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The Interior Castle (Classics of Western Spirituality)

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,293 Ratings  ·  175 Reviews
The acclaimed modern translation of St. Teresa of Avila's classic book on spiritual awareness and guidance
Celebrated for almost five centuries as a master of spiritual literature, 16th-century saint Teresa of Avila is one of the most beloved religious figures in history. Overcome one day by a mystical vision of a crystal castle with seven chambers, each representing a di
ebook, 320 pages
Published July 1st 2004 by Riverhead Books (first published 1588)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Karen Locklear
Jul 29, 2011 Karen Locklear rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Update: I am blogging about this book. Here is the blog address if interested:

First of all, don't read this book straight through and expect to get meaning from it. This is not one of those books.

This is a book that needs to be experienced. There is so much to it, I can't even begin to explain well enough to give it credit. Meditation and pondering are definetely required!

I have 78 pages left. I intend to finish it tonight. Then in the morning I've decide
Feb 27, 2009 Jean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although St. Teresa was a 16th century nun, she was as busy as the rest of us when "encouraged" by her spiritual director to write this book for her nuns. I read it as part of a Sunday school class, and I found myself cracking up at how Mirabai Starr captures her. One minute she is fervently advocating for humility and self-expression and prayer and the next she's literally writing I don't where I was. Between opening and managing some 15 or more Carmelite convents, dodging the suspicious Spanis ...more
This is a book about prayer written by Saint Teresa of Avila, a 16th century Carmelite nun, mystic and doctor of the Church.

In this book, she presents a model of the human soul as a castle cut from a single diamond. This castle is divided into seven groups of mansions, beginning at the outer gate and moving inward toward the center. We enter the castle whenever we pray, for the gate to the outermost mansion is prayer. (Those who never pray remain in a courtyard outside the gate.)

As we progress
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Our Lord Jesus Christ told us that in the Father's House there are many mansion, and for our be love saint here, Teressa, these mansions could be seven and they represent the mansions of the soul as it seems to grow, develop and be united with its Beloved the Lord. How close are we getting to the Lord? Are we making some progress?

The beautiful thing about Teresa is that she writes as words come to her mind in full spontaneity. So, her words come so genuine, so simple, so real, so much from the
Sondra Jones
Oct 27, 2014 Sondra Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not going to "review" a classic. But I will say wow. Teresa of Avila's Interior Castles goes way beyond any spiritual practice or state that I've known existed. It's a whole new world. Again! It just keeps getting bigger and bigger. And that's a good thing.

This book is available on YouTube, read in its entirety. That's how I "read" it. Now I need a hard copy.

Some new ideas to me were around Jesus' suffering and suffering in general. That is why I need a hard copy; need to go back and read a
Mar 20, 2015 Stef rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been reading this start-stop skip around fashion since 2012. this time i read it from cover to cover and every reading seemed to be planned by God to come at the right time, just when i needed to read something in particular. Thank You, Lord.
Jul 03, 2015 julieta rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, europa
Llegué a este libro desde una curiosidad puramente literaria.

Y me gusta la figura de Santa Teresa, o más bien, me gusta y me da curiosidad conocer más sobre ella.
Pero este libro me causó más angustia que cualquier otra cosa.
Nunca había leído a una mística, por lo cual no tenía idea de lo que encontraría, pero me causó antes que nada como incomodidad.
Quizás es que fui a una escuela de monjas durante toda la primaria, o que mis papás me forzaban a ir a la iglesia, como algo necesario y obligat
Jul 09, 2009 Kellerrenate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone wanting to re-connect with Christian thought and learn about a devotional/rational relationship to God, this is an incredibly beautiful book.
Anna Elissa
I don't know which one is more unfair: leaving this book with 5 stars but with no review, or writing a review which can never ever do it justice, however hard I strive to. The Interior Castle is a spiritual classics; it has been read and enjoyed by millions, and in turn I'm sure it has made many saints! So nothing I write can ever truly describe how awesome this book is!

What I can say is this: it's ironic that I only discovered this book very recently, at the order of my spiritual director. Iron
Czarny Pies
Sep 30, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Believers
Recommended to Czarny by: Ste, Theresa is the patron of a parish I used to belong to.
Shelves: religion
Why read Chicken Soup for Catholics when this work written by a great saint and doctor of the Church is available. Although it was written almost five hundred years ago, its limpid style makes it as readable as anything that has been published in this the 21st century.

