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Interior Castle (Best Navigation, Free AudioBook) (A to Z Classics)

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With A to Z Classics, discover or rediscover all the classics of literature. Contains Active Table of Contents (HTML) and ​in the end of book include a bonus link to the free audiobook. While I was beseeching Our Lord today...I began to think of the soul as if it were a castle made of a single diamond or of very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven With A to Z Classics, discover or rediscover all the classics of literature. Contains Active Table of Contents (HTML) and ​in the end of book include a bonus link to the free audiobook. While I was beseeching Our Lord today...I began to think of the soul as if it were a castle made of a single diamond or of very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven there are many mansions. — St. Teresa of Avila A masterpiece of spiritual literature, this sixteenth-century work was inspired by a mystical vision that came upon the revered St. Teresa of Avila, one of the most gifted and beloved religious figures in history. St. Teresa's vision was of a luminous crystal castle composed of seven chambers, or "mansions," each representing a different stage in the development of the soul. In her most important and widely read book, St. Teresa describes how, upon entering the castle through prayer and meditation, the human spirit experiences humility, detachment, suffering, and, ultimately, self-knowledge, as it roams from room to room. As the soul progresses further toward the center of the castle, it comes closer to achieving ineffable and perfect peace, and, finally, a divine communion with God.


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With A to Z Classics, discover or rediscover all the classics of literature. Contains Active Table of Contents (HTML) and ​in the end of book include a bonus link to the free audiobook. While I was beseeching Our Lord today...I began to think of the soul as if it were a castle made of a single diamond or of very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven With A to Z Classics, discover or rediscover all the classics of literature. Contains Active Table of Contents (HTML) and ​in the end of book include a bonus link to the free audiobook. While I was beseeching Our Lord today...I began to think of the soul as if it were a castle made of a single diamond or of very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven there are many mansions. — St. Teresa of Avila A masterpiece of spiritual literature, this sixteenth-century work was inspired by a mystical vision that came upon the revered St. Teresa of Avila, one of the most gifted and beloved religious figures in history. St. Teresa's vision was of a luminous crystal castle composed of seven chambers, or "mansions," each representing a different stage in the development of the soul. In her most important and widely read book, St. Teresa describes how, upon entering the castle through prayer and meditation, the human spirit experiences humility, detachment, suffering, and, ultimately, self-knowledge, as it roams from room to room. As the soul progresses further toward the center of the castle, it comes closer to achieving ineffable and perfect peace, and, finally, a divine communion with God.

30 review for Interior Castle (Best Navigation, Free AudioBook) (A to Z Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    It is absurd to think that we can enter Heaven without first entering our own souls Last week I spend five days walking on the Camino de Santiago. I know, probably that doesn’t sound terribly impressive to anyone who walked all the way from France, but I still had a great time. Every morning we set out before sunrise, when the lush landscape of Galicia was still shrouded in mist and twilight. We walked on and on, guided by the conch shell signs that point the way. We reached the pilgrim's hos It is absurd to think that we can enter Heaven without first entering our own souls Last week I spend five days walking on the Camino de Santiago. I know, probably that doesn’t sound terribly impressive to anyone who walked all the way from France, but I still had a great time. Every morning we set out before sunrise, when the lush landscape of Galicia was still shrouded in mist and twilight. We walked on and on, guided by the conch shell signs that point the way. We reached the pilgrim's hostel just as the heat of the day began to take hold. My back sore, my feet blistered, I would drop my backpack and stretched out in my bunkbed. Besides walking, sleeping, and eating, the only thing I did was read this book: St. Teresa’s book on prayer. It seemed like an appropriate choice. Both Santiago (St. James) and St. Teresa are patron saints of Spain; and yet they represent two very different periods in Spain’s history. The cult of Santiago dates from the time of the Moors, when Christians needed a figure to rally around during the Reconquista. St. Teresa, on the other hand, lived during the Counter-Reformation. As the Catholic world was coming apart, Catholic officials were understandably skittish at even a hint of unorthodoxy. Thus St. Teresa’s mysticism was first viewed with suspicion, and she was even picked up by the Inquisition. But after some investigation, it was decided that St. Teresa posed no threat to orthodoxy; to the contrary, she helped to reinvigorate the faith. This context is necessary to understand this book, or at least half of it. This is because, although ostensibly guide for prayer, it is also a handbook for avoiding the suspicions of heterodoxy. It is full of advice for those having mystical experiences on which visions to discount, because they are products of Satan or the imagination, and which visions to accept. Teresa also explains when you should yield to one’s prioress or confessor, and when you should stand your ground. St. Teresa was obviously acutely aware of the paranoid climate, and thus this book is as full of pragmatic counsel as religious guidance. She even explains in the beginning that the only reason she wrote the book was because she was commanded to. As James Michener pointed out, the most striking thing about St. Teresa is this seamless mixture of pragmatism and mysticism. For somebody who reported feeling her soul leave her body, she comes across as remarkably down to earth. Several times, she quotes or references a Biblical passage and then adds parenthetically “Well, at least I think that’s what it says,” as if she couldn’t be bothered to go look it up. She also frequently comments on how inadequate she feels to the task at hand; and a few times she says that she’s unsure whether she is repeating herself, because she wrote the last bit a while ago and she doesn’t have time to reread it. The final effect is really charming, as if she just sat down and dashed off the whole thing between breakfast and lunch. These interior matters are so obscure to the mind that anyone with as little learning as I will be sure to have to say many superfluous and even irrelevant things in order to say a single one that is to the point. The reader must have patience with me, as I have with myself when writing about things of which I know nothing; for really I sometimes take up my paper, like a perfect fool, with no idea of what to say or of how to begin. Ironically, but perhaps unsurprisingly, the religious content was what least impressed me. The book is divided into seven mansions within the crystalline castle that represents the soul. Each progressive mansion is one step closer to God. Despite this organization, however, I found the chapters quiet repetitive; the divisions from one stage to another didn’t strike me as very clear. The general tendency is for the mystical experiences to keep growing in intensity, which culminates in the experience of a burning mixture of pleasure and pain that seems to come from nowhere. This is the inspiration for Bernini's famous, and famously erotic, portrayal of the Saint. What most bothered me was that the mystical and orthodox strains in Teresa’s thought did not go easily together. Perhaps this is only my taste. One thing I enjoy about mystic writings is their grand conception of the cosmos, the notion that everything apparently opposite forms one complete whole. Thus mystic texts, in my experience, tend not to be especially preoccupied with moral injunctions, since they regard good and evil as a kind of illusion. But in Teresa, the emphasis on wickedness, on personal shortcomings, on temptation, and in general the whole moral framework of Catholicism made her system as much about avoiding sinfulness and unorthodoxy as achieving a mystical experience. For example, I’ve heard mystics say that each person is a part of God, but Teresa councils that we should contemplate God to realize our own foulness and lowliness. I don’t find that very appealing. On the fifth day after we began, at about noon, I found myself standing in front of the two towers of Santiago Cathedral. Later that day, I finished the final pages of this book. I had taken a pilgrimage of the body and soul, and hopefully I’m better for it. In any case, I enjoyed myself and learned something.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Loretta

    I really took my time savoring this book. St. Teresa’s explication of “the interior castle” within yourself was definitely described in great detail. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I’m glad I took my time reading it. Five stars!

