Oh, Jesus! What confusion the devils bring about in the poor soul, and how distressed it is, not knowing if it ought to proceed farther or return to the room where it was before! (Teresa of Avila: Second Mansions)
In the Second Mansions we are tempted to turn back or leave the castle altogether. The journey is demanding and the Devil confuses us about the value of continuing. Despite our struggle we are still better off than we were in the First Mansions, in part, because our “faculties are more alert”. Our “faculties” (i.e. our mental and physical powers) help us think clearly and see the value of proceeding. Teresa encourages us to draw on the faculties of reason, faith, memory, will, and understanding:
Reason: Reason gives us the ability to assess the limited value of “earthly things” compared to what we are seeking in the Interior Castle.
Faith: Faith instructs us on what we “must do to find satisfaction”. When talking about faith Teresa uses the word “instructs”. Faith is rarely an abstract concept (like I hope God does something). It is usually a specific action step we take because we believe something God revealed to us.
Memory: Our memory reminds us empty pursuits always come to an end. We have seen the “end” when others pursue empty things and experienced this ourselves at different points in life.
Will: God has shown each of us his goodness and love. Through our will we desire to return love to the One who has given us “life and being”.
Understanding: Through understanding we realize we can never find peace and security outside the Interior Castle. A soul should “refrain from visiting one house after another when its own house is full of good things, if it will only enjoy them. How fortunate it is to be able to find all that it needs, as it were, at home, especially when it has a Host Who will put all good things in its possession.”
Our faculties are reliable guides and fortify our determination to reach the center of the castle. I encourage you to listen to your reason, faith, memory, will, and understanding — they will give you great insight. Teresa says, “It is reflections of this kind which vanquish devils.”
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