Teresa, The Interior Castle & Our Contemplative Prayer (Part 1)

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Part of "St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross and Our Vocation to Contemplative Prayer"

2. Teresa, The Interior Castle & Our Contemplative Prayer (Part 1)

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st teresa of avila this giant she is doctor of the universal church and up proclaimed such by pope paul six who spoke of her wonderful profundity
i'm just within the march and we might soon have another carmelite woman doctor of the church a strong rumours are that tourists of this you teresa's little daughters would to speak would be proclaimed doctor and the universal church leader this summer in august and she certainly follows in this way i
it's wonderful that we do have these women teachers and teachers for this most profound dimension of our christian lives that is our contemplative union with god
up several of you in briefly introducing your own journeys mentioned your friendship with theresa how teresa sell out speaks to you simply for her warm humanity and i could get to delightful characteristic of her a pony car the great expert on mistresses
and east and west he's written a delightful introduction to this or paulist press edition of the castle he writes of her perhaps of the most striking features was her thoroughness her holiness her holiness brought to such close union with god as a
person can have in this world and such union really divinity to be now this is something for him to say who knows the whole range of up eastern mystics and no one got closer to god and she that's his claim all the same she remained a fully human personality
the with a sense for all little human business under even with a very exquisite sense of humor is often comes up in her writings she doesn't like false piety and devotion and the kind of a nervous of i'm better than you are kind of thing her union with god
did not separate her from her fellow men and women and she remained throughout a woman with all the complexity of a feminine soul so i think that's why she very much draws her as today simply this warm are really a delightful human
pretty that whole feminine side is very interesting you may know there's all kinds of studies being done honor the very latest america as a review of a book to me so badly and the politics of sanctity by gillian al-quran of cornell university to very complicated argument but will seal the more
it in the context of her time the oxford dictionary of the christian church that kind of authoritative reference book that we recommend everyone simply says where she was the first to give a scientific description of the entire life of prayer from meditate
ocean to mystical marriage will try to see this but a whole area that so mysterious big she was able to articulate it and give it a structure of well i've never found at least for my own truly surpassed i just find it very helpful without artificially constricting and ca
defining moments because she never claims that this is a photograph of what's happening or something but still it's just extremely helpful for also encouraging us to journey onward
ah we know of course you did right just the interior castle she wrote all kinds of other things there's a wonderful to volume collection of are collected works with the cabinet on
course again as we were mentioned just before if you could read spanish that's the way to go all kinds of studies honor also critics she has her critics also in the carmelite family a roof borough so very insightful feminist she thinks there's things about trees that are very young questionable
i see that also so she's not to be given that well that she by the demonise she's not to be idolized credit the what's your historical context she just not a floating above time but very much a woman of her time the only thing is i think one can argue to amazing parallels
between her time in our time but she lived fifteen fifteen the fifteen eighty two extremely glorious age for spain are extremely tumultuous age with very dark aspects also i had some ways it might parallel the time of our great
wait to american empire but it was the golden age of spades empire are extending into central america south america florida the west indies africa india salon the philippines is and glorious up with this mind of when the whole world is ours and it it
expands and directions we didn't even imagine a few decades ago even so this amazing thing of the new frontier kind of thing
it's amazing what she does with that she finds his astonishing spaciousness within she's a we don't have to go running off to the philippines and south american cetera up it's a beast is immense and vast the human heart
a a little dark side of the time was the inquisition and specifically the spanish inquisition which was among the ferocious with our introductions yesterday i was a little frayed we were giving the a message that you have to become a roman catholic by the end of the conferences
she struggled with this side of her church up some of her favorite writings in a contemplative prayer were condemned by the inquisitions was a big blow for she was under attack and accusation as was john of the cross and according to this book she had to play it harry carefully
and if you read between the lines which is basically regularly tried to do is defend herself so that she won't end up in jail or her book supper and or anything like that
ah it was the time of the expulsion of the jews and fourteen ninety two the year the discovery of america tragic where they were just driven out of spain or if they wouldn't convert and of course conversions under pressure was this even makes sense
there were the statutes of purity of blood that these former juice would become catholic since their full catholicity was suspect he couldn't really go into the religious orders well teresa who party was aware that she had jewish blood in her she just said all this aside for the recording the light