  3. 5 out of 5

    booklady

    November 13, 2019: Finished reading. Will never be finished assimilating this book. I am not in the same place, nor am I the same person I was when I started this book almost a year ago. It is definitely worthwhile to read Interior Castle using this STUDY EDITION, even if I did not avail myself of all the material in it. There is just SO much! You could spend a lifetime trying to absorb and then live this book. Teresa lived in a quieter simpler time than we do. This is not a review. I am not sur November 13, 2019: Finished reading. Will never be finished assimilating this book. I am not in the same place, nor am I the same person I was when I started this book almost a year ago. It is definitely worthwhile to read Interior Castle using this STUDY EDITION, even if I did not avail myself of all the material in it. There is just SO much! You could spend a lifetime trying to absorb and then live this book. Teresa lived in a quieter simpler time than we do. This is not a review. I am not sure I am capable of a full review of this book, but I will see. One thing I do know, my experience with it this time was completely different than it was the other times I read the regular editions on my own. It was like the difference between looking at something and then looking at it under a microscope. I had no idea all that was there I could not see. September 12, 2019: p.272 Thought I really understood this last time I read it, many years ago. I remember thinking, Teresa is SO easy to understand! Now, I am struggling with her. And this is the STUDY EDITION! It is not her writing, well yes, she does meander, but trying to know what she is referring to... I am never sure I am sure. Which is probably just as well... Here is a short selection from the Fourth Dwelling places where Teresa is leading up to her description of the Prayer of Recollection. In it, she also introduces a concept she calls the ‘shepherd’s whistle’: ‘Having seen their (sinners) perdition, they’ve already begun to approach the castle, even though they may not manage to remain inside because the habit of doing so is difficult to acquire. But still they are not traitors, and they walk in the environs of the castle. Once the great King, who is in the center dwelling place of this castle, sees their good will, he desires in his wonderful mercy to bring them back to himself. Like a good shepherd, with a whistle so gentle that even they themselves almost fail to hear it. He makes them recognize his voice and stops them from going so far astray so that they will return to their dwelling place. And this shepherd’s whistle has such power that they abandon the exterior things in which they were estranged from him and enter the castle.’ Although I have read and/or listened to Interior Castle at least 3 times previously I do not remember the shepherd’s whistle, nor the Prayer of Recollection. These struck me as very similar to what my confessor has told me in the Confessional on occasion, ‘Jesus has forgiven you as soon as you decided to come here and all the angels and saints, your patrons especially, are celebrating, as they do whenever you come to ask forgiveness.’ And no, I wasn’t confessing some whopper mortal sins or going through my whole life story, just my usual litany of minor infractions which so offend my King, but even so the compassion of the priest’s words almost undid me. This Fourth Mansion is so deep, but I am finding it hard to read this time. Funny, but I used to think Teresa much easier to read. Now I find her meandering style irritating. I want her to hurry up and get to the point! Unfortunately, that represents regression on my part. Oh dear! :( And yet at the same time, I also think I recognize that as she comes close to talking about anything relating to God, she finds herself at a loss for words. There simply are NO words. Although I am using a lot words here to say that. (sigh) Sorry dear Teresa! February 4, 2019: What we will be studying this year... This study edition was not even in GRs. ... Just learned that Kieran Kavanaugh died on Saturday, February 2. He has been the Spanish to English translator of many of the works of St. John of the Cross—along with Otilio Rodriguez. Kavanaugh was a member of the Washington, D.C. Province of the Discalced Carmelites friars. Eternal rest grant unto him O LORD!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Karen Locklear

    Update: I am blogging about this book. Here is the blog address if interested: http://whatisyourpurposerightnow.blog... First of all, don't read this book straight through and expect to get meaning from it. This is not one of those books. This is a book that needs to be experienced. There is so much to it, I can't even begin to explain well enough to give it credit. Meditation and pondering are definetely required! I have 78 pages left. I intend to finish it tonight. Then in the morning I've decide Update: I am blogging about this book. Here is the blog address if interested: http://whatisyourpurposerightnow.blog... First of all, don't read this book straight through and expect to get meaning from it. This is not one of those books. This is a book that needs to be experienced. There is so much to it, I can't even begin to explain well enough to give it credit. Meditation and pondering are definetely required! I have 78 pages left. I intend to finish it tonight. Then in the morning I've decided to read one section of it, journal a response, and then change up this review eventually . . .

  5. 5 out of 5

    Walter

    In the study of the various aspects of Catholic theology, sometimes we forget that the whole religion thing is really about one thing - loving God and loving each other. In this classic work, St. Theresa of Avila brings us back to these simple truths. In her eyes, the spiritual life, which is the love of God in one's own life, is like a castle with seven "mansions", or levels. In the outer mansions are the things that keep us from God and from love, namely selfishness, self-centeredness, all of In the study of the various aspects of Catholic theology, sometimes we forget that the whole religion thing is really about one thing - loving God and loving each other. In this classic work, St. Theresa of Avila brings us back to these simple truths. In her eyes, the spiritual life, which is the love of God in one's own life, is like a castle with seven "mansions", or levels. In the outer mansions are the things that keep us from God and from love, namely selfishness, self-centeredness, all of the vices and the pride that tells us that we don't need anything but ourselves. As we enter the inner mansions and come closer to God, we shed these things and become filled with the things that make life really meaningful. In embracing humility, we learn that the best things in life come from outside ourselves and we can't do it alone. In embracing purity, we come to realize that life is so full of distractions that we need to get back to the things that matter, the things that make us strong. The closer that we come to God in the center of the innermost mansion, the less that the world means to us. The things that we foolishly cling to in our selfishness melt away in the vanity that surrounds those things. In the inner mansion, that sweet place within our souls where God always dwells, that is where we find true meaning. It is amazing to me how this woman, St. Theresa of Avila, a nun who lived in the Spain of the Inquisition and the counter-reformation, could write such profound truths that they touch a 21st century American like myself. It provides so much material for meditation and thought. Ironically, this woman who never pursued a PhD nor even a college education, found truths more profound than any of the great PhD theologians of the past 200 years who claim to have the real answers. This book is not to be read once, but to be read and reread, in short passages at a time, and to be prayed over and contemplated after reading. If you do this, you will find so many great truths about the spiritual life. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to deepen their spiritual life.

  6. 4 out of 5

    ♥ Ibrahim ♥

    Our Lord Jesus Christ told us that in the Father's House there are many mansions, and for our be love saint here, Teressa, these mansions could be seven and they represent the mansions of the soul as it seems to grow, develop and be united with its Beloved the Lord. How close are we getting to the Lord? Are we making some progress? The beautiful thing about Teresa is that she writes as words come to her mind in full spontaneity. So, her words come so genuine, so simple, so real, so much from the Our Lord Jesus Christ told us that in the Father's House there are many mansions, and for our be love saint here, Teressa, these mansions could be seven and they represent the mansions of the soul as it seems to grow, develop and be united with its Beloved the Lord. How close are we getting to the Lord? Are we making some progress? The beautiful thing about Teresa is that she writes as words come to her mind in full spontaneity. So, her words come so genuine, so simple, so real, so much from the heart and it is straight to my own heart that she is speak and I have to pay close attention to every word said by her despite the simplicity. I appreciate her humility and her loyalty to her church. It is she who said in the middle of the Reformation wars, "I am a daughter of the Church", and these words are later echoed by Therese de Lisieux who said exuberantly, "In the heart of the Church, my mother, I shall be love."

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anna O.P.

