When we proceed with all this caution, we find stumbling blocks everywhere; for we are afraid of everything, and so dare not to go further, as if we could arrive at these Mansions by letting others make the journey for us! That is not possible, my sisters; so, for the love of the Lord, let us make real effort: let us leave our reason and our fears in His hands and let us forget the weakness of our nature which is apt to cause us so much worry. (Teresa of Avila: Third Mansions: Chapter Two)
Constant calculation slows our spiritual journey. We reason to the point of gridlock or spend our days refining our carefully ordered life. But all this caution gets us nowhere. Exploring the Interior Castle pushes us beyond the boundaries of our abilities and comprehension into the unknown where we must act in faith.
Faith requires humility and courage because our progress may look regressive to our “spiritual friends”. They may criticize or even hold us in contempt. But we must not undermine our spiritual journey by surrendering to the myopic wishes of others. Teresa says, we cannot “arrive at these Mansions by letting others make the journey for us”. Abdicating responsibility for our spiritual journey can always be made to “look good on paper”, but it makes for an impotent life.