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The Interior Castle (Classics of Western Spirituality)

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  2,282 ratings  ·  142 reviews
Deeply spiritual and profoundly human, this 16th-century masterpiece is the work of a revered saint. Teresa of Avila visualized the soul as amany-faceted diamond, with the ecstasy of divine communion at its center.Her insights into prayer and meditation as the keys to fulfillment have inspired generations of readers. ...more
Paperback, 169 pages
Published December 28th 2007 by Dover Publications (first published 1588)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Karen Locklear
Update: I am blogging about this book. Here is the blog address if interested:

http://whatisyourpurposerightnow.blog...

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
...more
Diane
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
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Jennifer
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
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Jean
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
Kellerrenate
Anyone wanting to re-connect with Christian thought and learn about a devotional/rational relationship to God, this is an incredibly beautiful book.
S.D. Johnson
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
Emily
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
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Walter
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
Sondra Jones
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
...more
Kristin
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
Kathy
Dec 16, 2010 Kathy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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.
Irene
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.
Colyn
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.
Ann
I am always reading this book. There are so many aspects I learn everytime I pick it up.
Rob
Not an easy read but worth the effort.
Czarny Pies
Sep 30, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
...more
Jonathan
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
...more
Nefficus
St. Teresa of Avila is one of my favorite saints. After years of collecting her famous quotes from various other readings, I finally decided to sit down and read perhaps her most famous book, Interior Castle. Overall, Teresa is giving us a kind of roadmap for spiritual development by using the analogy of a castle with multiple rooms to describe the soul and its union with God...the further in we get, the closer we are to that union. This book is not particularly easy to read. At times St. Teresa ...more
Carol Apple
“Few tasks which I have been commanded to undertake by obedience have been so difficult as this present one of writing about matters relating to prayer: for one reason, because I do not feel the Lord has given me either the spirituality or the desire for it….”

So Teresa of Ávila (1515 – 1582) begins The Interior Castle (published 1577), a book which became a lucid and beautifully written spiritual classic. A learned woman who had already written several books, Teresa had been instructed to write
...more
Josh Morgan
This review first appeared on my blog, Jacob's Cafe.

My latest review for christianaudio reviewer's program is Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle (which was made possible with a complimentary copy from christianaudio). As many people know, my undergraduate studies focused on religion, particularly hagiographies and texts like St. Teresa's. So I was quite excited to have the opportunity to read (er, listen) to this book. I was familiar with St. Teresa before, but I had not read this book yet.

Unfo
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Jennifer
Teresa of Avila is a Christian mystic who lived in the 16th century. She wrote this book to help her sister nuns on their journeys in their prayer lives. She describes seven "mansions," or levels of prayer, each one deeper, more spiritual, and more interior than the last. For those who have a simple prayer life, she gives encouragement. "If then, you sometimes fail, do not lose heart, or cease striving to make progress, for even out of your fall God will bring good." To move between Mansion thre ...more
♥ 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
...more
Emma Bolden
When I was a kid, I was completely obsessed with books about saints. However, I tended to only read books that told the stories of saints that, well, died in really gory ways, or got their eyes plucked out or attacked by arrows. I'm both sorry and not sorry that I didn't read more about or by Teresa of Avila -- I'm sorry because I wish I'd come across this earlier in life, and I'm not sorry because this seems to be one of those books that comes to a person at the perfect time. I've only read it ...more
Yaholo H
The Interior Castle is one of the only books I know of which charts the course of the spiritual maturity. In that light, the book can be very hard to read as those steps which one has yet to take are hard to relate to in Teresa's book. For those who take the time to "chew" on this work, it is very rewarding.

The interior "mansions" by which Teresa moves the writer through are very similar to the concept of Hindu Chakras. Each one flows to the next as the soul is "compelled" to move deeper. I rec
...more
Sharon Ellis
"Interior Castle" by St. Teresa of Avila -
Firstly, Thank you to the nuns and persons who have lovingly preserved this work over the centuries.
I fell deeply into the mystical nature of this book and was amazed with the content - what I mean is - how deeply Holy Spirit took me to these places that St. Teresa described. This bopok helped me to understand many mystical things going on in my own life.
How good the Lord is - Eternally - I thank God that He helped St. Teresa chronicle her testimony, a
...more
Liz
Amazing. It is a phenomenal translation as I can hear her voice speaking to me as I read the book. I have also read The Way of Perfection which was equally profound. Her writing brings you so close to Christ it is both overwhelming and humbling. A complete gift from God.
Mark Carr
This is not one of those books you plow through finish say, 'Whew, now I'm enlightened!" As deep calls to deep so St. Teresa's writings cause you stop frequently and wonder and think about what has just been said.
It is not only the spiritual journey she describes that captures your imagination, but the attitude and manner with which she speaks that is so foreign to today's values and surface tendencies.
This book inspires because it shows that prayer and Christian meditation is so much more than
...more
Mary Overton
St. Teresa describes the numinous experience as later defined by Rudolf Otto in his book The Idea of the Holy:

"The splendour of Him Who is revealed in the vision resembles an infused light like that of the sun covered with a veil as transparent as a diamond .... The soul to whom God grants this vision almost always falls into an ecstasy, nature being too weak to bear so dread a sight. I say 'dread,' though this apparition is more lovely and delightful than anything that could be imagined even th
...more
Mary Rubega
Born 1515-1582 Avila Spain; Doctor of the Church; Doctor of Prayer; mystic

This is written as a manual for other Carmilite sisters on the union with God through prayer. It describes each person as having seven internal spiritual mansions, each mansion consists of many rooms. You enter the first mansion via prayer, the second by prayer and fasting. Within each mansion there are serpents which try to prevent you from moving to the deeper mansion.

As you move further into the mansions, you get a prof
...more
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  • The Spiritual Exercises
  • The Cloud of Unknowing
  • Revelations of Divine Love
  • Fire within: Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross and the Gospel - On Prayer
  • Introduction to the Devout Life
  • Abandonment to Divine Providence
  • The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross
  • The Rule of Saint Benedict
  • Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul
  • The Secret Of The Rosary
  • Catherine of Siena: The Dialogue (Classics of Western Spirituality)
  • The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection (Cistercian studies 59)
  • The Philokalia, Volume 1: The Complete Text; Compiled by St. Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain & St. Markarios of Corinth
  • Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux
  • Life of Christ
  • Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body
  • On Loving God
  • A Testament of Devotion
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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
More about Teresa of Ávila...
The Way of Perfection The Life of Saint Teresa of Ávila by Herself The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Ávila, Vol. 1 Let Nothing Disturb You The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Volume 2

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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.” 25 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.” 24 likes
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