    I don't know which one is more unfair: leaving this book with 5 stars but with no review, or writing a review which can never ever do it justice, however hard I strive to. The Interior Castle is a spiritual classics; it has been read and enjoyed by millions, and in turn I'm sure it has made many saints! So nothing I write can ever truly describe how awesome this book is! What I can say is this: it's ironic that I only discovered this book very recently, at the order of my spiritual director. Iron I don't know which one is more unfair: leaving this book with 5 stars but with no review, or writing a review which can never ever do it justice, however hard I strive to. The Interior Castle is a spiritual classics; it has been read and enjoyed by millions, and in turn I'm sure it has made many saints! So nothing I write can ever truly describe how awesome this book is! What I can say is this: it's ironic that I only discovered this book very recently, at the order of my spiritual director. Ironic because St. Teresa is my patron saint, and by logic I should've devoured (or at least be familiar with) her works ages ago. But, better than never, right? I am SO glad that I came across Interior Castle during my lifetime here on earth, because everything it says is relevant to my state of spiritual life. No, I'm not saying that I've experienced all the mystical things described in the book... What I'm saying is that this book gets me, and I get it. St. Teresa could've easily been my own blood sister or at least a very empathic spiritual director. Granted, I can see how some - or perhaps many - people would say this book is difficult. I, too, found myself having to take a breath after reading one or two chapters, and to continue only after a few days have passed. I wouldn't say the book is difficult though, but that it is profound. It is deep waters. You cannot treat it as a leisurely read, unless you have a recollected disposition that makes it easier for you to enter into a meditative state whenever and wherever. Additionally, many of the spiritual experiences described might be hard to imagine if one hasn't experienced them first hand. Even St. Teresa admits it herself. She clearly knows her stuff, but thinks she's unable to explain them sufficiently. That being said, I think she's done a great job, by the grace of God. Would I recommend this book? Definitely. BUT only when I'm certain that the person is willing to take his prayer/spiritual life seriously.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Darius Murretti

