The Interior Castle Study Edition

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ICS Publications, 2010 - Religion - 469 pages
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The Interior Castle is more than a book. It is a
powerful image of the mystery of the human person.
It is the soul of St. Teresa of Avila, who
journeys through the castle from one dwelling
place to another mapping out a feminine, yet
warlike, program for the Christian spiritual life.
It is also the last book Teresa wrote: in 1577,
five years before she died, she recorded, to the
best of her knowledge, the experiences for which
she praised God.

Reading Teresa herself is indispensable. The
authors of this study edition designed it as a
springboard to reading and understanding Teresa’s
text. They present a chapter of Teresa’s book,
followed by a review of the progress of her
thought and the principal ideas in each chapter.
Next they give interpretive notes: doctrinal,
historical, and sociological. Then because Teresa
wanted her writings to be in harmony with sacred
Scripture, they point out scriptural texts that
support her ideas.

Finally, the authors show how teachings of the
present-day church demonstrate both how Teresa's
basic notions were correct and how we can apply
her principles to our times.

"Saint Teresa, began to write the Interior
Castle on June 2, 1577, Trinity Sunday, and
completed it on the eve of St. Andrew, November
29, of the same year. But there was a long
interruption of five months, so that the actual
time spent in the composition of this work was
reduced to about four weeks-a fortnight for the
first, and another fortnight for the second half
of the book. The rapidity with which it was written
is easily explained by the fact that the Saint had
conceived its plan some time previously. On
January 17, 1577, she had written to her brother,
Don Lorenzo de Cepeda, at Avila: 'I have asked the
bishop-Don Alvaro Mendoza-for my book (the Life)
because I shall perhaps complete it by adding those
new favours our Lord has lately granted me. With
these one may even compose a new work of considerable
size, provided God grants me the grace of explaining
myself." -From the Introduction.

 

 

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Contents

Preface to the Study Edition of the Interior Castle
1
Prologue
27
The Beauty and Dignity Of Our Souls
40
Sin and Darkness
57
Perseverance on the Right Road
74
Perseverance As Useless Servant
89
A Well Ordered Life Until the Soul Is Tried
103
Interpretive Notes and Questions
104
There Are Many Kinds Of Locutions
255
God Concludes The Betrothal When
272
Flight of the Spirit
289
A Delightful Torment and Feelings of Jubilation
302
Suffering Over Ones Sins and Keeping Christ Present
318
Chapter 8
331
Chapter 9
346
Chapter 10
362

Interpretive Notes and Questions
118
Interpretive Notes and Questions
133
Passive Recollection the Prayer of Quiet and A Warning
149
The Faculties are Asleep to Everything But God
167
Let This Silkworm Die In Its Cocoon
182
True Union Can Be Reached If We Keep
196
They Meet Together So As To Become More
210
The Sixth Dwelling Places
217
Chapter 2
233
These Favors Leave The Little Butterfly With Greater Pain378
378
That Lie In Our Souls
392
Marriage Where The Butterfly Dies
409
The Wonderful Effects of This Prayer
424
Our Lords Purpose in Granting Favors
440
Interpretive Notes and Questions
453
Biblical Index
467
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Teresa Sanchez Cepeda Davila y Ahumada was
born at Avila, Old Castile, 28 March, 1515;
died at Alba de Tormes, 4 Oct., 1582.

She was the third child of Don Alonso
Sanchez de Cepeda by his second wife,
Doña Beatriz Davila y Ahumada, who died
when the saint was in her fourteenth year,
Teresa was brought up by her saintly father,
a lover of serious books, and a tender and
pious mother. After her death and the
marriage of her eldest sister, Teresa was
sent for her education to the Augustinian
nuns at Avila, but owing to illness she
left at the end of eighteen months, and
for some years remained with her father
and occasionally with other relatives,
notably an uncle who made her acquainted
with the Letters of St. Jerome, which
determined her to adopt the religious life,
not so much through any attraction towards
it, as through a desire of choosing the
safest course. Unable to obtain her
father's consent she left his house
unknown to him on Nov., 1535, to enter
the Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation
at Avila, which then counted 140 nuns.
The wrench from her family caused her
a pain which she ever afterwards compared
to that of death. However, her father
at once yielded and Teresa took the habit.
After her profession in the following year
she became very seriously ill, and
underwent a prolonged cure and such
unskillful medical treatment that she was
reduced to a most pitiful state, and even
after partial recovery through the
intercession of St. Joseph, her health
remained permanently impaired. During these
years of suffering she began the practice
of mental prayer, but fearing that her
conversations with some world-minded
relatives, frequent visitors at the
convent, rendered her unworthy of the
graces God bestowed on her in prayer,
discontinued it, until she came under
the influence, first of the Dominicans,
and afterwards of the Jesuits. Meanwhile
God had begun to visit her with
"intellectual visions and locutions",
that is manifestations in which the
exterior senses were in no way affected,
the things seen and the words heard being
directly impressed upon her mind, and
giving her wonderful strength in trials,
reprimanding her for unfaithfulness, and
consoling her in trouble. Unable to
reconcile such graces with her
shortcomings, which her delicate
conscience represented as grievous faults,
she had recourse not only to the most
spiritual confessors she could find, but
also to some saintly laymen, who, never
suspecting that the account she gave them
of her sins was greatly exaggerated,
believed these manifestations to be the
work of the evil spirit. The more she
endeavored to resist them the more
powerfully did God work in her soul. The
whole city of Avila was troubled by the
reports of the visions of this nun. It was
reserved to St. Francis Borgia and St.
Peter of Alcantara, and afterwards to a
number of Dominicans (particularly Pedro
Ibañez and Domingo Bañez), Jesuits, and
other religious and secular priests, to
discern the work of God and to guide her
on a safe road.

