Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Home | Hildegard of Bingen | Julian of Norwich | Teresa of Avila | Prayers of the Mystics | Additional Resources








Teresa of Avila's "Seven Places"

THE DOOR TO THIS CASTLE IS PRAYER

(once this is open, the mystery of God lies ahead)

 

FIRST THREE PLACES

(active and achievable by human effort and ordinary grace)

    • The First Dwelling Places - the most outer rooms, the true light is dim here, with many distractions prevent a seeking of the light; people within these dwelling places are good and pray on occassion, but are in need (as all are) of self-knoweldge and the 'beauty' of grace and the 'ugliness' of sin
    • The Second Dwelling Places - this is the place where the goal of conforming to God's will is central; the people within these rooms have begun intentionally the practice of prayer and are invited to this through outside sources (books, sermons, friend, etc..)
    • The Third Dwelling Places - those who are in these dwelling places will not be denied entrance to the final dwelling place if they were to ask for it; the people within these places seek to live a life worthy of God's love through charity, humility, service and reflection; they also may use various ascetical practices; a shaking of their wealth, power or status in the world could be troublesome and shake their faith

 LAST FOUR  PLACES

(focus on mystical and passive components)

    • The Fourth Dwelling Places - infused prayer; contemplative prayer with a time of rememberance, but a rememberance not brought about by the human mind, but the prayer of quiet - analogy: the filling of two water holes
    • The Fifth Dwelling Places - characterized by the prayer of union; love is not idle; all human faculties are suspended and the presence of God is overwhelming - analogy: the silkworm
    • The Sixth Dwelling Places - characterized by mystical phenomena; spiritual bethrothal takes place here; woundings of love, raptures, visions, ecstasy - analogy: the flight of the butterfly (extending the silkworm analogy)

There are no closed doors between the sixth and seventh dwelling places

    • The Seventh Dwelling Places - in the previous dwelling places the soul was blind and unknowing of what was happening, in the seventh dwelling place the soul is allowed to see and understand; entrance to these dwelling places begins with a vision of the Trinity and the grace of spiritual marriage takes place here - analogy: death of the butterfly (extending the silkworm analogy

 

Information for this page was taken from: Kavanaugh, Kieran. "Introduction" The Interior Castle  by Teresa of Avila. The Classics of Western Spirituality.   New York, NY: Paulist Press. 1979.  See pp. 19-29 for futher information.



Experience the mystery...

Created by Kimberly S. Conway (c) 2004.
This site is continuously underconstruction.  If you have any suggestions or ideas please make such suggestion in the guestbook.  The creator of this site does not speak for the validity of information found when following links from this website to another.