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Interior Castle > Interior Castle Sixth Mansions

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Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) | 547 comments This section had several chapters to read. I am still working on the final chapter and will post more when I have finished. Please feel free to post your thoughts on the sixth mansion whenever you are ready.


Manny (virmarl) | 3570 comments Mod
Oh my gosh, we're up to the sixth already, and I never commented on the fifth. I'll work on the fifth and hopefully comment by tonight.

Actually because the sixth is so much longer I was going to propose we give it two weeks. Any thoughts on that?


Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) | 547 comments That sounds like a good idea Manny. I think I must have messed up somewhere and posted some sections ahead of schedule. I will post the seventh mansions on March 16th.


Manny (virmarl) | 3570 comments Mod
Susan Margaret wrote: "That sounds like a good idea Manny. I think I must have messed up somewhere and posted some sections ahead of schedule. I will post the seventh mansions on March 16th."

Thanks Susan.


Irene | 909 comments I finished the 6th mansion last night. Because Teresa is describing things that most of us have never experienced and for which there is no good language, it is hard to comprehend what she is describing. The soul deep suffering which is so great that it can cause physical damage, for example, is beyond my understanding.


Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) | 547 comments Irene wrote: "I finished the 6th mansion last night. Because Teresa is describing things that most of us have never experienced and for which there is no good language, it is hard to comprehend what she is descr..."

I too do not understand what Teresa means by physical damage.


Irene | 909 comments I took it to mean that it compremised one's physical health in some way.


message 8: by Susan Margaret (last edited Mar 10, 2016 01:44PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) | 547 comments I have been dragging my feet on posting comments about the sixth mansion. I think it’s because there are so many things that I do not understand or relate to in these chapters. Although I have read all of the chapters in this section, at the moment, I am only commenting about chapter one. This mansion is a bit overwhelming.

In some comments that I have read, the sixth mansion has been likened to purgatory were purification takes place before the marriage to God in the seventh mansion. In chapter one, Teresa tells us that God sends inner and outer trails to some individuals. The outer trials can take the form of gossip, and praise can become a burden. Teresa does not want any attention drawn to her and she wants to remain humble. She also says that the lord can send grave ailments that can have intense pain. One example she gives of an inner trial is where the individual believes that “God is allowing her to be deceived about divine things”. And lastly, she tells us that there are “superficial trials imposed by evil spirits”. This trial reminded me of the forty days Jesus spent in the desert when Satan tempted him.

The sixth mansion seems very intense, but I suppose if a person has reached this level they would have strong virtues and great self-knowledge, which would give them the ability, along with the mercy of God, to withstand all the different types of trials. In fact, it seems like the individual is suffering his own “passion” in the sixth mansion before he enters into the Kingdom of God (seventh mansion).


Irene | 909 comments Teresa does not seem to have a "dark night of the soul" which John of the Cross and other writers discuss. There are trials in various stages. She speaks of times when God feels hidden from the soul. But, there is no single stage characterized by that darkness. Everyone of her stages, even those with trials, also have "sweetnesses".


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Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) | 547 comments Rather than me just putting forth a monologue or summary of what we have read, I was thinking that discussion questions might help to promote more participation. If anyone wants to post some questions regarding the sixth mansion and questions when we get to the seventh mansion, please feel free to do so. Whichever book is chosen for our next read, I promise to be prepared with questions for all of us to discuss (you can answer the questions or not), and I welcome others to post their questions. And of course, post whatever comments or observations in general about the book. (This is a group effort.) I'm still new at being a moderator, so please be patient with me.

So here is a question for this mansion:

Although most of us may only be in the first, second, or third mansions, what advice can you take from Teresa from her comments in the sixth mansion that you can apply to your journey in the first three mansions?


Manny (virmarl) | 3570 comments Mod
Susan Margaret wrote: "Rather than me just putting forth a monologue or summary of what we have read, I was thinking that discussion questions might help to promote more participation. If anyone wants to post some questi...lthough most of us may only be in the first, second, or third mansions, what advice can you take from Teresa from her comments in the sixth mansion that you can apply to your journey in the first three mansions? "

The sixth mansion is so long I'm having a difficult time finding a key passage or two. In fact the sixth mansion is more than a third of the book. I'll try posting something later, but to answer your question, I would say pray and perform acts of compassion for your fellow neighbor. It's through those two things that we increase in spirituality.


Manny (virmarl) | 3570 comments Mod
Irene wrote: "Teresa does not seem to have a "dark night of the soul" which John of the Cross and other writers discuss. There are trials in various stages. She speaks of times when God feels hidden from the sou..."

Good point. She seems like a very happy, contented person. I know she had health problems, but they don't seem to have effected her spirit.


Irene | 909 comments In her autobiography, I think her struggles with her health comes through, but not so much in this one. I also think that as she grew in a deeper relationship with Christ, her poor health has less of an impact on her interior peace.


