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St. Teresa of Avila
Interior Castle

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WHILE I was beseeching Our Lord to-day that He would speak through me, since I could find nothing to say and had no idea how to begin to carry out the obligation laid upon me by obedience, a thought occurred to me which I will now set down, in order to have some foundation on which to build. I began to think of the soul as if it were a castle made of a single diamond or of very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms,17 just as in Heaven there are many mansions.18 Now if we think carefully over this, sisters, the soul of the righteous man is nothing but a paradise, in which, as God tells us, He takes His delight.19 For what do you think a room will be like which is the delight of a King so mighty, so wise, so pure and so full of all that is good? I can find nothing with which to compare the great beauty of a soul and its great capacity. In fact, however acute our intellects may be, They will no more be able to attain to a comprehension of this than to an understanding of God; for, as He Himself says, He created us in His image and likeness.20 Now if this is so -- and it is -- there is no point in our fatiguing ourselves by attempting to comprehend the beauty of this castle; for, though it is His creature, and there is therefore as much difference between it and God as between creature and Creator, the very fact that His Majesty says it is made in His image means that we can hardly form any conception of the soul's great dignity and beauty.21




17 [Aposentos -- a rather more pretentious word than the English "room": dwellingplace, abode, apartment.]


18 [Moradas: derived from morar, to dwell, and not, therefore, absolute identical in sense with "mansions". The reference, however, is to St. John xiv, 2.]


19 Proverbs viii, 31.


20 Genesis i, 26.


21 Here the Saint erased several words and inserted others, leaving the phrase as it is in the text.





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