[Our] Lord sometimes gives the soul feelings of jubilation and a strange prayer it doesn’t understand. (Interior Castle: Sixth Mansions: Chapter Six)
These people aren’t drunk as some of you suspect. They haven’t had time to get drunk—it’s only nine o’clock in the morning. (Acts 2: The Message Bible)
With the Prayer of Jubilation the “joy is so excessive the soul wouldn’t want to enjoy it alone but wants to tell everyone about it so that they might help this soul praise our Lord. All its activity is directed to this praise. Oh, how many festivals and demonstrations the soul would organize, if it could, that all might know its joy!”
Teresa says their jubilant praises “rise from the interior of the soul”. But “to acquire [this prayer] is impossible because it is something very supernatural.” She compares this prayer to “a person who has drunk a great deal” yet they’re still in complete control of their senses. And this “joy makes a person so forgetful of self and of all things that he doesn’t advert to, nor can he speak of anything other than, the praises of God which proceed from his joy.”
While we may not all experience this intense supernatural prayer of jubilation, there’s an underlying spiritual paradox we can all enjoy: Joyful people forget self. These individuals practice self-care, but they avoid the all-consuming, self-focused questions of: What do people think of me? Are they unhappy with me? How do I control others? What will it cost me? What do I get? Why don’t they make me happy? How can I get more attention?
Annie Dillard said, “THE INTERIOR LIFE is often stupid. It’s egoism blinds it and deafens it; its imagination spins out ignorant tales, fascinated. It fancies that the western wind blows on the Self, and leaves fall at the feet of the Self for a reason, and people are watching. A mind risks real ignorance for the sometimes paltry prize of an imagination enriched. The trick of reason is to get the imagination to seize the actual world–if only from time to time. (Annie Dillard: An American Childhood)
We flounder because of our lack of self-care. We’re unhappy because of our preoccupation with self.
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.