    Interior caslte review The vast majority who try fall by the wayside but St Theresa(Terry) succeeded in opening her inner eye and entering the “straight and narrow gate “ to the Father’s house during her life time, entering the wedding chamber and marrying the Kings of the infinite . Why did Terry succeed where almost all others failed ? 1)Terry had a conviction “Either we are the brides of this great King or we are not.” So what are we waiting for?! 2) Terry relied on God’s grace not on her own e Interior caslte review The vast majority who try fall by the wayside but St Theresa(Terry) succeeded in opening her inner eye and entering the “straight and narrow gate “ to the Father’s house during her life time, entering the wedding chamber and marrying the Kings of the infinite . Why did Terry succeed where almost all others failed ? 1)Terry had a conviction “Either we are the brides of this great King or we are not.” So what are we waiting for?! 2) Terry relied on God’s grace not on her own efforts Terry’s meditation efforts were directed at wining God’s grace , befriending God NOT rising within . Terry knew that when she won the Grace and friendship she’d get the progress and that anything coming from her could never get something THAT GREAT ! 3) Terry kept her guard up against the tricks of the devil she suspected anything that was told her inside unless the speaker was right in front of her where she could see exactly who it was and spoke in a loud clear voice so every word was sharp and clear . 4)Terry was never intimidated by the size of a gift( a spiritual vison or a rapture ) Never being content with any gift less than the Lord Himself . “my soul longs for you nothing else will do “ 5)TERRY was patient “Patience obtains all things.” – Terry “To hasten is Satanic “ 6) Terry did not overthink it. she relied on her love to guide her “The important thing is not to think much but to love much;” -Terry 7)Terry said meditation is nothing but having a personal relationship with god “For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God.”- Terry “Mental prayer is, as I see it, simply a friendly intercourse and frequent solitary conversation with Him who, as we know, loves us.” – Terry “I cannot conceive, my Creator, why the whole world does not strive to draw near to Thee in this intimate friendship.”-Terry 8) Terry never gave up “God withholds Himself from no one who perseveres.”-Terry “to retreat was far from my mind” 9) She fought the devil hard within her soul “All the trials we endure cannot be compared to the ferociousness of these interior battles.” –------Terry This book can NOT substitute a living mediation teacher > This book CAN impress upon you : 1) the need for humility(My PERSONAL BIGGEST NEED ) , 2) the need for Vigilance against the devil’s tricks , 3) the need to fight off the devils advances , 4)the need to Purify your heart by seeing God inside , 5)the need to think of God as a lover who cares deeply about you and can and will make everything work good or bad work out for your victory 6)The need to Strengthen your faith and love for God by a PERSONAL ONE ON ONE TIME with God ( Hugging God inside) 7) The need to not be satisfied with any gift no matter how great you get in meditation unless its eternal spiritual union with God !!! Terry had this idea “HEY ! think of the soul as if it were a really CLEAR crystal, with a brilliant light in the center that you can ENTER like a radiant glass castle with many rooms leading to the brilliant KING GROOM of The soul in its center where soul is eternally joined to the radiant King !!! Great Idea !!!(:D) Terry’s idea continued – Meditation (close courtship (aka dating) with the groom ) is the gate to this castle and the marriage takes place in the center chamber. INTERIOR SCHOOL HOUSE ! Teresa says: Its like going to school with your boyfriend ! Each room requires a spiritual lesson to be mastered before you can get to the next room! Room #1 is humility . Simply enter ROOM#1 and your boy friend starts to sparkle in the light!!! compare yourself with HIM . He’s sooo sparkly and you are sooo dirty (INSTANT HUMILITY!!) How can he stand you !?! When you see Gods Infinite power and your powerlessness (bang! Instant humiliation !!) Terry says “ Black never looks so black as when you put it next to something white so our defects never look so glaring as when we are next to His perfection“ Spiritual humility automatically gets deeper and deeper as our boy friend goes onlooking better and better as we move from room to room . She says that if we give up mediation fearing that we will feel proud of it then that’s stupid because only when we see how GOOOOOOD God is will we know how UNWORTHY of Him . When you enter the court of an all power King you automatically become humble . BUT WATCH OUT FOR THE DEVIL !!!! Terry Tells us :The devil is soooo angry when any one makes it into the glass castle rooms that the devil “ hides legions of evil spirits(school bullies) in the first 4 rooms each room to harass, distract and cut off the progress of the soul in those rooms . Humility and hugging tight to your BF is the invincible armour against disruptions of these evil spirits. Without humblyholding close to your BF you are toast. So cling to Him with humility (HOOOOW Romantic!) Terry tells us : “the soul is nothing but a paradise, in which, God takes His delight. Our soul was made in God’s own image so mighty, so wise, so pure and so full of all that is good. Being made in God’s own image the soul has infinite beauty and capacity . We can hardly form any conception of the soul's great dignity and beauty” Terry tells us that : “ We are not the mind nor body . These are mere coverings. We are the soul. We are like the ultimate dunce not to know who we are or where we came from!!! Its like –“DUDE you don’t know who your Dad is or where you live ???–what a retard !” It is great stupidity if we only think that we are not this body but a soul because the scripture say it . We should not be that lame. We should attempt to discover that we are in fact the wondrous soul inside and we live inheaven with our DAD who, owns it . IT sucks that All our interest is centered on our body and its wants and needs the outer wall of the castle –so to say – and we neglect to notice the splendor of our soul within “ So to give us a clue Terry discusses in this book how to enter within our shiney roomy soul and how, even while still alive in this world, we(Jesus and us ) can ascend within ourselves , mansion by mansion , to our wedding in eternal abode of God . Terry DOES FREQUENTLY WARN of the need to be on guard against the Devil (the enemy) who will TRY TRY TRY to shove us in a locker or a closet and lock the door if we let go out BFs arm . Terry warns us of his tricks. She urges us to be on guard against and repel the the attacks of our enemy and emerge victorious .She provides encouragement by describing how that victory will ”ROCK!” So Check it out ! (GEN 1:27 ) says: “God created man in his own image” the profound meaning to all of us is staggering : WHEN God created the HUMAN FORM God did a truly “fearful and wonderful “ thing . He hid HIMSELF, the entire cosmos and the path leading back to His TRUE ETERNAL FORM inside the human form and the sent his messengers like Teresa of Availia to reveal this secret to those ready to hear it .Then HE HIMSELF takes human form to instruct and empower those who are ready to begin the journey . If we are ready are to succeed in his life time we will need to go to a living God man and seek his instruction. BUT before you run off! In order to get ready to meet a Master we need to study and understand the devine design so longing to aatain it will awaken. . So time spend studying is not time lost , we are watering the seeds of longing and “when the student is ready the teacher appears “ This book can awaken in you a longing to ascend to God within and when that longing gets strong enough the teacher will appear in a human body and serve as your personal spiritual guide and teacher -free of charge –never leaving you until he has gotten you to your wedding to God and seen you married . Yes – free of charge – if anyhi g HE will pay for your room and board when you visit him. He is always the give never the taker . So becoming ready is a great thing ! So what has Terry to say to help us ?She speaks with authority of seasoned veteran Terry tells us: We have to stop chasing the world and go within to get our birthright. If we neglect to go within due to running after worldly acquisitions it would be like missing our wedding to collect “ a mess of potage” (Genesis 25:27 34; Heb. 12:16-17) FOOLISH VIRGIN! So we need to be “WISE VIRGINS” and use our time in this human form to prepare for the wedding .We must “Work while it is day(to get some oil in our lamp of devotion ) for night cometh when no man can work “ (John 9:4) Terry tells us : The journey is traveled by the force of love and longing . Love and longing are the true prayer to God . The more we love and long the more help HE gives up to proceed upward and inward to behold and be eternally wed to the eternal Bridegroom , IN a thrill of intense longing the soul beholds and rushes forth to unite with the Beloved . We need to conserve our sexual energy more and direct it into love and longing for our Beloved bride Groom. (Blessed are the pure in heart ) Terry tells us : to help keep this love and longing, this true prayer burning passionately in our hearts that we must study the writings of Devine Lovers like Teresa of Avalia and stay in the company of those whose hearts are fertile ground .Help each other pick out the weeds that would choke the seed of love and longing and take inspiration from each other to keep our desire fixed on this goal. Terry Tells Us: That we should not try to imagine , visualize or act out love and longing love in order pray but rather that we should just sit still and still our mind in the darkness in our head not let our mind go out of whatever mantra we are using to help our attention stay at the inner gate (“be still and Know that I am God “) if we do this the Lord will Himself give us the gift of love and longing and then as we sit there feeling love and longing we will get more and more of it and progress faster and faster. But in the beginning it will see like an emotional void where we are just holding our mind still in the darkness repeating a mantra just having faith that god will provide the love and longing if we persist . Terry also says that if we keep the company of those who have love and longing we will already have some of it when we sit . But once we sit we can not think our way into love and longing .It has to come from God and we have to be patient and have faith that it will. “the door of entry into this castle is prayer and meditation: if it is prayer(Speaking to God) at all, it must be accompanied by meditation[feeling God’s presence before us listening to us ]. If a person does not think Whom he is addressing, of Whom he is asking it, I do not consider that he is praying at all.” P18 The bible says “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know…. true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” My comment: so all Terry is saying is that we need to still our mind and feel God’s or Christ’s presence looking at and listening to us before we can pray in such a way as to enter within our soul. Terry says “souls, who do eventually enter the castle. These are very much absorbed in worldly affairs; but their desires are good; sometimes, though infrequently, they dedicate themselves to Our Lord; and they think about the state of their souls, though not very carefully. Full of a thousand preoccupations as they are, they pray only a few times a month, and as a rule they are thinking all the time of their preoccupations, for they are very much attached to them, and, where their treasure is, there is their heart also. From time to time, however, they shake their minds free of them and it is a great thing that they should know themselves well enough to realize that they are not going the right way to reach the castle door. Eventually they enter the first rooms on the lowest floor, but so many reptiles get in with them that they are unable to appreciate the beauty of the castle or to find any peace within it. Still, they have done a good deal by entering at all.” MY comment: Terry had this brillant idea of calling our ungodly passions “reptiles” Yeah the poisonous. The kind that make you nt be abel tosit peacefully beacseu the are like crawling and slithering around you and may bite you ( Terry’s Idea –not mine ) So anyway Terry says that when we go in the castle these “ungodly passions” that we’ve been indulging in follow into room #1 Room#2 Room#3 and Room #4 (fewer as we go) and these disturb the stillness of our mind so our inner vison shakes and we can not appreciate the beauty of it the first time we enter . But when we get to room #5 we leave these “reptiles “behind and our inner vision stabilizes and we can appreciate the beauty . Then Terry goes on to explain that like the sun in the center of our solar system and earth orbits it . the sun of God’s Light is in the center of our soul but sin is like a black paint thrown on the glass walls . So we RALLY don’t want to sin after we’ve gotten this far because that would totally suck. Terry says: “I want you to consider what will be the state of this castle, so beautiful and resplendent this Orient pearl, this tree of life, planted in the living waters of life -- namely, in God -- when the soul falls into a mortal sin. No thicker darkness exists, and there is nothing dark and black which is not much less so than this. You need know only one thing about it -- that, although the Sun Himself, Who has given it all its splend our and beauty, is still there in the centre of the soul, the crystal in incapable of reflecting the sun. While in a state like this the soul will find profit in nothing. the intention of a person who commits a mortal sin is not to please God but to give pleasure to the devil; since the devil is darkness he keeps the soul in darkness and it can not reflect the light .” My comment :SO stay away from smut! And do things selflessly to please God so He, being pleased with us , will remove the darkness of sin and we will be able to reflect the light within ourselves and enter and pass through the inner castle to the wedding feast . Terry tells us :that we should never shut our heart against the greater and greater gifts God Compassionately wants so badly to bestow upon us just because we lack faith that God could give us anything greater than he has already given us .Since God is infinite there is no limit to the greatness of gifts he can bestow . We should always have the faith that “we aint seen nuthin yet” and be ever ready to accept the greater gifts whenever he want to give them . He wants to make us his brides and we will share in all he has. She says that some people progress to a certain extent in the interior castle and they find that mansion is so grand and that they themselves are so unworthy of anything greater or that God can’t possibly follow THAT ACT .Such people ,she tells us , Just shut their heart against and further gifts for God . She says “don’t be like them” always have firm faith that God can give you infinity and eternity .and that as his bride you will partake of everything and be united with Him For HE is the greatest gift of all. Ultimately He gives us HIMSELF infinite eternal wonder wonder wonder – No words – just wonder ! wonder! wonder ! So hold firm to your faith that their si NOTHING beyond Gods owner to Give you and keep your heart opened to accept it Terry tells us : that if we are trying to tread the path to God and the devil makes us fall that if we immediately get up and resume our ou Godward trek that God will actually bring good out of our fall. God can bring good out of anything even a a fall into the devil’s trap . Sometimes the god he brings is to show the devil that even though we fell into his tarp once by god’s grace we got right backup and walked right just wiser and stronger. Sometimes he increases our understanding in other ways . It so we should just continue to choose what God wants not what the devil wants even i f once or twice we made the wrong choice we should just keep making right choices God ward choices. Finally to prove ITS ALL BOUT LOVE here are my favorite passages from TERRY : GOD WOUNDS THE SOUL WITH THE DART OF LOVE : see how, before it is wholly one with Him, He fills it with fervent desire, by means so delicate that the soul itself does not understand them for these are influences so delicate and subtle that they proceed from the very depth of the heart . often when a (unsuspecting) person is quite unprepared for such a thing, and is not even thinking of God, he is awakened by His Majesty, as though by a rushing comet or a thunderclap.(think Eric Clapton “Layla” power cordsthe soul is very well aware that it has been called by God, so much so that sometimes, especially at first, it begins to temble .It is conscious of having been most delectably wounded, but it is certain that this is a precious experience and it would be glad if it were never to be healed of that wound. The soul beseeches its Beloved with words of love, and even cries aloud, being unable to help itself, for it realizes that He is present but will not manifest Himself in such a way as to allow it to enjoy Him, and this is a great grief, though a sweet and delectable one; even if it should desire not to suffer it, it would have no choice -- but in any case it never would so desire. It is much more satisfying to a soul than is the delectable absorption, devoid of distress, which occurs in the Prayer of Quiet. For the Spouse, Who is in the seventh Mansion, seems to be calling the soul in a way which involves no clear utterance of speech, and none of the inhabitants of the other Mansions -- the senses, the imagination or the faculties -- dares to stir. So powerful is the effect of this upon the soul that it becomes consumed with desire, yet cannot think what to ask, so clearly conscious is it of the presence of its God. Now, if this is so, you will ask me what it desires or what causes it distress. What greater blessing can it wish for? I cannot say; I know that this distress seems to penetrate to its very bowels; and that, when He that has wounded it draws out the arrow, the bowels seem to come with it, so deeply does it feel this love. I have just been wondering if my God could be described as the fire in a lighted brazier, from which some spark will fly out and touch the soul, in such a way that it will be able to feel the burning heat of the fire; but, as the fire is not hot enough to burn it up, and the experience is very delectable, the soul continues to feel that pain and the mere touch suffices to produce that effect in it. It is perfectly clear that source of this sweet pain of love is the Lord, and its effects are the intense absorption of the joy Anyone to whom Our Lord has granted this favour will give God the most heartfelt thanks let him endeavour to serve God and to grow better all his life long and he will see the result of this and find himself receiving more and more. The soul, then, has these yearnings and tears and sighs, together with the strong impulses which have already been described. They all seem to arise from our love, and are accompanied by great emotion, While the soul is in this condition, and interiorly burning, Ah, God help me! Lord, how Thou dost afflict Thy lovers! Yet all this is very little by comparison with what Thou bestowest upon them later. That's Love folks intense unremitting painfully sweet and very clear and definite of purpose . By pain that is very sweet love joins two hearts into one . (:D)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    Although St. Teresa was a 16th century nun, she was as busy as the rest of us when "encouraged" by her spiritual director to write this book for her nuns. I read it as part of a Sunday school class, and I found myself cracking up at how Mirabai Starr captures her. One minute she is fervently advocating for humility and self-expression and prayer and the next she's literally writing I don't where I was. Between opening and managing some 15 or more Carmelite convents, dodging the suspicious Spanis Although St. Teresa was a 16th century nun, she was as busy as the rest of us when "encouraged" by her spiritual director to write this book for her nuns. I read it as part of a Sunday school class, and I found myself cracking up at how Mirabai Starr captures her. One minute she is fervently advocating for humility and self-expression and prayer and the next she's literally writing I don't where I was. Between opening and managing some 15 or more Carmelite convents, dodging the suspicious Spanish inquisitors, being a charismatic presence and walking her own path God, she handwrote this book and never went back to read it, so the story goes. Much of what she has to say resonates for me in the present day, is written as an opportunity for spiritual growth and deeper connection to God and, thankfully, sends a deep message of hope.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stef

