The critical question of the Third Mansions is: Will I follow Jesus to freedom or simply fine-tune my “upright and carefully-ordered life”? The “spiritually mature” can struggle making progress because they become unteachable. They model Christian behavior. They instruct others. They know the Bible. They lead the church. And since they do everything “right”, instructional trials perplex them and they deflect advice. Consequently, their spiritual progress stalls.
To avoid stalling, Teresa advises us to:
- Eliminate Constant Calculation: 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.
- Increase Velocity: Once we identify the critical path for our spiritual growth we must press hard in that direction. “Escape velocity” gets us out of the gravitational pull of those things that hinder us. Teresa talks of “this habit of always serving God at a snail’s pace!” We can be “eminently reasonable folk” but nothing serious ever happens when we trudge through life.
- Reduce Distractions: We can live virtuous lives and still cling to wealth or reputation. We risk spiritual distraction anytime we mourn the loss of what we will never use, pursue what we don’t need, and blame others for our reputation.
- Find a Spiritual Director: When I talk about spiritual directors, I’m talking about wise people with a holistic approach to life. Unfortunately, good spiritual directors are hard to find. But with some creativity we can find the guidance we need.
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