order she didn't explicitly right about her being of jewish background of she was a prudent gal she wasn't looking for a battles who needed not to be fought in that moment though she can be criticized for this by others but she did what she could in that context to not follow
oh this heavy anti semitism it was flourishing even tragically within the religious orders
there was a tremendous fear also of course heretics have any time this was the time when the whole monolithic catholic growth fell to pieces a chap back in germany called martin luther was doing use the so up when she was born in fifteen fifty it was one catholic church
and when she died ah off it was just a quite a dynamic situation that to say in all of europe and up so that impacted
and then of course with the backlash of the so-called counterrevolution of have counter reformation and with trent etc
now what this latest book traces is what is the implication of all this personal for mystics it was a harried much suspicion of mystics that they were caught up in their own trip and they were cut off from the roman authorities the roman hire they thought they could do whatever they wanted because they were immediately illumined by the holy spirit so wrong was
very up concerned about this and in fact there were crazy mistakes out out there there's not about them have one of the scholars just mentioned one a visionary back to elena de la cruz was a poor clare who had this wonderful reputation for great holiness she was into severe fast and long vigils shh
she had the stigmata she had the marks clearly and her body that she was confirmed a price will in fact was all kinds of secret stuff in her life of packs with the devil cetera and she fooled bishops and kings etc and then it all came out she said she had no more need of food
except the holy eucharist in she was sneaking food on the side etc so this kind of thing caused great terror of these kind of people and also a legitimate terror the only thing this book explores his was a little overtime and where women too much the target of
the counter reformation just re-establishing hierarchy and especially a male hierarchy and women should stay in their convents and be nice and does not get too involved in evening and maybe not even in mysticism and so she has to go one very carefully with all of this
what about our own time again if you think of the american empire know it's it's an economic empire but actually be rectified with flies without fear and soupy parts of the world than done since reaching a little article about vietnam we reap one their we've got mcdonalds all over and economic economical
they've just capitulated recorded this one book or the marxist revolution of vietnamese no more they've just capitulated to the western free market and up well so i think we have the sense of boy were everywhere and that course there's the whole space probes and and up indeed the
the new frontier etc it is a time that rome is concerned about deviations and there are warnings that there are condemnations and excommunications in our time also specifically we regarding the religious dimension and i don't know if you read a recent comment of cardinal ratzinger about buddhism and tough
concern of mother angelica about centering prayer and all of them so up were in something not entirely different it can be argued
but anyway i think one of the dcc can be argued is sometimes the most confused and the most dark ages also can be times of real spiritual interiority and flourishing another case in point is the famous fourteenth century it was just a disaster of pope's
soon anti pope's and the church split and the plague and thirty year war and everything else that's the time the english mystics and up and card and a great flourishing and mississippi so sometimes it's precisely these are dramatic arrows that
invite deeper interiority just quickly through her life of fifteen fifteen born of a father comfortably well off not wealthy wealthy but quite well off and up seven sons and two daughters and two sons and daughter by a first wife and so was a good catch
click family unfortunately the of mother dies with trees is just thirty this is a shock and the nervous father pumps are in an augustinian convent for her education and then at the tender age of twenty one then she goes into the of carmelite this is the
among the regular carmelite she immediately starts having health problems tremendous health problems and modern scholars we're fascinated by this to would extended his psychosomatic etc she had a serious breakdown and health just two years after being in the convent and went out to kind of a leave of app
since to her
i want to see sister in law
married half sister and up so she stayed there a while but she had a attack of cattle fc she was partly paralyzed she goes back into the convent but kind of she describes her early years is lukewarm confuse kind of thrashing around it was not until she was forty years old
old but she had what she said a definite second conversion of commitment all the way to the lord so here she is all these years in the convent as a younger sister she's kind of anguish and exploring and not healthy at all and up so she's one of those so witnesses for those of us are getting a little up in each had to
things can begin at forty
she s a one confessor who says she's just diabolically inspired and she's just better give up all these of prayers and quiet and also the lord speaks to her and all that stuff she talks to jesuit to very much reassure and they kind of save sanity and as she meets
a saint peter of alcantara and duck he wants to reform the franciscans and so the jesuits in the franciscans backer the dominican serve a more critical or swept her death they really attacker
she wants to reform the carmelites make them more contemplative she has words from the pulp that that's okay and of she moves forward with it she meets this a extremely important friends who jumped across who he's thinking about becoming a
a carthusian but he says all right if we do this quick as will see this afternoon i'll join him so he becomes her personal confessor and director but all sorter spiritual child and another way that friendship or again is a very powerful are witness to this animals aren't my thing at the age of
