Interior Castle: The Soul's Spiritual Journey to Union with God

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Overview

Teresa of Avila wrote several books during her life that have become spiritual classics. Interior Castle (1577) unveils a profound spiritual vision in which Teresa saw the soul as "a castle made of a single diamond . . . Surrounded by six mansions the soul must traverse on its journey to the center of the castle and union with God." One approaced the seventh mansion in the center, where the King of Glory dwells, by going through the other mansions of Humility, Practice of Prayer, Meditation, Quiet, Illumination, ...
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The Interior Castle

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Overview

Teresa of Avila wrote several books during her life that have become spiritual classics. Interior Castle (1577) unveils a profound spiritual vision in which Teresa saw the soul as "a castle made of a single diamond . . . Surrounded by six mansions the soul must traverse on its journey to the center of the castle and union with God." One approaced the seventh mansion in the center, where the King of Glory dwells, by going through the other mansions of Humility, Practice of Prayer, Meditation, Quiet, Illumination, and Dark Night. In each of the seven mansions readers will experience a deepening desire to know God more intimately by conforming their wills to His will.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780882704647
  • Publisher: Bridge-Logos Foundation
  • Publication date: 1/1/2008
  • Series: Pure Gold Classic
  • Pages: 350
  • Sales rank: 1,466,070
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), a major figure of the Catholic Reformation, was prominent writer and a monastic reformer. Teresa joined the Carmelite order of nuns as a young woman and spent lont hours in a form of meditation that she called the "prayer of quiet" and the deeper "prayer of union." During her life, Teresa wrote several books that have become spiritual classics. Her best-known work is Interior Castle (1577). She is recognized as one of the thirty-three Doctors of the Church, and one of only three female Doctors of the Church, along with St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Therese of Lisieux.
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Table of Contents

