In her diamond castle of the soul, St. Teresa places the sun as a source of light in the inmost mansion and has it shoot its rays to the numberless neighboring mansions. In the most external the solar rays pierce only dimly because all sorts of hindrances restrain that radiation. But that light shining out from the center forces us to open our eyes and to approach the inner mansions, there to contemplate the light in all its limpidity and to be illumined by its splendor. Here, Teresa had the image of the light beaming from the bottom of the soul as well as that of the knocking and calling of the Lord, who calls the soul to come to the innermost mansion. In the external circle of those mansions the call sounds dim, but happy the man who, hearing that voice, answers the call. That first grace is the messenger of an ever greater influx of grace. As the first grace St. Teresa mentions the ability of the soul to see the ‘approach’ of the Bridegroom, and to understand His voice. In no other way can the soul reach this grace than along the way of recollection. And though it may be true that the first hearing, the first seeing, is to be regarded as a grace of God, Who all at once shines His light into the soul and suddenly makes His voice be heard, yet an answer must be given to that invitation of love and the soul must release itself from that which enthralled it till now. The eyes must be rubbed to see clearer and better what God, already in the external mansions, shows to them who have eyes to see and ears to hear. God can and will enthrall and bind the soul. He delights it to rest and slumber in Him but only then when the soul has succeeded in tearing itself away from that which binds it to the world in the external mansions and in placing itself under the mighty rays of the sun which is described as being able to pervade all things coming within its rays.
Blessed Titus Brandsma
Carmelite Mysticism. Historical Sketches, VI
St. Teresa. The Growth of the Mystical Life (excerpt)
This is one of a series of lectures that Blessed Titus Brandsma gave in the United States in the summer of 1935. You can read the entire series of English lectures concerning Carmelite Mysticism on the website of the Titus Brandsma Institute Nijmegen.