For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are weak in him, but . . . we will live with him by the power of God. (2 Corinthians 13.4)
“In Seventh Mansions (Spiritual Marriage), we can still experience severe trials and suffering — yet our souls remain in perfect peace. Teresa says, “That there are trials and sufferings and that at the same time the soul is in peace is a difficult thing to explain. We’re also protected from humans or demons that would lure us from the center of the Interior Castle. And we cannot be sidetracked by distractions and lose our way. “The King is in his palace and there are many wars in his kingdom and many painful things going on, but not on that account does he fail to be at his post [the center of the castle/soul]. So here, even though in those other dwelling places there is much tumult and there are many poisonous creatures and the noise is heard, no one [human or demon] enters that center dwelling place and makes the soul leave. Nor do the things [distractions] the soul hears make it leave; even though they cause it some pain, the suffering is not such as to disturb it and take away its peace.”
Our Spiritual Marriage with Christ also creates a certain type of suffering. We can now see with fresh eyes the possibilities and responsibilities available through our intimate relationship with Christ. But we have little strength to accomplish these new desires. Teresa says this is the “habitual pain and confusion at seeing the little it [the soul] can do and the great deal to which it is obliged. This pain is no small cross but a very great penance.” The pain of not being able to fulfill these spiritual obligations and desires actually become its own penance: “The true penance comes when God takes away the soul’s health and strength for doing penance.”
We must then draw from a deeper source of vitality. Peace and power come directly from being one spirit with Christ and flows from the center of our souls. “All these things must come to the soul from its roots, from where it is planted. The tree that is beside the running water is fresher and gives more fruit. What is there, then, to marvel at in the desires this soul has, since its true spirit has become one with the heavenly water we mentioned?”
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.