08 The Interior Castle... A treasure hunt in search of a priceless Pearl - Sr M Simone CCR

posted Oct 10, 2018, 11:07 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 10, 2018, 11:08 AM ]
“For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God.” - St Teresa of Avila

Teresa of Avila was born in Spain during the 16th century to a well-to-do family. Teresa was fascinated by stories of the Christian saints and martyrs from a young age, and explored these interests through mystical games she played with her brother, Roderigo. St Teresa of Avila was a Spanish mystic, Doctor of the Church, and a reformer of the Carmelite Order (the Discalced Carmelites). Her spiritual, mystical treatise - The Interior Castle - has won the hearts of innumerable people throughout the centuries. Most of her devotees are drawn to her depth of wisdom and understanding of the interior life, especially as it pertains to the process by which a soul journeys to complete union with God.

As you will see in her writings, Teresa of Ávila was quite astute psychologically. Her mystical masterpiece, The Interior Castle, written in only two months' time when she was sixty-two, describes the stages of spiritual growth with amazing insight. The origin of St Teresa's Interior Castle came after she received a vision from Christ, picturing "the soul as if it were a castle made of a single diamond or of a very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven there are many mansions." In the centre of the crystal castle is the Sun, or the King, who gives all the splendour and beauty to the rest of the castle. The closer we approach the centre, the greater the light. In Teresa's classic work, the soul's castle holds seven different dwelling places on the way to love's radiant centre, seven deeper stages of prayer which finally lead to the place where God and the soul meet in undivided intimacy. But castles are cavernous, and searching for treasure is often precarious. There are dark corners in castles, twists and turns, secret passageways and multiple rooms in which we lose our way. And that's for those of us who make it into the castle in the first place. Many of us, Teresa says, remain in the outer courtyard, on the surface or the exterior of life, and we're unable to access our inner lives, and thus unable to abide in God.