He leads (the soul) into a state of absorption, in which, without knowing how, it is much better instructed than it could ever be as a result of it’s own efforts . . . .” (Teresa of Avila: Interior Castle: Fourth Mansions)
Mansions 1-3 of the Interior Castle cover the ascetic section of the book. In these Mansions we learn to pray, meditate, and grow spiritually primarily through action we initiate with God (spiritual disciplines). In Mansions 4-7 the Holy Spirit initiates the action bringing illumination to our souls and ultimately spiritual union with Christ.
There are three chapters in the Fourth Mansions:
- In chapter one we learn the difference between prayer we initiate and prayer God initiates. We also learn what to do about those chaotic and distracting thoughts that sabotage our spiritual growth.
- In chapters two and three we discover the Holy Spirit illumines our understanding allowing us to acquire much more insight than can through our own efforts. This comes through what Teresa calls the Prayer of the Quiet and the Prayer of Recollection.
Teresa references Psalm 119.32: I run in the way of your commandments, because you enlarge my understanding. As we explore the fourth Mansions of the Interior Castle may God illumine our hearts and enlarge our understanding.
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