    I've been reading this start-stop skip around fashion since 2012. this time i read it from cover to cover and every reading seemed to be planned by God to come at the right time, just when i needed to read something in particular. Thank You, Lord. I've been reading this start-stop skip around fashion since 2012. this time i read it from cover to cover and every reading seemed to be planned by God to come at the right time, just when i needed to read something in particular. Thank You, Lord.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    This is a book about prayer written by Saint Teresa of Avila, a 16th century Carmelite nun, mystic and doctor of the Church. In this book, she presents a model of the human soul as a castle cut from a single diamond. This castle is divided into seven groups of mansions, beginning at the outer gate and moving inward toward the center. We enter the castle whenever we pray, for the gate to the outermost mansion is prayer. (Those who never pray remain in a courtyard outside the gate.) As we progress This is a book about prayer written by Saint Teresa of Avila, a 16th century Carmelite nun, mystic and doctor of the Church. In this book, she presents a model of the human soul as a castle cut from a single diamond. This castle is divided into seven groups of mansions, beginning at the outer gate and moving inward toward the center. We enter the castle whenever we pray, for the gate to the outermost mansion is prayer. (Those who never pray remain in a courtyard outside the gate.) As we progress in prayer, we move gradually inward through the mansions. Along the way, we discover that our attachment to sin is trailing us in the form of reptiles. We battle our demons in the second mansions, and to win we must call for supernatural assistance from God and the saints who live near Him. The third mansions are the arid deserts of the soul, and here we must travel lightly and swiftly through, which we accomplish by dropping our heavy self-centeredness. And in the fourth mansions, there are two distinct fountains: the sweetness that comes from our own prayers, and the consolation that comes from God. In St. Teresa’s model of the soul, I’m guessing this is as far as most ordinary people get. Because… The fifth and sixth mansions are very strange and mystical. St. Teresa describes such things as: death-like trances similar to going into a cocoon, raptures and visions of different types, out-of-body experiences, a knowledge of the near presence of Christ or one of the saints, sudden urges to vocally praise God, and an interior burning. In the seventh mansion, of course, there is the ecstasy of uniting with God, which St. Teresa describes as sacred marriage to a Bridegroom. This model of the Interior Castle is not Scripture, of course, and not Church doctrine either, but it does provoke me to think about prayer, and it is something that will stay with me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    David

    second Read 2019 - A group of friends of mine reads theology books together, trying to read stuff outside our own culture and background as well as classics from long ago. Well, a group of straight men have little in common with a celibate nun of five centuries ago! This one is obviously a challenge. And it is probably good to read her other books first. I had read her three major works a while back and forgot to tell the group we probably shouldn’t start here. She presupposes a lot of beginner second Read 2019 - A group of friends of mine reads theology books together, trying to read stuff outside our own culture and background as well as classics from long ago. Well, a group of straight men have little in common with a celibate nun of five centuries ago! This one is obviously a challenge. And it is probably good to read her other books first. I had read her three major works a while back and forgot to tell the group we probably shouldn’t start here. She presupposes a lot of beginner spirituality. Thus, by about 2/3 through she’s talking about the sort of visions and such I am totally alien to. For any sort of normal person or practical spirituality, this one is probably not the best bet. That said, there are lots of nuggets of wisdom here. I’d still rather read it than most popular level Christian garbage by some mega church pastor that will be forgotten in a weeks. Most of the books being written today are sugar- they go down easy but don’t have much substance (there are exceptions of course). This one requires a little more work, but is much more valuable. Basically, reading Theresa is probably good for any Christian...but read her Way of Perfection and autobiography first. This book is considered a spiritual classic. Likening the soul to a castle, Teresa guides the reader through the seven rooms (Mansions) ending with union with God. A good book to read a chapter a day as part of daily Bible and prayer.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mari

