Teresa of Avila: Interior Castle: Fifth Mansions: Chapter One
I have had a great deal of experience with learned men, and have also had experience with half-learned , fearful ones; these latter cost me dearly. At least I think that anyone who refuses to believe that God can do much more or that he has considered and continues to consider it good sometimes to communicate favors to his creatures, has indeed closed the door to receiving them. (Teresa of Avila)
Teresa had experience with skilled spiritual guides. She also had experience with “half-learned , fearful ones“. Her experience with the latter came at great cost. Half-learned spiritual guides may articulate theological orthodoxy with some skill, but their ability to guide others is severely hampered by their limited focus.
- They don’t believe in God’s power.
- They don’t experience God or his spiritual “favors”. Their lack of faith “has closed the door to receiving them.”
- They apply theology without wisdom.
Many years ago, my friend Nick was reading a book. As part of his reading and meditating, God changed his life. He gained freedom from the addictions that controlled him for years. He shared this experience with one of his professors at the Christian college he attended. His professor explained why this book was “bad theology”. Nick abandoned his book and went “safely” back to his addictions and unhappiness. Now Nick teaches others how to be unhappy.
For this post I used a translation of The Interior Castle by Kieran Kavanaugh O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez O.C.D., ICS Publications, Institute of Carmelite Studies: Washington D.C. Kindle Edition.