Sixth Mansions: Chapter Four
The Sixth Mansions of the Interior Castle are the “betrothal period” in our relationship with Christ.
- In Chapter One we learned about Interior Trials. I recommend reading The Great Light of the Dark Night.
- In Chapter Two we learned how “Our Lord awakens the soul” and “fills it with fervent desire” for Him. I recommend reading The Ecstasy of St. Teresa.
- In Chapter Three we learned about Hearing God and how to discern God’s locutions (direct messages/personal revelation) from our imagination or the deceptions of the devil. https://teresaofavilaturns500.wordpress.com/category/6th-mansions-chapter-3/.
We now move to Chapter Four where Teresa begins to discuss the “raptures” of the soul. Teresa says these raptures “carry the soul out of its senses”. Teresa also refers to these raptures as ecstasies or trances.
But what do “raptures” or “ecstasies” have to do with spiritual progress?
By the time we reach the Sixth Mansions we most likely desire to follow Christ into a deeper relationship with Him, but lack the courage to do so. Teresa says, “I must warn you that there is more need of courage than you imagine, because our nature is very timid and lowly for so great an undertaking”. Through these “raptures” we receive a vision or experience of God that we cannot understand by our five senses. If, “while still in possession of its senses, the soul saw that it was so near to such great majesty, it might perhaps be unable to remain alive”. Through these raptures (God carrying our soul out of its senses) we gain the courage to follow Christ into a deeper relationship.
Teresa once again reminds us of authenticity. She says she is referring to “genuine raptures” not the kind that people create out of their own weakness. As we continue this chapter, Teresa will enumerate different types of raptures.
A Note on Courage and Following Christ
“Following” Christ is more than saying a prayer, going to church, or living a moral life. It involves a “separation” from our previous life. We can find an example of this in Luke 9.57-62: Jesus confronts “would-be” disciples with the cost of following Him.
While following Christ is a “rejection” of our previous life, He also renews our relationships to people and things and gives them their proper place in His kingdom and in our lives. He makes us better spouses, parents, children, friends, employees, etc. We replace the lordship of self, the lordship of people’s opinions, and the lordship of material things with the Lordship of Christ. But sometimes the “renewed life” can include rejection from those closest to us. Sometimes this rejection even comes from the “spiritual” people in our lives — those we believed would have been most supportive of our spiritual progress. This is because they want you to be religious, live a moral life, and come to church. But they don’t want you to “follow Christ”. That is a threat to their “lordship” and control.
To embrace a renewed life and face possible rejection requires great courage. Through these raptures of the soul, God gives us great courage to “follow Him” while also empowering us to choose the life we want to live.