    When reading spiritual texts, I try to rate them on two accounts. I attempt to consider whether it is good life advice to a person that believes in the tradition in question (that's rarely me, since I'm far too skeptic to commit myself to anything). Secondly, I'm affected by how much I simply enjoyed the reading experience, regardless of agreeing or disagreeing. For example, I found Bhagavad-Gita a very enjoyable and beautiful read, although I can't say I remember much of its teachings anymore. I When reading spiritual texts, I try to rate them on two accounts. I attempt to consider whether it is good life advice to a person that believes in the tradition in question (that's rarely me, since I'm far too skeptic to commit myself to anything). Secondly, I'm affected by how much I simply enjoyed the reading experience, regardless of agreeing or disagreeing. For example, I found Bhagavad-Gita a very enjoyable and beautiful read, although I can't say I remember much of its teachings anymore. Interior Castle is something I strongly disliked on both accounts. I read this for a class I'm taking in theology, and while I'm clearly not the target audience considering I'm an atheist and very critical towards Christianity in particular, it was really hard for me too even have any academic or philosophical interest towards it. I was constantly annoyed by it's hypernegative representation of humans and especially women. Teresa of Ávila was a catholic nun, and wrote this book primarily to her fellow nuns to instruct them in finding union with God through prayer. She portrays the human soul as a castle, which has several rooms in it, and through prayer, meditation and committing oneself to God a person can travel towards the inner rooms, in which the rather erotic union with God finally can happen. Teresa describes humans as completely wretched, with nothing good to them. Everything worth cherishing is a gift from God, including things such as bravery to endure tribulation (which will happen A LOT, and we should be grateful), doing good deeds or even the will to be with God. Everything that is good in a person should bring praise to God, and one should not feel any pride for their skills or achievements. Teresa highlights self-knowledge as a vital ingredient on a soul's journey towards God, by which she means complete understanding of how thoroughly wretched one is. One should attempt to amortise their own self and will, which is a contradiction in itself, as a person can barely do anything without any inner motivation and desres. Of course, if you believe in God, it is a plausible idea to completely abandon your own desires and want only what God makes you want, but mostly this just leads to a vicious circle of having to amortise yourself without being allowed to want to do so, especially since your reasons are probably shit considering your dreadful human nature. I've been trying to read more books by women this year in order to find more realistic representations of women, which is also why I picked this book out of a long list of classics of mystical Christianity. I probably should have known I shouldn't expect very progressive views from a catholic nun. Teresa is constantly belittling women's mental, intellectual and physical strength, including her own, and portraying them as the weaker sex. Like yeah, people are bad, but women are much worse. It's much worse to hear all that misogyny in the form of a woman teaching it to other women. The misogyny grows deeper when Teresa uses the metaphors of falling in love, engagement and marriage for the soul's union with God, presenting the individual as the Bride and God as the groom. This relationship is one of complete submission to and worship of the narcissistic God; SLAVERY is used to describe it. This makes it hard to fathom how anyone could find the idea of Christian marriage remotely healthy - Bible too describes the individual or the church as God's bride. This makes the power dynamic in a marriage rather wonky, if you ask me. But you probably shouldn't, since I am a woman, and I don't even pray. In addition, there's of course a healthy dose of intimidating people with Devil's temptations and warning them from even trying to use their common sense. This is the usual "don't you dare to question this" and "don't let the Devil tempt you to think" package in Christian literature, and finely disarms all criticism, since people like me that find flaws in it are practically married to Satan. It all probably seems very different to a person that buys the idea of an amazing God to whom we owe everything to and sees control, fear, submission and demand for praise as love. As for me, I still have to read a second book for my class, and I'm honestly dreading it, since this shit was tough to get through.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Becky Ankeny

    It isn't fair to rate this book until I've read it several times, but a first-time through was difficult. Teresa refers to herself in the third person, presents women as intellectually inferior, and extends a metaphor over 300 pages or so. I trudged. BUT, it will be worth reading again. Teresa says that a touchstone for mystical experience is whether it leaves the person more humble and more committed to the virtues and to loving God. Also, true communion with God, however outré the experience s It isn't fair to rate this book until I've read it several times, but a first-time through was difficult. Teresa refers to herself in the third person, presents women as intellectually inferior, and extends a metaphor over 300 pages or so. I trudged. BUT, it will be worth reading again. Teresa says that a touchstone for mystical experience is whether it leaves the person more humble and more committed to the virtues and to loving God. Also, true communion with God, however outré the experience seems, leaves the heart at peace, not in anxiety and tumult. Her categories of prayer, which she presents as mansions in the interior castle of the spirit/soul, have some I've actually experienced, and I appreciated her comments on them. I have been asked many times how one can know when God is speaking to one, and Teresa's response is that afterwards, the person is drawn to love God, to love virtue, and serve those around. And she is very big on humility as the foundational principle for knowing God. So I recommend it, I recommend a leisurely stroll through it, and I recommend finishing it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Eileen

    I had read Interior Castle about 15 years ago along with most of her other books. Joining Renovare book club, Interior Castle was assigned as one of four Christian books for this year. I found this peculiar book excellent with additions by Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R., with this translation and his commentary. Being raised Catholic but moving over to a Protestant denomination for many years, St Teresa's books has become some of my favorite Christian literature. They are about a deeper walk with Christ I had read Interior Castle about 15 years ago along with most of her other books. Joining Renovare book club, Interior Castle was assigned as one of four Christian books for this year. I found this peculiar book excellent with additions by Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R., with this translation and his commentary. Being raised Catholic but moving over to a Protestant denomination for many years, St Teresa's books has become some of my favorite Christian literature. They are about a deeper walk with Christ in prayer. Interior Castle is strongly Christ centered, keeping your focus on Jesus's Passion and what that accomplished for us and then loving all others in the light of His joy. This book is an helpful in understanding how to grow in our journey with God rather than pursuing any mystical experiences, keeping our focus on our Redeemer and Helper. It is something that Christ does in us (Grace) rather than our own doing: it is a gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Josh Wilhelm

    I read Teresa's "Interior Castle" as book six (out of ten) for a class on "Classics of Christian Spirituality" at Regent College. Written by Teresa to her sisters in her Carmelite monastery, the book is a manual on the mystical life, using an image of a giant crystal castle as a metaphor for the life of the soul. The soul for Teresa is not the tiny, shrunken soul of modernity, but is rather a vast castle with innumerous rooms. For the purpose of illustration, this castle is divided into seven "d I read Teresa's "Interior Castle" as book six (out of ten) for a class on "Classics of Christian Spirituality" at Regent College. Written by Teresa to her sisters in her Carmelite monastery, the book is a manual on the mystical life, using an image of a giant crystal castle as a metaphor for the life of the soul. The soul for Teresa is not the tiny, shrunken soul of modernity, but is rather a vast castle with innumerous rooms. For the purpose of illustration, this castle is divided into seven "dwellings places" representative of different stages in the spiritual life. Unsurprisingly, prayer is central to this journey, serving as the gate to the castle. The first three dwelling places are centered on the personal preparation of the castle entrant, whereas the remaining four dwellings are more focused on the entrant's (mostly passive) spiritual experiential life. Throughout the dwellings, the soul moves from meeting the King of the castle (in dwelling five), into betrothal (dwelling six) finally into intimate union (dwelling seven). At the end of the book, Teresa, shifts the focus away from experience, and encourages her sisters to focus on acts of charity towards others. There is somewhat of a tension here between, on the one hand, Teresa's balanced view of spiritual experiences in relation to Mother Church and the incarnate and risen Christ, and one the other, the sheer amount of space Teresa allots in describing these experiences (particular in dwelling six), which seem to undermine her former remarks. This same tension between the role of Scripture and tradition over and against experience continues today. I end with a favourite quote, which, I believe, provides a fitting teaser for the entire work, "Each one of us has a soul, but since we do not prize souls as is deserved by creatures made in the image of God we do not understand the deep secrets that lie in them" (172).

