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St. Teresa of Avila
Interior Castle

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Some of you might suppose that, if it is such a bad thing to turn back, it would have been better never to have begun, but to have remained outside the castle. I told you, however, at the outset, and the Lord Himself says this, that he who goes into danger shall perish in it,50 and that the door by which we can enter this castle is prayer. It is absurd to think that we can enter Heaven without first entering our own souls -- without getting to know ourselves, and reflecting upon the wretchedness of our nature and what we owe to God, and continually imploring His mercy. The Lord Himself says: "No one will ascend to My Father, but by Me"51 (I am not sure if those are the exact words, but I think they are)52 and "He that sees Me sees My Father."53 Well, if we never look at Him or think of what we owe Him, and of the death which He suffered for our sakes, I do not see how we can get to know Him or do good works in His service. For what can be the value of faith without works, or of works which are not united with the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ? And what but such thoughts can arouse us to love this Lord? May it please His Majesty to grant us to understand how much we cost Him, that the servant is not greater than his Lord,54 that we must needs work if we would enjoy His glory, and that for that reason we must perforce pray, lest we enter continually into temptation.55




50 Ecclesiasticus iii, 27.


51 St. John xiv, 6.


52 P. Gracián crossed through the bracketed words and wrote in the margin: "Both are said by St. John, Chapter xiv." [Actually the words are: "No man cometh. . . ."]


53 St. John xiv, 9.


54 St. Matthew x, 24.


55 St. Matthew xxiv, 41.





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