How shall I ever be able to tell you of the riches and the treasures and the delights that are to be found in the fifth Mansions? (Teresa of Avila: Fifth Mansions: Chapter One)
The goal of exploring the fifth Mansions of the Interior Castle is a deeper union with Christ. Explaining these Mansions is difficult because so few of us have had the experiences Teresa describes. So she prays, “Send me light from Heaven, my Lord, that I may enlighten these Thy servants”.
Prior to us entering the Fifth Mansions, let me give you a brief overview of the Interior Castle.
Prayer can be separated 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 then divide mystical prayer into two categories:
- Illuminative Prayer: Through illuminative prayer God enlightens 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 Interior Castle and is the focal point of the book.
Please join me in exploring the fifth Mansions in order to “find this hidden treasure” of the Prayer of Union.