Interior Castle: Seventh Mansions: Chapter One
On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. (John 14.20)
In the First Mansions of the Interior Castle Teresa said, “I don’t find anything comparable to the magnificent beauty of a soul and its marvelous capacity.” She further says, “His Majesty in saying that the soul is made in his own image makes it almost impossible for us to understand the sublime dignity and beauty of the Soul.” And, our soul is a “paradise where the Lord says he finds his delight.” To summarize:
The soul is:
– Created in His Image.
– The Shekinah of God (indwelling).
– A Paradise for God’s Delight.
The soul possesses:
– Magnificent Beauty.
– Marvelous Capacity.
– Sublime Dignity.
These perspectives of our soul provide us the metaphor of the Interior Castle. It also shapes how we view others: With dignity, with equality, with awe. These ideas naturally flow into appropriate boundaries, expressions of love, humility, and respect.
As we move to the Seventh Mansions of the Interior Castle, Teresa reintroduces the importance of our souls and the indwelling Christ. She emphasizes the interior journey of prayer in which God reveals himself to us and we discover the “deep secrets that lie” within our soul. Teresa says, “Each one of us has a soul, but since we do not prize souls as is deserved by creatures made in the image of God, we do not understand the deep secrets that lie in them.”
Through a deeper understanding of our souls we learn to praise God and love our neighbors. “Thus the more we know about his communication to creatures, the more we will praise his grandeur and make the effort to have esteem for souls in which the Lord delights so much.”
Created in God’s image, Christ’s indwelling, and the beauty of our souls elucidates our understanding of God, self, others, and prayer. I encourage you to reflect on the beauty and dignity of our souls.
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.