Beside Holy Scripture a good deal of my personal spiritual life has been shaped by the Saints who wrote of their journeys of faith and discovery. One such person is Teresa of Avila (1515-1582). She was a Spanish noblewoman within the Carmelite tradition of the Catholic Church (Protestants were forming throughout her lifetime) known for her mystical faith and writings. She was not prone to writing until she was directed to write by the head of her Order. One of her best known works is The Interior Castle, where she describes the chambers of the human heart as a series of Mansions through which we move in growing closer to Christ.
- The Mansion of Humility & Grace
- The Mansion of the Practice of Prayer and Growth
- The Mansion of the Exemplary Life
- The Mansion of Prayer of the Quiet, where the supernatural and natural meet
- The Mansion of Prayer of Union, where the soul is completely possessed by God
- The Mansion of the Bride & Groom, where the soul would receive more favors, but also afflictions
- The Mansion of Spiritual Marriage between Christ and His Church.
Where would you find yourself in Teresa’s Interior Castle? In many ways, even at this stage of my life, I would place myself in the Mansion of Humility & Grace, needing a great deal of both. In other ways I am firmly planted in #4, the Mansion of Prayer and Quiet, wherein the supernatural and Natural worlds blend.
Most certainly I am not in the Mansion of Prayer & Union, where my soul is completely possessed by God; although I am most definitively striving for that.
It must be also noted that I more likely than not skipped over the Mansion of the Exemplary Life entirely. For this, I hold much regret. But I am not dead yet.
The most encouraging aspect of this delineation is that it helps me measure where I am in my journey to holiness, in my journey to become more like Jesus. It was penned almost 500 years ago. Maybe you might write one in a more contemporary vein?
My journey has been one of service, suffering, joy, and celebration. May our Lord grant you one of similar combination.
Honor God, honor people…, make a difference,