“I began to think of the soul as a castle made of a single diamond […] in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven there are many mansions.”
St. Teresa of Jesus, also known as St. Teresa of Avila, is one of the most popular saints of the Church. Her teaching on prayer has continued to inspire and guide Christians in their spiritual journeys for over four hundred years.
In The Interior Castle St. Teresa describes the road by which she was led, well aware that the others may be led in a different way. In the heavenly Father’s house, there are many mansions; not only seven, and many paths lead to them. What gives the work such high value is, that it is the result of a most searching inquiry into the various phases whereby a soul is gradually transformed into the likeness of God Himself. Here St. Teresa is at her best. She takes nothing for granted, her own personal experiences are admitted only after having been fully investigated and found to be consistent one with the other, and conformable to the teaching of the Church and the words of Holy Scripture.
The Interior Castle presents a remarkable description of the entire spiritual life from the first release from mortal sin into Sanctifying Grace through the Mystical Marriage of the soul with Christ as a journey through what she called The Interior Castle.
She sees the soul as a magnificent castle full of spacious and well-lit rooms or mansions each of which leads deeper into the heart of the castle to the seat of the King. However, St. Teresa laments that most people give all their attention to the outer wall of the castle the body ignoring the beauty of the soul within.
St. Teresa gives practical advice regarding the early struggles and the temptations to turn back which beset the beginner. She describes each of the seven mansions and urges us forward to love and serve the Divine Majesty, imparting her absolute conviction that progress toward God through prayer is worth vastly more than all the treasures of this earth.