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This is an excellent, though a difficult, book and one I feel I will return to in the future. Saint Teresa wrote The Interior Castle relatively late in her life, after years as a nun, and with a lifetime of spiritual discipline behind her. Therefore, she is easily able to identify common pitfalls which present obstacles to spiritual growth and advancement. Her advice is practical and surprisingly relevant to readers some 400 years after the book was written. However, she may easily surpass the a This is an excellent, though a difficult, book and one I feel I will return to in the future. Saint Teresa wrote The Interior Castle relatively late in her life, after years as a nun, and with a lifetime of spiritual discipline behind her. Therefore, she is easily able to identify common pitfalls which present obstacles to spiritual growth and advancement. Her advice is practical and surprisingly relevant to readers some 400 years after the book was written. However, she may easily surpass the abilities of some would be students (such as myself, sadly) whose experience is not equal to that of such a great teacher. Saint Teresa, herself, acknowledges that later chapters of her book will not be useful to those desiring to attain the highest degrees of understanding and intimacy with God until they have progressed through the early stages. With this in mind, I hope that as I revisit The Interior Castle in years to come, I will find that what was once obscure has become clearer.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Andrew

    I've spent my adult life appreciating Teresa of Avila's INTERIOR CASTLE second-hand. Her autobiography has long been a favorite but every time I tried INTERIOR CASTLE I got bogged down. I love stories of Teresa's spunky leadership, her bad-mouthing God ("If this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few!"), and her belief in an indwelling divinity who spurs on our yearning for connection, and all of that personality and wisdom seemed buried in self-effacing doctrine about humility I've spent my adult life appreciating Teresa of Avila's INTERIOR CASTLE second-hand. Her autobiography has long been a favorite but every time I tried INTERIOR CASTLE I got bogged down. I love stories of Teresa's spunky leadership, her bad-mouthing God ("If this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few!"), and her belief in an indwelling divinity who spurs on our yearning for connection, and all of that personality and wisdom seemed buried in self-effacing doctrine about humility. I just couldn't do it. I'm immensely grateful to Mirabai Starr for clearing out all of Teresa's kowtowing to the Inquisition and lending contemporary spiritual terms to traditional Christian doctrinal language. This translation is feminist, lively, clear, and a huge gift to those of us who've loved Teresa from afar, because now we can know her intimately and begin to integrate her wisdom about interior spiritual growth into our lives.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    Teresa of Avila wrote Interior Castle as a way to explain her theory about the soul. I have to admit, the idea of the soul being a castle shaped crystal housing seven mansions inside is pretty cool. The imagery of the soul-crystal darkening after being touched by Lucifer was striking as well. As a person who never fully understood the mystic branches of the Abrahamic faiths, I found the mysticism offered here is fairly accessible. However, the multiple comparisons of disabled individuals to a Teresa of Avila wrote Interior Castle as a way to explain her theory about the soul. I have to admit, the idea of the soul being a castle shaped crystal housing seven mansions inside is pretty cool. The imagery of the soul-crystal darkening after being touched by Lucifer was striking as well. As a person who never fully understood the mystic branches of the Abrahamic faiths, I found the mysticism offered here is fairly accessible. However, the multiple comparisons of disabled individuals to a sinner or a person not reaching their full spiritual potential was beyond gross. Yes, I am fully aware this text was written in the sixteenth century, but that doesn't excuse the ableist language (or dashes of internalized misogyny). It never ceases to amaze me how many Christian works blatantly go against the tolerance Christ preached. 1.5 out of 5 stars

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sondra Jones

    I'm not going to "review" a classic. But I will say wow. Teresa of Avila's Interior Castles goes way beyond any spiritual practice or state that I've known existed. It's a whole new world. Again! It just keeps getting bigger and bigger. And that's a good thing. This book is available on YouTube, read in its entirety. That's how I "read" it. Now I need a hard copy. Some new ideas to me were around Jesus' suffering and suffering in general. That is why I need a hard copy; need to go back and read a I'm not going to "review" a classic. But I will say wow. Teresa of Avila's Interior Castles goes way beyond any spiritual practice or state that I've known existed. It's a whole new world. Again! It just keeps getting bigger and bigger. And that's a good thing. This book is available on YouTube, read in its entirety. That's how I "read" it. Now I need a hard copy. Some new ideas to me were around Jesus' suffering and suffering in general. That is why I need a hard copy; need to go back and read again. I want to see these words on paper. I winced at the attitudes towards the capabilities, intelligence and nature of women. Definitely a product of the time. Teresa was brilliant, clearly. I am new to knowing about her life and work and sainthood but I know I will cherish Castles and look forward to reading more as a guide to my own prayer life.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julie Davis

    Rereading after having read it for the first time at least a decade ago.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carol Apple

    “Few tasks which I have been commanded to undertake by obedience have been so difficult as this present one of writing about matters relating to prayer: for one reason, because I do not feel the Lord has given me either the spirituality or the desire for it….” So Teresa of Ávila (1515 – 1582) begins The Interior Castle (published 1577), a book which became a lucid and beautifully written spiritual classic. A learned woman who had already written several books, Teresa had been instructed to write “Few tasks which I have been commanded to undertake by obedience have been so difficult as this present one of writing about matters relating to prayer: for one reason, because I do not feel the Lord has given me either the spirituality or the desire for it….” So Teresa of Ávila (1515 – 1582) begins The Interior Castle (published 1577), a book which became a lucid and beautifully written spiritual classic. A learned woman who had already written several books, Teresa had been instructed to write a book on prayer for her fellow sisters of Carmelite order, women who chose to give up all worldly ambition and desires in favor of a life of sacrifice and prayer. It always amazes me how, out of thousands of possible books, I end up reading certain ones. I didn’t plan to read this one; it was not on any of my “to read” lists. I vaguely remember seeing on a list of spiritual classics somewhere, downloading it, and immediately getting sucked into the castle. The castle metaphor is both the soul itself and the person’s mind, will, and consciousness as she grows in spiritually closer to God: “Now let us return to our beautiful and delightful castle and see how we can enter it. I seem rather to be talking nonsense, for, if this castle is the soul, there can clearly be no question of our entering it. For we ourselves are the castle: and it would be absurd to tell someone to enter a room when he was in it already! But you must understand that there are many ways of “being” in a place.” Although the entire drama happens inside a soul – your physical body could be sitting in a chair or pulling weeds the whole time – an amazing variety of things happen as the soul progresses inward through the corridors and rooms of the castle, from the exterior courtyard where it must fight the “venomous creatures” – worldly temptations – all the way to the most inward chamber where the King awaits perfect union with His chosen ones. There are visions, ecstatic experiences, encounters with God that give new knowledge and understanding, even the experience of leaving the body, and many things Teresa says cannot be adequately described in human language. In each room or “mansion” of the castle (there are seven in all) the soul experiences new levels of self-knowledge, states of mind, various kinds of visions, and “favors” or direct experiences with God. Fairly early on in the journey one’s desires of the pleasures of this world begin to diminish and the desire for the pleasures of the eternal spiritual world increase until toward the center, the soul begins to long for the day she will leave this world. Teresa compares the process to that of the silkworm that must first spend time fattening up and preparing to weave its cocoon. The silkworm acts out of obedience to its God-given nature, having no idea why it does what it does. The butterfly that emerges is an entirely new creature that the worm never imagined or anticipated it would become. In Teresa’s metaphor, the point at which the soul becomes a butterfly (new creature) is not the point of physical death. In fact this transformation, in which the soul dies to self, occurs in the fifth of seven mansions. Even reaching the seventh mansion, where spiritual union with God occurs, does not mean the soul has reached the end of her physical life. It simply means that she has become one with God in love (without losing her individuality) and all her desires from this point on are to please Him. All in all this is a beautifully written and profound book. Although I finished it several months ago and although it took a while to process it, the book has apparently penetrated some small part of my interior because it has stayed with me. A more detailed review is available at my blog: http://www.carolsnotes.net/2012/06/ho...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

