These souls know that nothing would induce them to commit a sin–many of them would not intentionally commit even a venial sin—and they make good use of their lives and their possessions. So they cannot be patient when the door is closed to them and they are unable to enter the presence of the King, Whose vassals they consider themselves, and in fact are. (Teresa of Avila: Third Mansions: Book One)
Look at the saints who have entered the King’s chamber and you will see the difference between them and ourselves. (Teresa of Avila: Third Mansions: Book One)
Those in the third Mansions practice virtue, maintain an orderly life, and avoid sin. This pleases God but does not merit a celebration or divine favors. Teresa says, “[I]t should never enter our heads that we can deserve anything”. An entitlement attitude sidetracks us by distorting our view of rewards and difficulties. We believe we deserve more of the former and less of the latter for simply being responsible. (This impacts more than our spiritual disciplines. Feelings of entitlement drain life from family, work, churches, and schools.)
Does spiritual effort matter? Yes, and this is Teresa’s point: “Look at the saints who have entered the King’s chamber and you will see the difference between them and ourselves.” These saints went beyond on the basics. They left all and followed Him. Then they pursued Him through prayer and meditation (the interior journey). Teresa says “enter within yourselves . . . and get right away from your own trifling good works”. Go deep into the Interior Castle where the “most secret things pass between God and the soul.” This requires grace and properly directed effort.