This astonishing collection of parable stories by the inimitable poet-priest Edward Hays is brimming over with insights into the nature of faith, grace, sanctification, and transformation. The author puts before us the writings of Abba Syah, which were discovered during a New Year's Eve party on December 31, 1999. It was determined that this writer in the Wisdom tradition of the Desert Fathers was a fourth century Christian hermit who frequently entertained guests from heaven, including the Risen Jesus. Thus, his manuscript includes "Sayings of Jesus." Shortly after this discovery, researchers found the cave where Anna Ananda, one of the Desert Mothers, lived, and in it, a record of her sayings. Through these creative constructs, Hays is able to do twenty-first century spiritual direction.

The Ladder also contains front-page parables from newspapers (stay awake for the Spirit is speaking through every available medium), parabolic pictograms (Hays's artistry at work), and footnotes filled with glints of wisdom from all the world's religions. Some of the rungs of the ladder "leading us down into the depths of daily life on earth" are love ("God's garden wisdom"), a smile ("an outward sign of a laughing soul"), and generosity ("the best-known antidote for creeping greed").

Throughout his career, Edward Hays has consistently been a pioneer, manifesting a daring mystic sensibility and an unbridled imagination that makes everything seem fresh and new. This is his best book yet. Savoring its manifold riches is bound to make readers feel like they have just struck a deep vein of spiritual gold!