Let us suppose that these senses and faculties (the inhabitants, as I have said, of this castle, which is the figure that I have taken to explain my meaning) have gone out of the castle, and, for days and years, have been consorting with strangers, to whom all the good things in the castle are abhorrent. Then, realizing how much they have lost, they come back to it, though they do not actually reenter it, because the habits they have formed are hard to conquer. But they are no longer traitors and they now walk about in the vicinity of the castle. The great King, Who dwells in the Mansion within this castle, perceives their good will, and in His great mercy desires to bring them back to Him. So, like a good Shepherd, with a call so gentle that even they can hardly recognize it, He teaches them to know His voice and not to go away and get lost but to return to their Mansion; and so powerful is this Shepherd’s call that they give up the things outside the castle that had let them astray, and once again enter it. (Teresa of Avila: Fourth Mansions: Chapter Three)
I’ve been to Babylon and I got to confess
I can still hear that voice crying in the wilderness
(Bob Dylan: Someone’s Got a Hold of My Heart)
It may be a couple of years, or even decades, since you were driven from the Interior Castle by religion. You used to roam the Castle freely and interact with the King. But now you find yourself “lost” and governed by habits and people that keep you far from the Castle. Yet, you “can still hear that voice crying in the wilderness”.
The length of time outside the Castle and the distance you’ve wandered can make it more difficult to find your way back home. But you’re always invited to return. But remember, the way back to the Castle is not through religion, but by way of the desert. Listen for the good Shepherd: Through the Prayer of Recollection he will bring you back to the Castle and delight you once again.
For more on spirituality and desert click here.
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