Jesusi.com Homepage

 

 

 게시판  검색  자료실  사이트맵  예수와나?

뒤로 ]  ] 다음 ]

 

 

INTERIOR CASTLE

by St. Teresa of Avila

 

"I BEGAN TO THINK OF THE SOUL

AS IF IT WERE A CASTLE

MADE OF A SINGLE DIAMOND..."

 INTERIOR CASTLE is one of the most celebrated books on mystical theology in existence. It is the most sublime and mature of Teresa of Avila's works, and expresses the full flowering of her deep experience in guiding souls toward spiritual perfection. In addition to its profound mystical content, it is also a treasury of unforgettable maxims on such ascetic subjects as self-knowledge, humility, detachment, and suffering. But above all, this account of a soul's progress in virtue and grace is the record of a life -- of the interior life of Teresa of Avila, whose courageous soul, luminous mind, and endearingly human temperament hold so deep an attraction for the modern mind.

In its central image and style, INTERIOR CASTLE, like so many works of genius, is extremely simple. Teresa envisioned the soul as "a castle made of a single diamond . . . in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven there are many mansions." She describes the various rooms of this castle -- the degrees of purgation and continual strife -- through which the soul in its quest for perfection must pass before reaching the innermost chamber, the place of complete transfiguration and communion with God.

Teresa was an incredibly gifted teacher whose devotion to the sublimest task -- the guidance of others toward spiritual perfection -- has resulted in the widespread fame of her writings. There is no life more real than the interior life, and few persons have had such an extraordinarily rich experience of that reality as has Teresa. In INTERIOR CASTLE, she exhorts and inspires her readers to participate in the search for this ultimate spiritual reality, the source of her own profound joy.

PROBABLY no other books by a Spanish author have received such wide popular acclaim as the Life and Interior Castle of St. Teresa of Avila. It is remarkable that a woman who lived in the sixteenth century, who spent most of her life in an enclosed convent, who never had any formal schooling and never aspired to any public fame, should have won such an extraordinary reputation, both among scholars and among the people.

There can be little doubt that her popularity has been due, in large measure, to Divine Grace, which first inspired her at an early age to put aside every aim but the quest for God and then enabled her to attain a degree of fervor in her love for Him which sustained her and impelled her to perform prodigious works in His name. She established new foundations for her order, carried on the spiritual direction of souls given into her care, wrote brilliant treatises for the edification of her fellow nuns, and reached the very summit of personal sanctity through a life of prayer, humility, and charity. Before everythingelse, it is the intense fervor of her spirituality which speaks to readers everywhere, just as it is the determination and courage of her soul which inspires those who want to be more courageous and determined than they are. But, next to this, it is the purely human quality of her writings that makes so wide an appeal. Her writing is characterized by a liveliness of thought, rich imagination, spontaneity of expression, and a structural "sweet disorder" that many readers find attractive and illuminating.

Whenit is remembered that she wrote at the command of her superiors -- that is, under obedience -- and that her writing was done in haste during brief periods, snatched, as it were, from the duties of the religious life, and that she herself thought her writings of so little importance that she never even reread what she had written, is it any wonder that the ordinary man and woman finds her efforts irresistibly attractive?

It is truly amazing, too, to ponder the depths of humility that prompted this remarkably gifted woman to answer those who commanded her to write: "For the love of God, let me work at my spinning wheel and go to choir and perform the duties of the religious life, like the other sisters. I am not meant to write: I have neither the health nor the wits for it."

It must be to those superiors, then, that generations of appreciative readers must render their thanks for the masterful books -- outstanding among them, the Interior Castle -- through which the teachings of St. Teresa survive to instruct, inspire, and delight.

Interior Castle

St. Teresa of Avila

 

Translated and edited by E. Allison Peers

 

From the Critical Edition of

P. Silverio de Stanta Teresa, C.D.


TO THE GRACIOUS MEMORY OF

P. EDMUND GURDON

SOMETIME PRIOR OF THE CARTHUSIAN MONASTERY

OF MIRAFLORES

A MAN OF GOD


CONTENTS

 

PRINCIPAL ABBREVIATIONS

 

INTRODUCTION

 

INTERIOR CASTLE

 

FIRST MANSIONS

 

CHAPTER I

Treats of the beauty and dignity of our souls; makes a comparison by the help of which this may be understood; describes the benefit which comes from understanding it and being aware of the favours which we receive from God; and shows how the door of this castle is prayer.

CHAPTER II

Describe the hideousness of a soul in mortal sin, some part of which God was pleased to manifest to a certain person. Says something also of self-knowledge. This chapter is profitable, since it contains some noteworthy matters. Explains in what sense the Mansions are to be understood.

SECOND MANSIONS

Treats of the great importance of perseverance if we are to reach the final Mansions and of the fierce war which the devil wages against us. Tells how essential it is, if we are to attain our goal, not to miss our way at the beginning. Gives a method which has proved very efficacious.

