. You may also order a paperback edition at This work has been published by Discerning Hearts in Omaha, Nebraska.

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