It is a singular pleasure to read really old books; they seem to have a special quality of endurance to have survived the fitful seasons of changing taste and opinion. There is an indefinable comfort in encountering the thoughts of people who loved God nearly half a century before me. After all, to have survived so long their thoughts must contain some pretty hearty truth about walking with God through his good earth. That is how it is with St. Teresa.
I was sitting in Border’s one day, and reached up to glance at the cover of a brightly colored book titled The Interior Castle. Next instant my hand faltered, my coffee jostled, and there were two dark stains on the crisp whiteness of the twenty dollar book. What was there to do but buy it?
Turns out God knew how dear a friend good St. Teresa would be to my soul as I journeyed along a path of prayer. The Interior Castle is St. Teresa’s vision of the mysterious castle of the soul and the journey of prayer we each make into it’s deepest rooms where the Beloved of our souls is waiting.
St. Teresa was a delightfully fiery bit of a woman who, upon having her supplies for a long journey lost in a swollen river, sat down on the bank, cocked her head to heaven and said, “if this is how God treats his friends, it’s no wonder he has so few”. And yet, it was she who spoke of God as the beloved of her soul, “His Majesty”, the great king, urging those around her to humility and gentleness as they sought him. Her humble, personal voice as she speaks of the mystical reality of prayer has been a close companion to me as I have sought God. Simply written, calling all Christians to journey deeper into the interior castle, this book has challenged me to examine my heart, and to seek God more purely. But it has also comforted me; for St. Teresa is quite convinced of the general frailty of humans in general and even more confident in the mercy of the Beloved who seeks to be known by them.
The Interior Castle is a classic that deserves the enduring respect it has retained through the years, and St. Teresa is a friend worth keeping. If you are looking for a quiet voice to companion you in prayer, St. Teresa will share your journey toward the Beloved. She has certainly shared mine. Turns out those stray drops of coffee were the beginning of a precious friendship, the first steps of a journey with a companion who has led me deep into the castle of my own soul.