Teresa offers a guide on how to begin and progress through a long life of prayer. She leads the reader through seven phases referred to as mansions of one's interior castle. The first three phases are of active prayer in which one
In the study of the various aspects of Catholic theology, sometimes we forget that the whole religion thing is really about one thing - loving God and loving each other. In this classic work, St. Theresa of Avila brings us back to these simple truths. In her eyes, the spiritual life, which is the love of God in one's own life, is like a castle with seven "mansions", or levels. In the outer mansions are the things that keep us from God and from love, namely selfishness, self-centeredness, all of ...more
Jul 07, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
This is an excellent, though a difficult, book and one I feel I will return to in the future.

Saint Teresa wrote The Interior Castle relatively late in her life, after years as a nun, and with a lifetime of spiritual discipline behind her. Therefore, she is easily able to identify common pitfalls which present obstacles to spiritual growth and advancement. Her advice is practical and surprisingly relevant to readers some 400 years after the book was written. However, she may easily surpass the a
The Interior Castles is a very wonderful book on how to get closer to God and how to overcome the trials come upon you. St. Theresa originally wrote this for the sisters in her convent, at the urging of a friend of hers. She says that the way to the "ultimate marriage with God" is through humility and a humble life, and through prayer. She also says that we have to be aware of when God speaks to us, and know when Satan is trying to veer us away from Him.

The reason why I gave it only three stars
S.D. Johnson
Jun 18, 2014 S.D. Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many years ago I had a dream about falling off the edge of a cliff and hovering then out in a void, and, as though suspended in empty space, there was a shining city of aquamarine crystal below me. I fell over the centre of the "city", (or large building - I had no idea of its size), contracted to a point and then radiated outward in a state of supreme ecstasy and all-knowingness. I could no longer see, but it was as though I was all-seeing. It was so powerful that when I awoke I thought that I ...more
Nathaniel Turner
This book took me a really long time to read. It's not especially dense or complex (although it does get convoluted in some places). The real problem was that, for most of the book, I had little to no common ground with the author's experience. I kept putting the book down and only decided to finish it in 2016's Lenten season (which I did not even do, ultimately, missing Easter by about a week).

The reason for this disconnect between me and St. Teresa is this: I'm a fairly practical person. I'm n
Jonathan Widell
May 14, 2015 Jonathan Widell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Teresa of Avila: Interior Castle. This is a classic of Christian mysticism from the Counter-Reformation Spain. Does it accomplish what it set out to do? Probably. It consists of advice to the nuns on how to grow closer to God and ultimately to be one with Him. Of course, all good gifts are from God. One should not aspire to a mystical experience. God will give it if He so wills and we should understand that we are not worthy of any of this. What Teresa explains is that there are different "mansi ...more
Apr 30, 2014 Kristin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Teresa of Avila wrote Interior Castle as a way to explain her theory about the soul. I have to admit, the idea of the soul being a castle shaped crystal housing seven mansions inside is pretty cool. The imagery of the soul-crystal darkening after being touched by Lucifer was striking as well. As a person who never fully understood the mystic branches of the Abrahamic faiths, I found the mysticism offered here is fairly accessible. However, the multiple comparisons of disabled individuals to a ...more
Dec 16, 2010 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystics, prayer warriors, people on their spiritual journey through prayer
Recommended to Kathy by: Mary Clark
You can't read this book quickly. The thoughts are deep. And the translation sometimes makes for slower reading as well. I gave up on the English version, and ordered the original Spanish. It makes so much more sense, but still slow reading. i've had it 3 years and still am not done, but then I don'tread it every day either.
Olive Chan
Feb 18, 2010 Olive Chan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From what I've heard, this translation of this classic work is one of the more understandable ones. It's difficult material to get through simply because it's so deep. But it's not a classic for no reason! I recommend this for anyone looking to explore more of the mystic's approach to their relationship with God.
J.T. Therrien
Feb 03, 2015 J.T. Therrien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
St. Teresa of Avila explains, in her own personal way, the subtle rooms of the soul as one delves deeper into one's faith in search of God - who dwells at the center of the soul.

There are a great many perils to be frought and to be overcome along the way, but the fight is a worthwhile one, since Jesus is waiting to welcome us into the seventh and final room.

