“These souls, then, can understand the Lord when He calls them; for, as they gradually get nearer to the place where His Majesty dwells, He becomes a very good Neighbor to them.“ (Teresa of Avila: Second Mansions)
The soul will certainly suffer great trials at this time, especially if the devil sees that its character and habits are such that it is ready to make further progress: all the powers of hell will combine to drive it back. (Teresa of Avila: Second Mansions)
The Second Mansions are about those who have made spiritual progress but have not developed the perseverance to move to the next mansions. This part of our journey is less dangerous than the First Mansions because we are closer to the center of the castle where the King resides. It is more difficult because the Devil wages a “fierce war” against us. Teresa says our “understanding is keener and the faculties are more alert, while the clash of arms and the noise of cannon are so loud that the soul cannot help hearing them.”
While most faith communities effectively support people in the beginning stages of their spiritual journey, they are ineffective at helping them move beyond the Second Mansions. The Devil’s attacks are so intense in the Second Mansions it can leave even the most promising Christians and Christian leaders retreating to the first mansions or the outer courtyard. As Teresa says, all the powers of hell will combine to drive it (the soul) back. But we do not need to retreat. We are now closer to the center of the castle and can hear the King’s voice. Our faculties (reason, memory, will, and understanding) are reliable guides. We can develop perseverance and take up the weapons of the cross to drive the Devil away. We will learn about these things in more detail as we explore the Second Mansions of our Interior Castle.
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