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Saint Teresa and Her Book “Inner Castle” Essay (Book Review)

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Updated: Aug 29th, 2020

Introduction

Saint Teresa was a mystic Christian and Carmelite nun. Saint Teresa composed a book known as an Interior Castle, which was a spiritual guide on how people should seek unification with God. Saint Teresa came from Avila and was born in 1515 and died in 1582. Saint Teresa talked about a crystal globe that contained seven mansions, with Almighty God residing in the inner mansion. Saint Teresa inferred this revelation as an allegory for the relation of the human soul with the divine being (God).

Every mansion signified each room on a lane toward the relationship (spiritual marriage) with the divine being (God). The human being had to involve in meditation and prayer from the initial room. Saint Teresa examined the conflict, which Satan put in different rooms. The devil endeavored to hinder believers to unite with God. Saint Teresa provided counseling and encouragement for spiritual progress. Apart from spiritual nourishment, the Interior Castle provided literary value as a section of Spanish renaissance text.

Background Information about Saint Teresa

Saint Teresa resided at Avila province in Spain. Saint Teresa’s grandmother, Juan de Toledo, became a Christian convert from the Jewish community. The Spanish Inquisition prosecuted Juan de Toledo for abandoning the Jewish faith. Teresa’s father, Sanche de Cepeda, purchased a knighthood and victoriously incorporated it into a Christian community. Beatriz, Teresa’s mother wanted to raise her child as a devoted Christian believer. Teresa became interested to live like devoted earlier saints.

Eventually, Teresa and Rodrigo (her brother) abandoned their family to seek martyrdom. Teresa became sick in the Cloister where she lived with the Moors who practiced martyrdom. Teresa experienced religious ecstasy.

Teresa used many inspirational books to nourish her spiritual conscience. Such devotional books enabled Teresa to experience mystical ascetic. The religious ecstasy marked the best encounter experience with God. Teresa witnessed the ascetic and enriched gift of tears in the final stage. Teresa comprehended the horror of sin that separated human relationship with God. Teresa realized the significance of trusting God.

In 1556, many friends claimed that Teresa’s new insight was not divine, but a diabolical. However, Teresa’s confessor (Father Borgia Francis) declared that Teresa experienced divine inspiration. Teresa felt tortures in her body. In 1559, Teresa realized that Christ invisibly mystified himself in her body. These visions remained in Teresa’s body for two years that caused bodily pain. Such an experience became an inspiration of Teresa’s life. The inspiration encouraged Teresa to emulate Jesus’ suffering.

Summary and Themes of the Book

Saint Teresa wrote the book, the Interior Castle, in 1577. Teresa composed the book as a guide for spiritual advancement through prayers and service. Teresa became motivated by her revelation of the soul, which looked like a crystal castle that possessed seven mansions. Teresa interpreted the seven mansions as the progress of faith passing through seven phases, which ended in the final stage of integrating with God. Teresa thought of an interior perspective since she became influenced by the walled town such as Avila, and Carmelite monastery. During the twenty-first century, interior life became significant in Spanish thinking.

Though, Teresa feared writing her experience of internal prayer she began writing the work slowly. Teresa eventually finished writing the books during the st. Andrews Day in 1577. The book got printed in 1586 by Fray de Leon Luis, an Augustinian Monk. Teresa composed the book, Interior Castle, to inspire people who intended to comprehend prayer as a spiritual union with the divine being. Teresa adopted meditation, which enabled her to illuminate the Catholic tradition of sacraments, humility, and grace.

Though Teresa got discouraged to write the book, Father Diego Fray convinced and supported her to compose the book. The text entailed the essential tenets of developing faith. The book got split into seven mansions known as dwelling regions. Every level examined a stage to get nearer to God. Teresa perceived that the initial mansions marked the life of devotion, meditation, and prayers. The initial three mansions marked places of active prayers.

The initial mansions featured the virtue of grace in the soul. However, the human soul became bounded by evil deeds. The soul began searching the grace of God through humbleness to attain excellence. The second mansions marked a place where the soul searched nourishment of God’s thoughts. The second mansions became a place meant to practice praying. The soul had to embrace humility and practice of regular prayers. The third mansions marked a place of exemplary life featured by God’s grace. The soul focused to defeat venial and mortal sin by embracing compassion and love of God. The fourth, fifth, sixth and seven mansions became characterized by mystical prayers. The fourth mansion marked the region where the soul reenergized its capability as God enhanced the function of the soul. The fifth mansions possessed incipient unification where the soul reexamined itself to get God’s gifts. The sixth mansions prepared the soul to get support from God. The seven mansions marked a region where the soul attained clarity in a spiritual relationship with God and prayer.

Teresa identified this interior reality as inseparable life from her devotion to Jesus Christ. Teresa claimed that the highest mansions could only be achieved, through the commitment of the soul, to unite with God. This could be attained by embracing humility and love, and the grace of church sacraments. Through meditation and prayer, the soul would be in a position, to get God’s blessing of contemplation. Teresa viewed that human beings could not manage to acquire God’s gifts if the Divine Will had declined to support them. The spiritual experience of Teresa immensely inspired many authors in the present moments, essentially from Teresa’s theological viewpoint.

The Significance of the Book

The Interior castle became the most useful text in the existence of mystical theology. The book represented the mature and inspiring works of Saint Teresa. The book revealed a deep blossoming experience in directing souls to gain spiritual excellence. The book contained enriched mystical experience and ascetic prosperity of suffering, humility, self-knowledge, and detachment. The manner on how souls got nourished with grace and virtues revealed significant experience to modern individuals.

Saint Teresa revealed how the human soul composed of several rooms (mansions) just like Heaven composed of several mansions. God became the Interior Castle. The human soul had to pass, through several rooms (mansions), to arrive into the interior chamber where God resided. The human soul had to pass through continued difficulties and purgation before arriving at the innermost castle that held the presence of God.

Teresa became a teacher who used his talent to support people toward the journey of spiritual excellence. Interior life served a significant role in human life, and no other life superseded it. However, few individuals had experienced interior life. Teresa, therefore, showed a positive reputation as she dedicated her knowledge to guided people to know spiritual and interior life.

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IvyPanda. "Saint Teresa and Her Book "Inner Castle"." August 29, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/saint-teresa-and-her-book-inner-castle/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Saint Teresa and Her Book "Inner Castle"." August 29, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/saint-teresa-and-her-book-inner-castle/.

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