I was reading things for Church History last night and one thing was “The Interior Castle” by St. Teresa of Avila. She wrote it to teach the women in her convent about prayer and I think it makes some really good points.
She writes about how all of us have an interior castle within us which is made of diamond or clear crystal. The outer gate is only entered by those who have nominal faith in Christ who pray. The outer rooms of the castle are covered with poisonous snakes and serpents which bite those who cannot get out of them or who choose to remain in them. As you go toward the center, the light gets brighter and the center chamber is where God dwells and His light radiates outward. Essentially, our interior castle is the beautiful part of our soul where Jesus dwells within us when we ask Him into our lives.
This really radiated with me because I like the idea of having a place of brightness in me, especially when I am so depressed. She goes on and talks about how mortal sin takes the fountain of life in this castle and turns it into black sludge. The tree containing the fruits of our spirit is poisoned by this sludge. This was also a really compelling thought.
Probably the most striking point she made was on how our lack of prayer is like losing the use of our hands or feet. We have them but cannot give orders to them. I know that my lack of devotions can cripple me (which is probably why I added a couple devotional sites onto my Resources section) and I hadn’t realized how crippling it could be. Then, I realize that my day goes much better if I enter into prayer first thing the morning. The sad thing: I was so good about this before I hit seminary. Mea culpa!!!!
I really hope that going to Evening Prayer a few nights a week can help me here…