THIRD MANSIONS

 

CHAPTER I

Treats of the insecurity from which we cannot escape in this life of exile, however lofty a state we may reach, and of how good it is for us to walk in fear. This chapter contains several good points.

CHAPTER II

Continues the same subject and treats of aridities in prayer and of what the author thinks may result from them; and of how we must test ourselves; and of how the Lord proves those who are in these Mansions.

FOURTH MANSIONS

 

CHAPTER I

Treats of the difference between sweetness or tenderness in prayer and consolations, and tells of the happiness which the author gained from learning how different thought is from understanding. This chapter is very profitable for those who suffer greatly from distractions during prayer.

CHAPTER II

Continues the same subject and explains by a comparison what is meant by consolations and how we must obtain them without striving to do so.

CHAPTER III

Describes what is meant by the Prayer of Recollection, which the Lord generally grants before that already mentioned. Speaks of its effects and of the remaining effects of the former kind of prayer, which had to do with the consolations given by the Lord.

FIFTH MANSIONS

 

CHAPTER I

Begins to explain how in prayer the soul is united with God. Describes how we may know that we are not mistaken about this.

CHAPTER II

Continues the same subject. Explains the Prayer of Union by a delicate comparison. Describes the effects which it produces in the soul. Should be studied with great care.

CHAPTER III

Continues the same matter. Describes another kind of union which, with the help of God, the soul can attain, and the important part played in it by the love of our neighbour. This chapter is of great profit.

CHAPTER IV

Continues the same subject and gives a further explanation of this kind of prayer. Describes the great importance of proceeding carefully, since the devil is most careful to do all he can to turn souls back from the road they have begun to tread.

SIXTH MANSIONS

 

CHAPTER I

Shows how, when the Lord begins to grant the soul greater favours, it has also to endure greater trials. Enumerates someof these and describes how those who are in this Mansion must conduct themselves. This is a good chapter for any who suffer interior trials.

CHAPTER II

Treats of several ways in which Our Lord awakens the soul; there appears to be nothing in these to be feared, although the experience is most sublime and the favours are great ones.

CHAPTER III

Treats of the same subject and describes the way in which, when He is pleased to do so, God speaks to the soul. Gives instructions as to how we should behave in such a case: we must not be guided by our own opinions. Sets down a few signs by which we mayknow when this favour is, and when it is not, a deception. This chapter is very profitable.

CHAPTER IV

Treats of occasions when God suspends the soul in prayer by means of rapture, or ecstasy, or trance (for I think these are all the same), and of how great courage is necessary if we are to receive great favours from His Majesty.

CHAPTER V

Continues the same subject and gives an example of how God exalts the soul through flights of the spirit in a way different from that described. Gives some reasons why courage is necessary here. Says something of this favour which God grants in a way so delectable. This chapter is highly profitable.

CHAPTER VI

Describes one effect of the prayer referred to in the last chapter, by which it will be known that it is genuine and no deception. Treats of another favour which the Lord grants to the soul so that He may use it to sing His praises.

CHAPTER VII

Treats of the kind of grief felt for their sins by the souls to Whom God grants the favours aforementioned. Says that, however spiritual people may be, it is a great mistake for them not to practise keeping in mind the Humanity of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, His most sacred Passion and life, and His glorious Mother and the Saints. This chapter is of great profit.

CHAPTER VIII

Treats of the way in which God communicates Himself to the soul through intellectual vision. Describes the effects which this produces when genuine. Charges that these favours be kept secret.

CHAPTER IX

Treats of the way in which the Lord communicates Himself to the soul through imaginary visions and gives an emphatic warning that we should be careful not to desire to walk in this way. Gives reasons for the warning. This chapter is of great profit.

CHAPTER X

Speaks of other favours which God grants to the soul in a different way from those already mentioned, and of the great profit that they bring.

CHAPTER XI

Treats of the desires to enjoy God which He gives the soul and which are so great and impetuous that they endanger its life. Treats also of the profit which comes from this favour granted by the Lord.

SEVENTH MANSIONS

 

CHAPTER I

Treats of great favours which God bestows on the souls that have attained entrance to the Seventh Mansions. Describes how in the author's opinion there is some difference between the soul and the spirit although both are one. There are notable things in this chapter.

CHAPTER II

Continues the same subject. Describes the difference between spiritual union and spiritual marriage. Explains this by subtle comparisons.

CHAPTER III

Treats of the striking effects produced by this prayer aforementioned. It is necessary to observe and remember the effects it produces, for the difference between them and those already described is remarkable.

CHAPTER IV

Concludes by describing what appears to be Our Lord's aim in granting the soul such great favours and says how necessary it is for Martha and Mary to walk in each other's company. This chapter is very profitable.

 


 ] The Life of Teresa of Jesus ] The Way of Perfection ] [ Interior Castle ] About Teresa OF AVILA ]


   
 
 

 게시판  검색  자료실  사이트맵  예수와나?

뒤로 ]  ] 다음 ]

 
 

Jesusi.com Homepage



This page was last modified 2001/09/17