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Interior Castle (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – December 17, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
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. Teresa encourages the beginner in prayer "to labour and be resolute and prepare himself with all possible diligence to bring his will into conforming with the will of God." She also offers encouragement: "If, then, you sometimes fall, do not lose heart or cease striving to make progress, for even out of your fall God will bring good."
As one makes her way ever deeper into the heart of the castle, increased spiritual consolations and trials become par for the course. Many (perhaps even most) do not reach the most inner mansions in this lifetime. Teresa is quick to point out, however, that "the Lord gives when He wills and as He wills and to whom He wills, and as the gifts are His own, this is doing no injustice to anyone." Indeed she cautions her readers to never believe that they deserve any gift that the Lord bestows upon them, nor should we set out to obtain any consolations or mystical experiences because "the most essential thing is that we should love God without any motive of self-interest."
Teresa was truly granted amazing gifts of insight and experience from God. While we may not share in her experience, "Interior Castle" offers a unique perspective into the divine within each of us. It offers a portrait of our souls and invites us into a deeper relationship with God.
It is sad to see this transformation and distortion of meaning of one of the world's great mystics.
If I want to read Ms Starr's spiritual views, I would be pleased to do so in an essay of her own. But I want to read in Teresa's (or St John's)own words (as nearly as a translation will allow) what she has to say. As for me, I prefer the real deal to some so called sanitized version.