Manny (virmarl) | 3570 comments Mod
In the third chapter of the sixth mansion, Theresa starts talking about “locutions,” or as I understand it, voices from God. It is interesting that she stipulates that just because one hears such locutions in the midst of meditative prayer does not mean that they are from God. She says, “these may come from God, in any of the ways I have mentioned, or they may equally well come from the devil or from one's own imagination.” So how does one know if they are from God? She writes:

“To return, then, to our first point: whether they come from within, from above or from without, has nothing to do with their coming from God. The surest signs that one can have of their doing this are, in my opinion, as follows. The first and truest is the sense of power and authority which they bear with them, both in themselves and in the actions which follow them. I will explain myself further. A soul is experiencing all the interior disturbances and tribulations which have been described, and all the aridity and darkness of the understanding. A single word of this kind -- just a "Be not troubled" -- is sufficient to calm it. No other word need be spoken; a great light comes to it; and all its trouble is lifted from it, although it had been thinking that, if the whole world, and all the learned men in the world, were to combine to give it reasons for not being troubled, they could not relieve it from its distress, however hard they might strive to do so. Or a soul is distressed because its confessor, and others, have told it that what it has is a spirit sent by the devil, and it is full of fear. Yet that single word which it hears: "It is I, fear not," takes all its fear from it, and it is most marvellously comforted, and believes that no one will ever be able to make it feel otherwise. Or it is greatly exercised because of some important piece of business and it has no idea how this will turn out. It is then given to understand that it must be, and all will turn out well; and it acquires a new confidence and is no longer troubled. And so with many other things.”

So the first sign that it is from God is the power and authority of the word. I won’t quote the entire passages, but there are two more signs. Second “is that a great tranquillity dwells in the soul, which becomes peacefully and devoutly recollected, and ready to sing praises to God.” And third “is that these words do not vanish from the memory for a very long time: some, indeed, never vanish at all.” So power, tranquility, and lasting memory.


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Manny (virmarl) | 3570 comments Mod
As I said, the sixth mansion is very large and so it’s hard to select just an idea or two to highlight, but I think this one I’m going to highlight now is very important. In chapter seven of the sixth mansion she talks about not excluding the physical humanity of Christ.

“You will also think that anyone who enjoys such sublime favours will not engage in meditation on the most sacred Humanity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, because by that time he will be wholly proficient in love. This is a thing of which I have written at length elsewhere, and, although I have been contradicted about it and told that I do not understand it, because these are paths along which Our Lord leads us, and that, when we have got over the first stages, we shall do better to occupy ourselves with matters concerning the Godhead and to flee from corporeal things, they will certainly not make me admit that this is a good way.”

What I think she’s saying there is that those who are intensely focused on prayer and meditation may have a tendency to only consider the spiritual and divine dimension of our Lord, and therefore exclude his humanity. It sounds like at one point in her life, she had succumbed to this tendency herself. She goes on:

“I may be wrong and we may all be meaning the same thing; but it was clear to me that the devil was trying to deceive me in this way, and I have had to learn my lesson. So, although I have often spoken about this, I propose to speak to you about it again, so that you may walk very warily. And observe that I am going so far as to advise you not to believe anyone who tells you otherwise. I will try to explain myself better than I did before. If by any chance a certain person has written about it, as he said he would, it is to be hoped that he has explained it more fully; to write about it in a general way to those of us who are not very intelligent may do a great deal of harm.”

She feels this is so important she really needs to re-emphasize it. When you think about the heresies of Arianism and Gnosticism, I can fully understand St. Theresa’s concern. If one only conceptualizes on the incorporeal, then the physical disappears. In addition to forgetting the humanity of Christ, an additional danger is that we may also forget the Blessed Mother and the saints”

“Some souls also imagine that they cannot dwell upon the Passion, in which case they will be able still less to meditate upon the most sacred Virgin and the lives of the saints, the remembrance of whom brings us such great profit and encouragement. I cannot conceive what they are thinking of; for, though angelic spirits, freed from everything corporeal, may remain permanently enkindled in love, this is not possible for those of us who live in this mortal body.”

By contemplating on the corporeal as well as the spiritual, it will lead us to acts of mercy for the living, our friends and neighbors:

“We need to cultivate, and think upon, and seek the companionship of those who, though living on earth like ourselves, have accomplished such great deeds for God; the last thing we should do is to withdraw of set purpose from our greatest help and blessing, which is the most sacred Humanity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I cannot believe that people can really do this; it must be that they do not understand themselves and thus do harm to themselves and to others. At any rate, I can assure them that they will not enter these last two Mansions; for, if they lose their Guide, the good Jesus, they will be unable to find their way; they will do well if they are able to remain securely in the other Mansions. For the Lord Himself says that He is the Way; the Lord also says that He is light and that no one can come to the Father save by Him; and "he that seeth Me seeth my Father." It may be said that these words have another meaning. I do not know of any such meaning myself; I have got on very well with the meaning which my soul always feels to be the true one.”

And these physically acts of mercy are part of the graces that leads us through the fifth and sixth mansions.


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