The account of her spiritual life
contained in the "Life written by herself"
(completed in 1565, an earlier version
being lost), in the "Relations", and in
the "Interior Castle", forms one of the
most remarkable spiritual biographies
with which only the "Confessions of St.
Augustine" can bear comparison. To this
period belong also such extraordinary
manifestations as the piercing or
transverberation of her heart, the
spiritual espousals, and the mystical
marriage. A vision of the place destined
for her in hell in case she should have
been unfaithful to grace, determined her
to seek a more perfect life. After many
troubles and much opposition St. Teresa
founded the convent of Discalced
Carmelite Nuns of the Primitive Rule of
St. Joseph at Avila (24 Aug., 1562), and
after six months obtained permission to
take up her residence there. Four years
later she received the visit of the
General of the Carmelites, John-Baptist
Rubeo (Rossi), who not only approved of
what she had done but granted leave for
the foundation of other convents of
friars as well as nuns. In rapid
succession she established her nuns at
Medina del Campo (1567), Malagon and
Valladolid (1568), Toledo and Pastrana
(1569), Salamanca (1570), Alba de Tormes
(1571), Segovia (1574), Veas and Seville
(1575), and Caravaca (1576). In the
"Book of Foundations" she tells the story
of these convents, nearly all of which
were established in spite of violent
opposition but with manifest assistance
from above. Everywhere she found souls
generous enough to embrace the
austerities of the primitive rule of
Carmel. Having made the acquaintance of
Antonio de Heredia, prior of Medina, and
St. John of the Cross, she established
her reform among the friars (28 Nov.,
1568), the first convents being those
of Duruelo (1568), Pastrana (1569),
Mancera, and Alcalá de Henares (1570).

A new epoch began with the entrance
into religion of Jerome Gratian,
inasmuch as this remarkable man was
almost immediately entrusted by the
nuncio with the authority of visitor
Apostolic of the Carmelite friars and
nuns of the old observance in Andalusia,
and as such considered himself entitled
to overrule the various restrictions
insisted upon by the general and the
general chapter. On the death of the
nuncio and the arrival of his successor
a fearful storm burst over St. Teresa
and her work, lasting four years and
threatening to annihilate the nascent
reform. The incidents of this persecution
are best described in her letters. The
storm at length passed, and the province
of Discalced Carmelites, with the support
of Philip II, was approved and canonically
established on 22 June, 1580. St. Teresa,
old and broken in health, made further
foundations at Villanuava de la Jara and
Palencia (1580), Soria (1581), Granada
(through her assistant the Venerable Anne
of Jesus), and at Burgos (1582). She left
this latter place at the end of July,
and, stopping at Palencia, Valladolid,
and Medina del Campo, reached Alba de
Torres in September, suffering intensely.
Soon she took to her bed and passed away
on 4 Oct., 1582, the following day, owing
to the reform of the calendar, being
reckoned as 15 October. After some years
her body was transferred to Avila, but
later on reconveyed to Alba, where it is
still preserved incorrupt. Her heart, too,
showing the marks of the Transverberation,
is exposed there to the veneration of the
faithful. She was beatified in 1614, and
canonized in 1622 by Gregory XV, the
feast being fixed on 15 October.

St. Teresa's position among writers on
mystical theology is unique. In all her
writings on this subject she deals with
her personal experiences, which a deep
insight and analytical gifts enabled
her to explain clearly. The Thomistic
substratum may be traced to the
influence of her confessors and
directors, many of whom belonged to
the Dominican Order. She herself had
no pretension to found a school in the
accepted sense of the term, and there
is no vestige in her writings of any
influence of the Areopagite, the
Patristic, or the Scholastic Mystical
schools, as represented among others,
by the German Dominican Mystics. She is i
ntensely personal, her system going
exactly as far as her experiences, but
not a step further.
 

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