Foreword     xv
Introduction     xvii
Biography of Saint Teresa of Avila     1
Biography of St. John of the Cross     11
The Carmelites     15
Prologue     19
The First Mansion
Explores the beauty and dignity of our souls by comparing them to a spiritual castle formed of transparent crystal surrounded by mansions containing many rooms. It tells us how God grants us favor and gives us knowledge and understanding of how prayer is the gate of the spiritual castle     21
Describes the hideous appearance of a soul in grievous sin as revealed by God. This chapter contains important points on self-knowledge and humility etc. Provides an explanation of the mansions     26
The Second Mansion
Teaches the importance of perseverance in order to enter the last mansions, and of the fierce war the devil wages against us. How essential it is to take the right path from the very beginning of our journey. Gives a method of action, that by its power, produces the desired result     37
The Third Mansion
Deals with the souls who have overcome the challenges in the first two mansions. The dangers of looking back on the past life. The characteristics of those in the Third Mansion. Examination of the dry prayer life. Humility. Being lukewarm. Walking in the fear of the Lord. Giving all to God     45
Continues on the subject of dryness in the prayer life and the results of it. How the Lord tests those who are in the mansions     51
The Fourth Mansion
Teaches the difference between sweetness, tenderness, and comfort in prayer. Saint Teresa explains how advantageous it was for her to realize that the imagination and the understanding are not the same thing. This chapter also addresses the problem of wandering thoughts during prayer     61
Explanation by comparison of what divine comforts are. How we should prepare ourselves to receive them, as opposed to seeking to obtain them     69
A continuation on the gifts of prayer to the soul on its journey to God     74
The Fifth Mansion
The union of the soul with God in prayer. How to be sure we are not deceived in this matter     83
Explains the Prayer of Union using a delicate comparison. Speaks of the effects upon the soul. Emphasis on explanations in this chapter require careful attention     90
Describes another kind of union that the soul can receive from God. The importance of love of one's neighbor. Deals also with works, feelings, and how they effect our union with God. Defects that hinder this union. Real and imaginary good qualities     98
Further explanation of prayer. The importance of being on guard, for the devil eagerly desires to turn back souls from the path to God. Spiritual progress     104
The Sixth Mansion
Explains the reason more severe afflictions are suffered when God bestows greater gifts on the soul. Love is kindled by divine gifts. Trials that accompany divine gifts. Some of the afflictions are described and directions on how to bear them for those who have attained this mansion. This chapter is especially directed to those who are suffering from inner trials. Preparation for entering the seventh mansion     111
Teaches several of the ways that our Lord quickens the soul. The effect on the soul. Gifts of an exalted nature. No reason to fear deception here     120
Introduction to Chapter 3 Written in 1921 by Fr. Benedict Zimmerman     123
Describes how God sometimes speaks to the soul. Discusses what signs to look for regarding deception. Resisting false doctrine     128
Explains how God suspends the soul in prayer by a trance, a feeling of ecstasy, or rapture. Saint Teresa believes these to be one and the same. Great courage is required to receive extraordinary gifts from God     138
Describes the flight of the human spirit. The loss of self-control. Obligations following these favors. Humility produced by them. How the Lord comforts such a soul. Mysteries learned     147
The soul longs for death. Saint Teresa bewails her inability to serve God as He deserves. The jubilee of the soul. Fervent praises to God     152
Describes the grief felt because of sins by souls on whom God has bestowed these gifts. How this sorrow is felt. Saint Teresa's grief for her past sins. Reasoning and mental prayer. Souls in every state of prayer should think of the passion of Christ     159
Describes how God communicates with the soul by intellectual visions. Gives advice on this vision and speaks of the effects when the vision is genuine     167
Discusses the way that God communicates with the soul by visions. Explanation of various effects of this communication. False and true visions     172
Deals with supernatural favors. Intellectual visions. God is compared to a palace in which His creatures dwell. Forgiveness. Why God reveals truth     180
Favors increase the soul's desire for God. The dart of love. Spiritual sufferings. Courage needed and given by God     183
The Seventh Mansion
Teaches on the sublime favors God bestows on souls that have entered the seventh mansion. The author shows the difference she believes to exist between Soul and Spirit     191
Describes the difference between Spiritual Union and Spiritual Marriage using some very delicately drawn comparisons     197
Discussion of great fruits produced. The wonderful difference between these effects and those formerly described should be carefully studied and remembered     204
Shows what appears to be the Lord's principal intention in conferring these sublime favors on souls. It also explains how necessary it is for Mary and Martha to work together     211
Epilogue     219
Selected Excerpts from: The Way of Perfection
Exhorts the nuns to keep their Rule and names three things which are important for the spiritual life. Describes the first of these three things, which is love of one's neighbor, and speaks of the harm which can be done by individual friendships      221
Returns to the subject of perfect love     227
Treats of the same subject of spiritual love and gives certain counsels for gaining it     232
Treats of the great benefit of self-detachment, both interior and exterior, from all things created     239
Teaches that detachment from the things aforementioned is insufficient if we are not detached from our own selves and that this virtue and humility go together     241
Teaches that the true lover of God must care little for life and honor     245
Not all souls are fitted for contemplation and how some take long to attain it. True humility will walk happily along the road by which the Lord leads it     250
Addresses souls who cannot reason with the understanding     254
Describes how, by striving always to walk in the love and fear of God, we shall travel safely amid all these temptations     263
Poetry of Saint Teresa     269
Study Guide     275
Glossary     279
Index     287
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 20, 2010

    Interior Castle

    There is no way that anything that St. Teresa of Avila wrote won't be of the highest caliber. The book itself is beautifully done and the painting on the cover, which is one of the most beautiful of the Saint, has no acknowledgment. I would love to know who painted it. But, what a value for this book. I had always wanted to read, and own a copy of Interior Castle, and I have it for a really good price. Thanks Barnes and Noble. Kevin McCombs

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2002

    Be Changed

    This book should be read. It is one of my most favorite devotional classics. Read it slow, take your time. Open up and let it change your life

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2010

    Excellent

    This is a great exposition of the spiritual path for seekers from all walks of life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Inspirational and life-changing

    This is an important classic devotional book in which Saint Teresa of Avila, the doctor of the Church wrote about the inner journey of the soul towards the divine union. Please read this book slowly, meditate on her inspired words, and allow yourself be touched by God's Love and be changed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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