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Interior Castle: The Classic Text With a Spiritual Commentary (Classics With Commentary) Paperback – April 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Teresa of Avila (1515 - 1582) was a contemplative nun, religious former, monastic founder, spiritual writer and gifted poet. She is also one of the great Christian mystics of all time. She was canonised in 1622 and declared a doctor of the church in 1970.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Ave Maria Press (April 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870612417
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870612411
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Carol Blank on April 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have, more than once, picked up Interior Castle, but each time my innate preference for logical progression and precise explanations got in the way. With Dennis Billy as a guide, I am now able to appreciate Teresa's spiritual counsel even though I still find some of the metaphors confusing.

Though the commentary is short when compared to Teresa's texts, it is invaluable. In the introduction Billy gives an overview of Teresa's background, call to write, and spiritual doctrine presented through a description of seven mansions within a spiritual castle. He also offers 10 pointers for interpreting Interior Castle, including details of its development, Teresa's view of religious life "in the hierarchical order of sanctity," her combative posture toward the world, and her primary image of God as beloved spouse.

He previews her nine sections--one for the introduction, each of the seven mansions, and the epilogue--and before each chapter within the sections he offers a short summary that prepares us for Teresa's words. Finally, Billy has added four reflection questions at the end of each chapter to help us further examine Teresa's teachings and our own spiritual lives.
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49 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Anne Gomes on October 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
Fr Billy's introduction, chapter notes and questions are a fantastic, useful guide to this spiritual classic. I've read and reread St Teresa for years in English and Spanish and this book has the best commentary I have ever seen. His notes make this classic accessible for people called to the prayer journey but who lack background in 16th century Spanish society and mysticism. I've already recommended it to 2 friends who are also pleased with the book.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By J. Ashton on April 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Teresa of Avila was a real person, not just a beautiful sculpture! My realization of this was made sure by this fine commentary on her Interior Castle work by Dennis Billy. Her conversion to Christ and her subsequent desire to know Him, her obedience to her superiors in writing her thoughts, and her delightful humanity in the journey, are a worthwhile study for any Christian, Protestant or Catholic. (The E. Allison Peer's English translation from the Spanish is considered the standard version, and is accurate, unlike the New Age-spin translation of Mirabelle Starr.)

For any believer, this is a terrific guide to the details of spiritual growth, not in the sense of becoming adept at hearing special messages from God, but in the sense of gaining true humility, gaining the joy of sacrifice, and gaining a transcendent love for Jesus. How wonderful that this was written in the 1500s; like the Bible, it speaks to us in our own century. That Teresa was a very busy woman gives a special touch of realism to her words; her reforms in the Carmelite order took her on journeys far less comfortable than the business traveler of today, and with worries as complex and political as has any modern businessman. It is a great privilege to have these writings.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. S. Fox on February 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to enhance their knowledge and prayer life -- very well written!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By mojo on June 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
this is my 4th time reading Interior Castles. This is the best translation. The commentary is quite valuable in summarizing and the introduction is especially helpful to first time readers who may not be familiar with the setting in which the book was written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joseph T Fegan on November 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
St. Teresa of Avila, a highly admired Catholic mystic, wrote "Interior Castles' as instructions for her cloistered sisters. She was required to do so by her Mother Superior and her confessor. Previously, I have read this book of hers, but only understood a portion of what she was teaching. Someone once wrote, "When the student is ready, the teacher appears." This is my present situation, as I delve into my heart in search of Divine truth. Fr. Dennis Billy's commentaries really help me more fully appreciate this journey.
St. Teresa wrote in a very understandable, straight-forward style. Still, the expert graceful commentary adds considerably to her message from love. I highly recommend this book. Enjoy the journey. Do yourself a great favor in reading this excellent book by a saintly Catholic mystic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the classic, but to fully understand it, first read Ruth Burrows book on this book. One of the major books by one of the major Saints of the 1500s
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Carl on April 15, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
When I was young, I used to play the game Dungeons and Dragons. I had a hard time finding my way around in the game. Interior Castle is similar type of journey but with real treasure of eternal value for ones soul. However, I had the same problem as with the game. Having read this classic before, I got great benefit from it but missed much of the treasure. With guiding light of Father Dennis Billy's commentary, I made my way through each room of metaphor, not missing any of what the Holy Spirit had as far as revelation to be gained. My love for this great work increased exponentially as a result. It is one of the best commentaries. Much like the biblical Cyrus in the book of Isaiah, Dennis Billy seems to have an anointing to turn up "riches stored in secret places."
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