Posted by: liturgicalyear | October 15, 2013

St. Teresa of Avila: The Interior Castle

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church, mystic, and sixteenth century reformer of the Carmelite order.  Much has been written of her life about which you can read here and here.  Today I’d like to look at her most treasured writing, The Interior Castle, St. Teresa’s guide to spiritual perfection and union with God.

Inspired by a mystical vision and written out of obedience, St. Teresa thinks of the soul “as if it were a castle made of a single diamond or of very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven there are many mansions.”  Each room has its purpose and the soul must pass through it in order to attain perfection. The innermost room contains “the King of Glory”. She teaches the reader how to grow in holiness and progress towards union with God as the soul journeys through the rooms.

I must say, I have never read The Interior Castle.  It’s on my list of great spiritual classics to read. Quite honestly, it’s a pretty long list, and I haven’t traversed it too quickly. I don’t know when I’ll get to it. That got me thinking…

There may be many others out there like me, so I thought I’d point you to its publication on the web. As I scanned through the table of contents, I noticed a couple of topics that speak directly to some things I’m experiencing now. Below you will find hyperlinks to each chapter of her book. I encourage you to look through the table of contents and see if anything in particular strikes you. If so, take some time to read it and ponder it asking the Holy Spirit to guide you in its reading and to bring you closer to the King of Glory

St. Teresa of Avila, pray for us!  Anne

From Catholic Treasury   



INTRODUCTION (by  E. Allison Peers)


  1. The beauty and dignity of our souls
  2. The hideousness of a soul in mortal sin


  1. The great importance of perseverance


  1. Insecurity in this life of exile
  2. Aridities in prayer


  1. The difference between sweetness or tenderness in prayer and consolations
  2. Explains by a comparison what is meant by consolations
  3. Prayer of Recollection


  1. Explain how in prayer the soul is united with God
  2. The effects of the Prayer of Union
  3. Another kind of union
  4. Cautions about proceeding cautiously


  1. With greater favors comes greater trials
  2. Several ways in which Our Lord awakens the soul
  3. How God speaks to the soul
  4. When God suspends the soul in prayer by rapture
  5. How God exalts the soul through flights of the spirit
  6. How to know when this prayer is genuine
  7. Keep in mind the Humanity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
  8. About intellectual visions
  9. About imaginary visions
  10. Other favors which God grants to the soul
  11. Desires to enjoy God imperil its life


  1. About the great favors which God bestows here
  2. The difference between spiritual union and spiritual marriage
  3. The striking effects produced by this prayer
  4. Why Our Lord grants such great favors



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