sixty two she finishes his classic of the interior castle so again she's a witness to life begins after sixty alzheimer's up she was ordered to write it by her confessor she said i do have an idea what am i going to write and as will see suddenly this image came to earth
interior castle and it just all came together in them in a moment and then it became a kind of enjoy for her she was out there trek and all up and down founding these cargo some fourteen of them are making friends with a local aristocracy getting money from them and land from them and setting up the convincing them moving on
and fighting with archbishops and bishops that didn't want them in their diocese this is one of text from her book the foundation's there was one archbishop that resisted are all the way she wrote all we can do is wait till the archbishop gives us license out of sheer exasperated
after a so she kept pushing and kept pushing and find these at all right but i must say i built a thing and he goes for their consecration and he is so moved by it and he weeps and she writes as well he might
have was trying to
then she went to one priests for confession he said i won't even hear your confession it's just teenage scruples you don't have any really serious since it she says don't be miserly with what is not yours so she didn't mind fighting with that clergy and archbishops draw the reds
she dies at the age of sixty seven
uttering a humble and contrite heart o lord you will not despise she sucked canonized only forty years later despite all this opposition from the dominican to later were to become her greatest champions and then declared a doctor of the universal church in nineteen seventy
so when we're doing kind of a rush job i'm just the context some of the you know this very well but some may be not just to situate this a bit
who is want to know what she been reading well she was unable to read a thoroughly and feel at peace with lots of these on sixteenth and fifteenth century classics and mysticism because again the up the inquisition was putting them on the index but she hugged scripture and she used the scripture a grey
great deal sometimes in a funny way she says somewhere it's written scripture i don't know it's as least something like this and then she puts down a pretty good quote when she was able to read a bit the conferences location this is the classic it also generates the whole of western monasticism something of the morals of st gregory the great oxford decisive the confessions
st augustine she knew the imitation of christ and that whole current of devotes your mood arizona which very much personalizes our love with jesus and some of the authors it hadn't been condemned peter of alcantara and then of course dialoguing at length with john of the cross
she writes
i shall speak of nothing of which i have no experience either in my own life or in the observation of others or which the lord has not taught me in prayer so this isn't kind of here say this isn't what you study this is directly from our experience and it took up courage
to write that cause any inquisition could go in and say you're not a learned women you're just making me so on peter
in spain her on
life and her interior pests are the most read books of all after a turbine actives don quixote so she paired much dominant spanish culture and i'm certain she's been worn or rediscovered up i think in america and all of europe she has all these different dimensions first she
found a very significant contemplative order to carmelites you can see regarding the mins branch conference with john of the cross then she herself as a towering listing again right up there demonised no one ip doubts this and today the authenticity some raise your question
shams about how healthy was she was she psychologically wounded at least emily neurotic but i think no one doubts that she was able to work in and through that neurosis to this profound communion with god but then beyond that she can write about it in a delightful and brilliant and inside
different gift and so she's got these different sides that i am very much commenter batman
we mentioned just a bit yesterday she's aware of all the darkness inside she talks about serpents and villages things and up but they're at the outer gates of the castle just in the first mansions to the castle but her thesis is that if we really journey into the huh
heart what we discovered is a spacious glorious light some castle to use that l a so she has a very upbeat view of you who the human person is he and not
with baptism had i think we need to again claim that in this age when we can perhaps be overwhelmed the image at all we are is darkness and horror with in and wasteland and that sort of thing
she writes at the very beginning of the interior castle the things of the soul must always be considered as plentiful spacious large to do so as not an exaggeration the soul is capable of much more than we can imagine and the sun it is in this royal chamber shy
mine's in all the parts this very important for any sort practices prayer with a little more much not to hold itself back and stay in one little corner that it walked through these dwelling places which are up above down below into the sides since god is given at such great dignity
don't force it to stay a long time in one room or loan so there's says up joyful optimism i think about of the soul of the crystal as any kind of contemplative awareness
the sun shining in every room this is rather different emphasis the john of the crops is will find one of his tongue and and images is darkness darkness and i think in that way they compliment each other sometimes we do feel a bit more in the light and cheaper the shops on sometimes more in the dark and then not
john can see us through but i think this is a basic good news if we could really fundamentally convince ourselves of this he argued that would be enough i think for this weekend and so to journey within with all this enthusiasm and optimism of the explorers it were a journey gone
