The next section of the Interior Castle covers the Prayer of Recollection. To better understand the Prayer of Recollection we should see it in the context of the rest of the book.
Let’s begin by separating prayer into two categories:
- Ascetic Prayer: In ascetic prayer we initiate interaction with God through vocal prayer and meditation. This is also called purgative prayer because of the cleansing effect on our lives. The first three Mansions of the Interior Castle cover this material.
- Mystical Prayer: God drives the activity in mystical prayer. Teresa writes about this in Mansions four through seven.
We can then divide mystical prayer into two categories:
- Illuminative Prayer: Through illuminative prayer God illumines our will and understanding. Teresa explains this in the fourth Mansions.
- Unitive Prayer: In Mansions five through seven Teresa writes about unitive prayer. Unitive prayer leads us to a deep and intimate relationship with Christ “where the most secret things pass between God and the soul.” Unitive prayer covers 2/3 of the book and is the focal point of the Interior Castle.
So where are we at? We are studying the fourth Mansions and illuminative prayer. This means we’ve moved from ascetic prayer to mystical prayer. We already learned about the Prayer of Quiet which brings us the “greatest peace and quietness” and aligns our will with His will. Now we discover the Prayer of Recollection and the illumination of our understanding.
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