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Interior Castle Paperback – January 4, 1972


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Interior Castle + Saint Teresa of Avila: The Passionate Mystic (Contemplations & Living Wisdom)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 235 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; Reissue edition (January 4, 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385036434
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385036436
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #733,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A gem of mystical literature made accessible and relevant to the modern spiritual seeker.” –Sharon Salzberg, bestselling author of Faith

“Mirabai Starr is revolutionizing our relationship with the great mystics. Her gorgeous translation of The Interior Castle is an instant classic. Starr has the poet’s ear and meditative depth to do perfect justice to Teresa’s priceless guide.” –Tim Farrington, author of The Monk Downstairs --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English, Spanish (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

This is a fantastic work that merits reading.
John HSP
Written over four centuries ago by Teresa of Avila, the book describes the soul as a castle with interior mansions and in each of the mansions, there are many rooms.
CJ
In this book, the soul journeys through seven rooms, each with a lesson of spiritual wisdom that draws us closer to God.
Father Carlos

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

108 of 108 people found the following review helpful By Patrice Fagnant-macarthur VINE VOICE on September 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
Teresa of Avila was a Carmelite nun living in the 1500s who wrote the "Interior Castle" (known as "The Mansions" in her native Spain) at the request of her confessor. A mystic who communed intimately with God, she had experienced a vision of "a most beautiful crystal globe, made in the shape of a castle, and containing seven mansions, in the seventh and innermost of which was the King of Glory, in the greatest splendour, illuming and beautifying them all. . . outside the palace limits everything was foul, dark, and infested with toads, vipers and other venomous creatures." This castle became Teresa's metaphor for the soul. "Interior Castle" explores each of the seven mansions in great detail. Her intended audience were the sisters who made up her cloistered religious community, however her insights offer much to the world at large.

Teresa wrote reluctantly and felt that she had little to offer that had not already been said. She believed that "Our Lord will be granting me a great favour if a single one of these nuns should find that my words help her to praise Him a little better." She focuses on the beauty of the soul and laments that we spend so much attention on our physical body and so little on the divine spark that is within.

Teresa focuses on gaining self-knowledge, but not in the way we in the 21st century interpret that term. For her, self-knowledge means coming to know the soul within. It means understanding our dependence on God and gaining humility by acknowledging that we are nothing without Him. The route to self-knowledge and entry into the interior castle comes through prayer and meditation. As one progresses through the mansions, one comes to know and long for God more and more and to reject the world and its attractions.
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130 of 133 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
Interior Castle, by St. Teresa of Avila, is one of the saint's writings that is filled with spiritual insight, charm, and breathtaking closeness to God. Her castle is the God within, and there are outward mansions that must be penetrated to get to this inner treasure. Each mansion is a deepening of one's knowledge of God, and a step further away from one's capture by externality and the world. She describes these inward steps, and leads one onward to union with God (or God carries one onward - at first it is our efforts, than it is God's). Beautiful and illuminating.
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124 of 127 people found the following review helpful By John on June 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Interior Castle (or The Mansions as it is known in Spain) compares the soul to a castle filled with many rooms. Each room is an aspect or stage of the soul, and one can progress into and out of each room. The more into the center of this castle one goes, the more his soul is conformed to the will and ways of God. It is the most interior chamber of this castle in which God dwells. The book describes the soul's way of making it to this chamber. St. Teresa focuses her work towards the nuns of her convent, and because of her personal relationship with them, the book is written in her typical conversational tone and humility. She only loosely adheres to the analogy of a castle. However, it contains several morsels of enlightened spiritual knowledge and insight. The principles that are expounded by Teresa testify to her intimacy with the Creator. She spends a great deal of time on mortification and prayer. Written in 1577, it still contains spiritual wisdom that can be applied today to both Catholics and Protestants.
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59 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Brian P. Giffin on November 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
This was a hard book to read due to MY expectations. I was expecting details where St. Teresa gives almost none. One realizes why in the long run, simply that to give the details of HER experience would limit your thoughts on how God would interact with you. Yet, it is frustrating to read this and realize that she could be telling us so much more in regards to what she has been shown by God. I rate it 5 stars though because in the end one realizes that to find out what she knows, YOU are going to have to tread a likewise path...no freebies here. Therefore St. Teresa (really the Holy Spirit) is telling you no more than you need to know to become interested in following the path, and subsequently trodding that path. For those of us who are so used to getting on the Net and finding the easy way to solve a puzzle...well, God doesn't publish the Cheat Codes....
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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
Teresa of Avila is one of the more remarkable figures in the history of Christianity. Living in a perilous time, when the Roman Catholic church was suspicious of anything that might develop into Protestant heresies and schisms, she walked a fine line between obedience to the political structure and obedience to God. It is often the case that mystics and spiritual giants are at odds with church structures of the day (this is rather ecumenical, reaching across Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant lines).

Teresa lived at time shortly after the explusion of the Jews from Spain (which occurred in 1492). Her own family was a converso family; hence, there were different dimensions to the wariness of the powers in the culture toward her activities. Being a woman at the time didn't help matters, either, as she defied the stereotypes in several ways, by seeking education and leadership opportunities, all the while being part of the discalced Carmelites, who strive to cultivate humility and poverty.

Teresa's life was not an easy one; she suffered physical ailments and political difficulties. However, she was also a sought-after advisor, spiritual leader, and fairly prolific author. Her various writings made her famous in her own day, but the towering achievement that has lasted over time is without doubt 'Interior Castle'. This text shows a spiritual journey on the inside, developing different walks through aspects of spiritual life and prayer developed in seven stages, or mansions.

The life of prayer is the castle, with seven stages of development. The first three stages are pieces that humankind can practice with their own efforts; the final four stages are those which are given from God, and God alone - no human effort can reach these places.
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