over the world she said in the light of all these bulletins you were coming in about the empire and the far reaches she said is it not somehow amazing that a poor none of st joseph's cloister can reign over the whole earth and elements so she had no need to jump on a ship and go up here there because they're so
this is vast realm within
and what makes it particularly exciting again is that it's inhabited and at the center of this golden castle is the spouse who's waiting for us to bestow on as obvious love and intimacy
let us imagine it within us is an extremely rich palace built entirely of gold and precious stones in some built for a board such as this and imagine also that in this palace dwells this mighty king so it's is both and up if we can just call
claim this i think it's again decisive for our in life abundance we can get into such a kind of a narrow an anguished and depress the dark thing well that can happen to us but it's up it's not the way of st teresa
the vastness of the castle remember there are seven mansions not more not less know that's not her approach she seemed southern mansion such as to way to talk that she one way to what kind of organize the material but it's just attended a model again it's not
a scale model it's not a photograph just a way of talking so at the very end of the castle she rela devices the whole model did we not take it some kind of fundamentalist stick way line halfway through the fourth mentioned but i've got another twenty feet to go over them
although no more than seven dwelling places were discussed here in each of these there are many others below and above into the sides with lovely gardens and fountains and labyrinths such delightful things that you would want to be dissolved and praises of the great god who created the soul in his own him
image and likeness so it's much more vast than this this is just a first ski motivation in itself one of the worst if you bought a ticket to literally but just as suggesting something or it might be helpful
so the main think or main message is just come home and i think this is a huge message for us moderns i think so often were distracted in the literal sense of outside of ourselves and we do again out these multibillion dollar of media entertainment industries to keep us
distracted we have our careers and we have so many things we've got to do have babies were running away from home or terrorized by what we're afraid it's just the darkness within and all the stuff in our mortality and sin and all the rest so she says first of all we've got to just find peace within
and if we're at peace with it and we have any kind of notion of this beauty within and then it can also start to happen
she writes again and your castle
can there be an evil greater than that of being ill at ease in our own house what hope can we have a finding rest outside of ourselves if we cannot find rest within
but from what we feel these seem to be warring against us she's talking i passed over a whole thing about all our faculties which are great friends and relatives with whom we must always live even though we may not want to backed up from what we feel these seem to be warring against us because of our vice
his peace peace the lord says my sisters and he urged his apostles so many times to this piece will believe me if we don't obtain and have peace in our own house will not find it outside this is a basic movement of carmelite spirituality this interior
so we're time a contemplative prayer were time but interior personal prayer
and that's fine again as we mentioned day yesterday that is only one dimension we're very aware of christian spirituality that a what about liberation theology and justice and social dimension of liturgy again not much about that in any of this but for this of she's very good as his journey the cross and what they would argue is
if i'm not a peace in my own heart how can i truly deeply a minute to others in a way that bestows peace or is it just in fact that more elegant way of running away from ourselves so again she has an upbeat our model of the human person and i
think of what the human community can be that sort little diagram below which is again the a symbol of christ and the center with lots of circles around that simple and then with rays from the christ symbol going through the center of each of the circles if each of those triple csa are
a christian in community then we are centered on the one cross of the one christ saw united and not just that but we find each one of us christ in the depths of our own heart now that's very different from maybe a
illicit model up where we are today or each of us can think of ourselves as so isolated each one of us is to stuff monad floating out there we can't really relate to any other with any del gaudio paintings and edward hopper people at midnight or just sitting in a diner and
each one she's leaning over his own cup of coffee and done nothing holding it together except the very artificial contacts the very artificial light of the diner if anything this is a very different view of the human condition with
faith in christ and with contemplative experience so i think that's the main things to claim whatever we do with the i
the yet new on sing
so the great dignity of the human person but we're safe only have we journey deeper and deeper and humility cars on our own there is hope is ambiguity and there is all this contradiction and we're constantly tempted to spiritual arrogance etc so the journey forward into the depths of the
castle which is in our diver and they're kind of moving from left to right has to be a turning into deeper and deeper humility so she says wonderful things so but it's not a humility which he calls emphatically false humility that keeps us away from the lord i'm not worthy of the lord
that can sometimes be in the back of our mind her humility is to be humble enough to accept the invitation and to journey forward even to this incredible mind blowing vocational fudd totaled
union with the lord
she doesn't like again this nervous self righteous be their top nuns and monks can get into it people very centered on their of mystical prayer and i'm clear that you because i'm in the sixth mansion and know i have to go out and beat myself that kind of thing