Interior Castle – Sixth Mansions – Chapter 3
First Sign a Direct Message Comes From God
In our last post, we learned that direct messages from God will align with the scriptures. Teresa now provides us several signs to ensure these “locutions” are actually from God: “The first and truest is the sense of power and authority that they bear with them, both in themselves and in the actions that follow them.”
Teresa gives examples of this power and authority:
1. In her first example, “A soul is experiencing all the interior disturbances and tribulations . . . and all the aridity and darkness of the understanding”. Then “A single word of this kind–just a ‘Be not troubled’–is sufficient to calm it.” Somehow “all its trouble is lifted”. Teresa says, if “all the learned [advisors] in the world, were to combine to give reasons for not being troubled, they could not relieve [the soul] from its distress, however hard they might strive to do so.” God through His power and authority silences these disturbances and replaces them with peace.
2. A person is distressed because a spiritual guide and/or others have told them they have “a spirit sent by the devil”. Fear fills this person because they want to please God, but their spiritual guides have assigned their spiritual experiences to the work of the devil. Then, with a “single word . . . ‘It is I, fear not,’ takes all its fear from [the soul], and it is most marvelously comforted”. God through His power and authority silences the fear and reveals Himself.
3. It could also be some stressful life situation or business problem. We have no idea how it will turn out. The soul is then “given to understand . . . it will all turn out well; and it acquires a new confidence and is no longer troubled.” The present circumstances may not have changed, but the soul knows a resolution is forthcoming. God through His power and authority silences the inner turmoil and replaces it with confidence.
The locutions from God align with scripture and carry great power and authority. Our tribulation becomes peace, our fear becomes assurance, and our turmoil becomes confidence.
Interior Castle commentator, Dennis Billy, summarizes Teresa’s description of these locutions as “another way that God speaks to someone in the state of spiritual betrothal. It is not uncommon for such a person to receive direct messages from God, experienced through one’s ears, imagination, or spirit (intellect).”: Dennis Billy C.Ss.R.: Interior Castle. Published by Ave Maria Press, Inc. Notre Dame, IN.
“Locution”: I used the term “direct message”. Another common term is “private revelation”.
For additional background I encourage you to read my recent post: Dallas Willard and Teresa of Avila.