St. Teresa’s Interior Castle
I find the First Mansions St. Teresa talks about interesting because I believe they are the most difficult to enter as one begins a spiritual life, with all the distractions in the world that keep us from fully entering into a life with God. St. Teresa describes snakes, vipers and poisonous creatures, which could be analogous with technology, secularism, and the constant barrage of noise created by television and radio.
It is heartening to know that God has created within us, this beautiful castle that is ours to explore if we make the conscious choice to do so. It does not come without being vigilant to our own failures and constantly striving to do good so as not to offend God. He created us in his image and so we have the ability, love and support we need to become One with Him. Why then, do we not do what we need to do in order to obey him?
We have fallen short of the task God has set before us – to know ourselves through Him. We don’t take the time to understand and know God, so we do not understand ourselves. We are like zombies walking through life – without life. We don’t understand that God is an ever-lasting river flowing through us. We thirst for Him, but through our own ineptness, we don’t know that we thirst and we wouldn’t know how to quench that thirst even if we did. Only through Him can we hope to have life.
In our darkness we cannot see the beauty that lies within us. We look outside of ourselves to satisfy the need that resides within us, but it cannot be filled by outside influences, people or things. Only God can feed our souls and nourish us. The food of which I am speaking is in Scripture and in praising God for his goodness, for the blessings He grants us, and for the mercy He shows us.
By understanding ourselves, through God’s eyes, we see where we fall short and are able to enter the Mansion with hope and a will to succeed. Through prayer and meditation and an understanding of who we are praying to, we come to know God’s will for us and we strive to release ourselves from the ways of the world in order to please Him. This is not a one-time event. We must continually come into communion with Him so we are prepared as we move through the First Mansion and into the other mansions.
Unless we have the understanding that our soul belongs to God, and we always strive to please Him, we can, through our ignorance, fall into the darkness of mortal sin. We believe we are separated from God and because we are distant from Him, it gives the devil pleasure to do evil works through us. We must be constantly vigilant and discerning that our thoughts and actions are pleasing to God, and in all humility realize that He is our one and only source of good.
Through self-knowledge and our desire to know God, we realize our true nature and strive more every day to be in alignment with that. We put aside worldly concerns, even for just a little while, and commune with God. We come back to our true source and we live better lives in accordance with God’s will for us.
By Teresa Martens
“It is necessary in every state of life for our help to come from God.
May His Majesty grant us this through His mercy. Amen.”
~ St. Teresa of Avila ~
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