Quote of the day, 30 November: St. Teresa of Avila

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 [Cf. 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 [Cf. Prov 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.

Saint Teresa of Avila

The Interior Castle, I, Chap. 1, no. 1

Note: Saint Teresa finished writing The Interior Castle on the eve of St. Andrew’s Day in 1577. She began her epilogue with these words: “Although when I began writing this book I am sending you I did so with the aversion I mentioned in the beginning, now that I am finished I admit the work has brought me much happiness, and I consider the labor, though I confess it was small, well spent.”

She concluded her epilogue, saying: “This writing was finished in the monastery of St. Joseph of Avila in the year 1577, the eve before the feast of St. Andrew, for the glory of God who lives and reigns forever and ever, amen.” On 29 November, nearly six months would have elapsed since she began writing The Interior Castle on 2 June 1577.

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.

Featured image: Smolenice Castle in Slovakia. Photo credit: Martin Katler / Unsplash.

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