Now let us speak about the type of soul that enters the second dwelling places and what such a soul does in them. I’d like to say only a little, for I have spoken at length on this subject elsewhere. And it would be impossible to avoid repeating much of it, for I don’t remember a thing of what I said. If I could present the matter for you in a variety of ways I know well that you wouldn’t be annoyed since we never tire of books—as many as there are—that deal with it.
This stage pertains to those who have already begun to practice prayer and have understood how important it is not to stay in the first dwelling places. But they still don’t have the determination to remain in this second stage without turning back, for they don’t avoid the occasion of sin. This failure to avoid these occasions is quite dangerous…
These rooms, in part, involve much more effort then do the first, even though there is not as much danger, for it now seems that souls in them recognize the dangers, and there is great hope they will enter further into the castle. I say that these rooms involve more effort because those who are in the first dwelling places are like deaf-mutes and thus the difficulty of not speaking is more easily endured by them than it is by those who hear but cannot speak. Yet, not for this reason does one have greater desire to be deaf, for after all it is a wonderful thing to hear what is being said to us. So these persons are able to hear the Lord when He calls. Since they are getting closer to where His Majesty dwells, He is a very good neighbor. His mercy and goodness are so bountiful; whereas we are occupied in our pastimes, business affairs, pleasures, and worldly buying and selling, and still falling into sin and rising again. These beasts are so poisonous and their presence so dangerous and noisy that it would be a wonder if we kept from stumbling and falling over them. Yet this Lord desires intensely that we love Him and seek His company, so much so that from time to time He calls us to draw near Him. And His voice is so sweet the poor soul dissolves at not doing immediately what He commands. Thus, as I say, hearing His voice is a greater trial than not hearing it.
Saint Teresa of Jesus
The Interior Castle
The Second Dwelling Place
Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.