    I think it is fitting that I read Marcus Aurelius' Meditations just before reading this because Teresa of Avila espouses many of the things found in Meditations, she brings to it a much needed personal and poetic touch. To have conceived such a work while in a constant state of physical pain (she frequently complains and apologizes about her head hurting) and yet to remain so fixated and devout on this text solely to better her sister nuns is a very strong display of willpower, love, and devotio I think it is fitting that I read Marcus Aurelius' Meditations just before reading this because Teresa of Avila espouses many of the things found in Meditations, she brings to it a much needed personal and poetic touch. To have conceived such a work while in a constant state of physical pain (she frequently complains and apologizes about her head hurting) and yet to remain so fixated and devout on this text solely to better her sister nuns is a very strong display of willpower, love, and devotion created by her own deep reserves of belief. It's an inspiring and uplifting work for sure and it left a deep impression on me. Her struggles with understanding her soul versus how best to voice what little she did claim to know is a philosophical drama refreshingly devoid of any form of pretension that in my opinion does grant merit to reading this book beyond scholastic or pursuits entirely religious. While much of this is very much timeless there are a few asides throughout the text directly addressing concerns Teresea of Avila had. It is an instructional text first and foremost but some of the advice concerning things such as nuns feigning raptures for extended periods of time to avoid work or the rampant affect of melancholy plaguing the land or even a lack of skilled confessors to be trusted in let alone the obvious deferment to the dominating societal norm at the time that women were in all ways inferior to men speaks of a time of seeming impossibility for such a work as this to be not only endorsed, but to be championed throughout the generations by benefactors that it should come to our modern libraries more or less intact. In short I found myself quite impacted by the simplistic yet infinite beauty found in the words here, and I may not be making a conversion any time soon I think maybe my soul is looking a little less tarnished.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sharayah

    This is probably a better book than I rated it, but I just did not understand it. I have not experienced anything remotely like the raptures St. Teresa talks about, and the run on sentences and rabbit trails leave me lost.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kellerrenate

    Anyone wanting to re-connect with Christian thought and learn about a devotional/rational relationship to God, this is an incredibly beautiful book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    A beautiful self help guide to understanding where you fall in the contemplative life. Interior Castle was a good companion read to A Dark Night of the Soul as many of the same ideas are reflected in both, but with the male and female perspective coming out differently in each.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Katie Fitzgerald

    #CathLit2019 challenge: A Classic Spiritual Work I had such a hard time getting through this book, which was my Catholic moms book club's pick for January 2019. I recognize that St. Teresa is imparting lots of valuable wisdom and insight, but I grew weary of the repetition, and of the saint's constant commentary on how unworthy she is to write this book. Though I think I gained some understanding of the concept of an interior life, I don't feel like this book left me with any specific ideas about #CathLit2019 challenge: A Classic Spiritual Work I had such a hard time getting through this book, which was my Catholic moms book club's pick for January 2019. I recognize that St. Teresa is imparting lots of valuable wisdom and insight, but I grew weary of the repetition, and of the saint's constant commentary on how unworthy she is to write this book. Though I think I gained some understanding of the concept of an interior life, I don't feel like this book left me with any specific ideas about how to foster it, especially as I'm not a nun, and the intended audience was a group of sisters. Still, though, I did feel compelled to keep reading, and I do think that it is important to read the whole book to understand at the last the broad strokes of what the saint wishes to tell us. I also finished the book with the sense that, while St. Teresa is never going to be a saint I find relatable, she is probably one whose intercession I should seek out more often. While I think I prefer the writings of Caryll Houselander (a mystic who smoked and drank and lived in the modern world, but is so far not a canonized saint), I can see why I should still strive to be more like St. Teresa of Avila even if I don't connect with her particular writing style.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    Why read Chicken Soup for Catholics when this work written by a great saint and doctor of the Church is available. Although it was written almost five hundred years ago, its limpid style makes it as readable as anything that has been published in this the 21st century. Teresa offers a guide on how to begin and progress through a long life of prayer. She leads the reader through seven phases referred to as mansions of one's interior castle. The first three phases are of active prayer in which one Why read Chicken Soup for Catholics when this work written by a great saint and doctor of the Church is available. Although it was written almost five hundred years ago, its limpid style makes it as readable as anything that has been published in this the 21st century. Teresa offers a guide on how to begin and progress through a long life of prayer. She leads the reader through seven phases referred to as mansions of one's interior castle. The first three phases are of active prayer in which one asks God for humility, an aversion to sin and the desire to do charitable works. The next three phases are devoted to contemplative prayer. One ceases to acquire beginning instead to simply receive gifts. One enters into a kind of betrothal to God and then learns to love God. In phase seven one enters into a spiritual marriage with God. Ste. Teresa has provided a simple although arduous path through prayer to union with God. This is a great classic on the great happiness and adventure of a life of progressive prayer. It is a great book for Catholics or Protestants or Jews or anyone who believes in God.

  29. 4 out of 5

    John Burns

    I'm sad to say that I couldn't really understand what she was talking about most of the time. This is partly due to the abstract, abstruse nature of the topic but also due to her totally incoherent style of writing. It reminded me of Anne Frank and Villette, this intelligent and insightful woman rambling on and on, often in a very unfocussed sort of way, often making a point of accusing herself of being too stupid for the task at hand. It's probably also fair to say that I didn't get an especial I'm sad to say that I couldn't really understand what she was talking about most of the time. This is partly due to the abstract, abstruse nature of the topic but also due to her totally incoherent style of writing. It reminded me of Anne Frank and Villette, this intelligent and insightful woman rambling on and on, often in a very unfocussed sort of way, often making a point of accusing herself of being too stupid for the task at hand. It's probably also fair to say that I didn't get an especially good translation (apparently it was translated by "The Benedictines of Stanbrook", whoever they are). Perhaps I'll give this another punt some day with a better translation.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    The Interior Castles is a very wonderful book on how to get closer to God and how to overcome the trials come upon you. St. Theresa originally wrote this for the sisters in her convent, at the urging of a friend of hers. She says that the way to the "ultimate marriage with God" is through humility and a humble life, and through prayer. She also says that we have to be aware of when God speaks to us, and know when Satan is trying to veer us away from Him. The reason why I gave it only three stars The Interior Castles is a very wonderful book on how to get closer to God and how to overcome the trials come upon you. St. Theresa originally wrote this for the sisters in her convent, at the urging of a friend of hers. She says that the way to the "ultimate marriage with God" is through humility and a humble life, and through prayer. She also says that we have to be aware of when God speaks to us, and know when Satan is trying to veer us away from Him. The reason why I gave it only three stars was because St. Theresa always seems to ramble off and it makes it hard to understand what she's talking about. I was lucky to have read the E. Allison Peers translation, because if I read the Mirabai Starr edition I would have been exasperated.

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