From her writings
Today while beseeching our Lord to speak for me because I wasn’t able to think of anything to say nor did I know how to begin to carry out this obedience, there came to my mind what I shall now speak about, that which will provide us with a basis to begin with. It is that we consider our soul to be like a castle made entirely out of a diamond or of very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms, just as in heaven there are many dwelling places. [Jn 14:2] For in reflecting upon it carefully, Sisters, we realize that the soul of the just person is nothing else but a paradise where the Lord says He finds His delight. [Pr 8:31] So then, what do you think that abode will be like where a King so powerful, so wise, so pure, so full of all good things takes His delight? I don’t find anything comparable to the magnificent beauty of a soul and its marvelous capacity. Indeed, our intellects, however keen, can hardly comprehend it, just as they cannot comprehend God; but He Himself says that He created us in His own image and likeness. [Gen 1:26-27]
Well if this is true, as it is, there is no reason to tire ourselves in trying to comprehend the beauty of this castle. Since this castle is a creature and the difference, therefore, between it and God is the same as that between the Creator and His creature, His Majesty in saying that the soul is made in His own image makes it almost impossible for us to understand the sublime dignity and beauty of the soul.
The Interior Castle: I:1
Reflection by Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm.
Teresa uses a variety of images to describe the soul, likening it to a beehive, a garden, and in this case, a castle. In doing so, she attempts to explain its innate fecund richness brought about through its creation.
Made in the image and likeness of God, our souls mirror the Divine in our natural interior profundity and in our capacity to do His loving and saving will. Moreover, our souls are where Christ resides and interacts with us, and desires to permeate with his light. The experience of God, therefore, is not something beyond the human experience, but intimately connected to it. Indeed, the work of personal transformation takes place in this interior environment.
May we learn from Teresa how to appreciate and care for our souls, that we may radiate Christ to others and give thanks to God for making us his home.
We pray together
Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be.
V. Holy Mother St. Teresa, pray for us:
R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.
Let us pray:
by your Spirit, you raised up
our Mother Saint Teresa of Jesus
to show your Church the way to perfection.
May her inspired teaching
awaken in us a longing for true holiness.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm. is a friar of the Saint Elias Province and the pastor of Transfiguration Parish in Tarrytown, New York, U.S.A.
View the entire novena on the website of the General Curia of the Carmelite Order.