The most noteworthy changes in The Interior Castle are a clear distinction between acquired and infused recollection, further precisions concerning the prayer of quiet, and the description of sensible consolations and infused spiritual delights. On the stage? . When she finally composed herself, after weeping for hours, Teresa the mystic had been born. 31). Saint Teresa of Ávila was born on March 28, 1515, as Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada. Even so, everything seemed normal on the surface: I was teaching, writing a new book, and maintaining all my other professional commitments. Pausing at a statue of Christ known as the “Ecce Homo,” Teresa fell prostrate on the floor, sobbing, as the pain of Jesus being flogged became real to her for the first time. It is a form of recollection which also seems to me supernatural. God Alone Suffices. Prayer of Ecstatic Union: this is the "mystical espousal" or "conforming union.". In her case, and in other cases like that of the great Sufi mystic Rumi, God consumed Teresa and Teresa consumed God, yet they prepared the way for the rest of us to discover a rich feast for the soul. It is truly a work of my soul, as well as of the souls of all the people who gave me “Invisible” “Acts of Power.” This work, and my soul’s journey, could not have begun had it not been for them. There are several reasons for this, and the first one is possibly the fact of the discrepancy of 15 years between her first and the last major work. She does, however, acknowledge her indebtedness to two authors: Francisco de Osuna, the author of The Third Spiritual Alphabet, and Bernardino de Laredo, the author of The Ascent of Mount Sion. She calls it a "sleep of the faculties" because they are totally occupied with God. St. Teresa explains that this stage, in which "the soul begins to recollect itself, borders on the supernatural. The Life, chap. Thirdly, since she was writing from her own experience, it is possible that St. Teresa had passed immediately from discursive meditation to a high degree of infused, mystical prayer. From that moment on, Teresa had numerous mystical experiences, which she called “divine favors,” because one can never tell when God will visit. St. Teresa had previously discussed the prayer of recollection in Chapters 15 and 16 of The Life and in Chapters 28 and 29 of The Way of Perfection. This is a supernatural state and however hard we try, we cannot acquire it by ourselves. The rich, multi-media online course is based on James Finley’s many years of reading, meditating, and leading retreats on … My immediate response was, “Do not let my students know we have never met, Teresa. Few people ever imagine that they might be under a spell. . During her eighteen months with those nuns, whom Teresa found particularly loving and spiritually devoted, she felt called to the monastic life. Yet, like many mystics, Teresa did not begin her life with a burning desire to have a mystical relationship with God, or even to be a nun. Using the symbol of a castle containing seven apartments or suites (las moradas), St. Teresa identifies the first three as the stages of prayer in the ascetical phase of the spiritual life, and the treatment is very brief because she has already discussed the lower degrees of prayer in her previous works. For the next three days, I taught “The Interior Castle” as if I had studied it all my academic life, when in fact I was only vaguely familiar with it. 16). First of all, I will say something (though not much, as I have dealt with it elsewhere) about another kind of prayer, which almost invariably begins before this one. .”, Suddenly, I felt a presence, a force near me. And since St. Teresa treats only briefly of the lower grades of prayer in her definitive work, The Interior Castle, it is necessary to turn to her two earlier works for a fuller description of the ascetical grades of prayer. Later on, she will further refine her terminology, but for the moment we should read her description of this "prayer of quiet.". Teresa explodes the myth about mystics that, once God has called you, your life becomes one of suffering and poverty. 3). The faculties of intellect and memory are still free and may wander, but the soul should pay no attention to the operations of these faculties. ", Copyright © 2003 - 2020 THE ORDER OF CARMELITES - www.ocarm.org, Electoral Chapter of the Monastery of Zaragoza, Spain, Electoral Chapter of the Monastery of Fontiveros, Spain, A Meeting of the International Secretariat for the Carmelite Laity, New Prior Provincial and Councilors of the Betica Province, Assembly of the Federation "Verge, Flor del Carmel", Spain, St. Teresas’Teaching on the Grades of Prayer, As Carmelites We live our life of allegiance to Jesus Christ and to serve Him faithfully with a pure heart and a clear conscience through a commitment to seek the face of the living God (the contemplative dimension of life), through prayer, through fraternity, and through service (.
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