St. Teresa of Avila wrote The Interior Castle as a guide for the other sisters of her order as they sought out spiritual depth. She divides the spiritual pilgrimage into a series of seven circles, or, rooms within the interior of a person trying to encounter God. Her picture is of a person seeking the safety and protection of the inner most keep of a castle. She reminds the sisters of the temptations of the outermost levels and points them toward the deeper mysteries shrouded in darkness. While she gives much practical advice, she also reminds us that God must be experienced and this experience is something one must gain alone. Teresa understood that the deeper one goes with God, the less one can say with confidence about the experience; and though the experiences are pure joy, they are impossible to completely relate. The Interior Castle is a wonderful read especially if one takes sufficient time to ponder over what is read. Without reflection one can easily miss what Teresa is trying to say.
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