I enjoyed this biography/how-to book although, to be honest, my initial incentive to read it was only as a prelude to reading St. John of th
Oct 12, 2015 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A cornerstone book on mystical theology, Interior Castle describes the seven stages of union with God. Using everyday language to explain difficult theological concepts, Teresa of Avila compares the contemplative life to a castle with seven chambers. Tracing the passage of the soul through each successive chamber, she draws a powerful picture of the path toward spiritual perfection. It is the most sublime and mature of Teresa's works, offering profound and inspiring reflections on such subjects ...more
Jan 11, 2009 Irene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has taught me more about the spiritual life than any text apart from the Bible. I continue to return to it whenever the well runs dry.
Jul 11, 2007 Colyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
St. Teresa is painfully 16th century in her writing style but the wisdom imparted is incredible--you just have to not get lost along the way.
Jan 02, 2015 Cecilia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Casi cinco siglos pasaron y son los escritos espirituales más hermosos que he leído.
Nov 06, 2009 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am always reading this book. There are so many aspects I learn everytime I pick it up.
Ryan Rindels
Mystical, Catholic and pretty novel to me --but it's what I expected.
Nick Richtsmeier
While I realize this is a classic of western theology, the book is too dripping in self-hatred and moments of misogyny for me. I was so hoping for something really rich in the visualization of an interior world inhabited by God, but Teresa is too much of her time and of the culture of medieval Christendom, where shame and self-denial is the central human response to God's holiness. I believe there is more and I think other mystics from all ages would agree.

There is something certainly beautiful
Not an easy read but worth the effort.
Luis Lite
Aug 25, 2015 Luis Lite rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cada cierto tiempo me gusta releer a los místicos españoles, sospecho que por deformación profesional. Aprovechando el Centenario del nacimiento de Santa Teresa de Jesús he releído con agrado su Castillo interior o Las Moradas.
Se trata de una obra didáctica dedicada a sus hermanas de congregación en la que describe los apartados del alma bajo la alegoría de un castillo, donde tienen significado propio los fosos, adarves, murallas, cercas y arrabales, hasta el alcázar y torreón, donde tiene el S
Jan 26, 2015 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is oneness with God, that has been described by so many of the great Christian thinkers, that Teresa is describing in her text. It is a beautiful process of spiritual deepening, one that she does not pressure her comrades in, but invites them into.
As Teresa ventures into the soul with God, one thing she notes to her readers is not to limit the process itself. She says that to be one with God is more than just not sinning. It’s even more than just prayer and contemplation. It is about living
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Catholic Thought: Introduction 25 25 Feb 25, 2016 08:40AM  
  • The Cloud of Unknowing
  • Revelations of Divine Love
  • Introduction to the Devout Life
  • The Spiritual Exercises
  • The Ascent of Mount Carmel
  • Catherine of Siena: The Dialogue (Classics of Western Spirituality)
  • Fire Within: Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross and the Gospel - On Prayer
  • Abandonment to Divine Providence
  • The Secret Of The Rosary
  • Uniformity with God's Will
  • The Soul of The Apostolate
  • The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection (Cistercian studies 59)
  • The Rule of Saint Benedict
  • The Spirit of the Liturgy
  • Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul
  • The Philokalia, Volume 1: The Complete Text
  • The Fulfillment of All Desire: A Guidebook for the Journey to God Based on the Wisdom of the Saints
  • On Loving God
Saint Teresa of Ávila, also called Saint Teresa of Jesus, was a prominent Spanish mystic, Carmelite nun, and writer of the Counter Reformation. She was a reformer of the Carmelite Order and is considered to be, along with John of the Cross, a founder of the Discalced Carmelites. In 1970 she was named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI.

Born in Avila, Spain, on March 28, 1515, St. Teresa was the
More about Teresa of Ávila...

Other Books in the Series

Classics of Western Spirituality (1 - 10 of 88 books)
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“This Beloved of ours is merciful and good. Besides, he so deeply longs for our love that he keeps calling us to come closer. This voice of his is so sweet that the poor soul falls apart in the face of her own inability to instantly do whatever he asks of her. And so you can see, hearing him hurts much more than not being able to hear him… For now, his voice reaches us through words spoken by good people, through listening to spiritual talks, and reading sacred literature. God calls to us in countless little ways all the time. Through illnesses and suffering and through sorrow he calls to us. Through a truth glimpsed fleetingly in a state of prayer he calls to us. No matter how halfhearted such insights may be, God rejoices whenever we learn what he is trying to teach us.” 40 likes
“The devil frequently fills our thoughts with great schemes, so that instead of putting our hands to what work we can do to serve our Lord, we may rest satisfied with wishing to perform impossibilities.” 35 likes
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