Translated from the original by Ana Giménez.
1.-General presentation of prayer of quiet
We can appreciate, while reading the fourth mansion, the slow process to reach the experience of the love from God.
We are going to find this God we are seeking in the fourth mansion in a process which starts with a presence, continues with recollection and ends up in prayer of quiet. The moment of the summit in the fourth mansion comes now and it consists in knowing for the first time that we are loved. It will often be repeated and it will also be short in time.
Our collaboration has been necessary from the very same day we entered in the Interior Castle. There has been considerable effort from our part, especially in the first three mansions. We have had ups and downs, abandonment of prayer at times. At the beginning of our meditation, it required on our part till we discovered that the Word of God talks to us in Christ and teaches us to live; or maybe our serious mistakes have taken us away-for certain periods of time- from The Castle. The main appeals in the world empower us and it is not difficult to leave the One who is the life or our life and the One who teaches us to live.
Having reached this point, with the prayer of quiet and knowing that we are loved things are going to change almost definitively. We will never forget the first time we experienced that. Our deep solitude, the one which hurts, will disappear overnight. We will never be alone anymore. Someone loves us and from deep in our souls He calls us to get close to His love.
His affection has an effect on our whole being, included our body. It is like knowing that someone has loved us for a long time and in a flash we realize of that. It is a gift. Body and soul widens, we can breathe at the top our lungs. It is like being unemployed and with economic difficulties and one fine day that person gets a job which ensures his life and his family´s. We can say: ”I can sleep in peace, like a log”. Something similar is going to happen now.
We are on Mount Tabor, having a rest after a battle. It is as if we had in our soul a summer house to rest with the people who love us and never scorn us. We have overcome the barrier of miseries and sins which made us unable to let ourselves be loved as we didn´t consider ourselves worthy of love. We don´t need to fetch with effort for the fountain of living water any more, it is given to us. We are in the mansion of the living water (in the fifth mansion we will go down to the good wine cellar) where almost effortlessly we have access to it. From now on, love will guide our steps and will be our highest discernment criterion.
I am thinking right now of some reader who may not lead a spiritual life and wishes with all his heart to live this experience. It won´t be Saint Teresa who would refuse him the chance to achieve that, if that person enters within, asks and begs Jesus Christ to give him/her that light, He may in no time reach it. May God grant so be it in many tormented souls by spiritual emptiness, or seekers without a compass who may find a guide in the dark, a great person like Teresa of Jesus and find out to be loved by Christ:“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened for you. Because everyone who keeps asking will receive, and the person who keeps searching will find, and the person who keeps knocking will have the door opened.” (Mathew 7:7-8). “Come to me, all of you who are weary and loaded down with burdens, and I will give you rest. Place my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest for your souls, because my yoke is pleasant, and my burden is light.”(Mathew 11:28-30).We can pray along with the Psalm:”My eyes look to the Lord continuously, because he’s the one who releases my feet from the trap. Turn toward me and have mercy on me, for I am lonely and oppressed. The troubles of my heart have increased; bring me out of my distress!” (Psalm 25:15-17).
2.- Structure of the fourth mansion
Let´s approach now the Teresian text. The fourth mansion is explained in three chapters; in its third one, supernatural recollection is explained; and in its first chapter, she gets lost in certain twists and turns different to the subject matter. It will be in its second chapter where we will find the heart of prayer of quiet.
In the first chapter, there are several sections: It deals with the introduction from 1 to 3; the difference among consolations or feelings of tenderness (mainly found in the third mansion) and spiritual delights or quiet from 4 to 7; explanations of thoughts or imaginations and intellect, from 8 to 9; the structure of the soul and the location of the superior part of the soul, in numbers 10 and 11; and from 12 to 14 She turns back to human miseries.
In number 1 of the second chapter she recognises her mistake in the previous chapter; from 2 to 4 she explains the “two fountains with two water troughs” so as to explain the difference between quiet and spiritual delights;
5 and 6 explain the consequences of (prayer of) quiet: to expand the heart; 7 and 8 talks about the situation of the faculties, especially of will; to finish up 9 and 10 calling again for humility, and the true reasons which should underpin our spiritual life.
We have to add at the end chapter 3 of the fourth mansion, once she has explained recollection prayer, from numbers 9 to 14 she explains the “effects” or transformation of the person who enjoys (prayer of) quiet.
1.4-7 Differences between consolations and spiritual delights
1.8-9 Differences between imagination and intellect
1.10-11 Superior part of the soul
1.12-14 Human miseries
2.1 She recognises her mistake
2.2-4 Two fountains with two water troughs
2.5-6 To expand the heart
2.7-8 Faculties in the fourth mansion
2.9-10 A call for humility
3.9-14 The effects of prayer of quiet
3.- Prayer of quiet, or prayer of spiritual delights
Unlike consolations, spiritual delights start in God and are felt by the person. As they are divine initiative, they are free gifts which expand the heart, very superior to the previous consolations.
“Spiritual delights have their source in God, but we experience them in a natural way and enjoy them as much as we enjoy those I have already mentioned, and indeed much more.” (The Interior Castle 4.1.4.)
We are in the world of love which will dominate the rest of our itinerary. She emphasised that the main objective of spiritual life is not to enjoy God but other things like the wish to please God, in the fifth mansion we are trying to accomplish God´s will, we´ll try not to err and wish the growth of the Catholic Church.
“I only want you to be warned that, if you would progress a long way on this road and ascend to the Mansions of your desire, the important thing is not to think much, but to love much; do, then, whatever most arouses you to love. Perhaps we do not know what love is: it would not surprise me a great deal to learn this, for love consists, not in the extent of our happiness, but in the firmness of our determination to try to please God in everything, and to endeavour, in all possible ways, not to offend Him, and to pray Him ever to advance the honour and glory of His Son and the growth of the Catholic Church. Those are the signs of love; do not imagine that the important thing is never to be thinking of anything else and that if your mind becomes slightly distracted all is lost.” (The Interior Castle.4.1.7)
Let´s imagine two fountains, the water in the one comes from a long distance by means of conduits, the other one comes from the very source of the water: “To the other fountain the water comes direct from its source, which is God, and, when it is His Majesty’s will and He is pleased to grant us some supernatural favour, its coming is accompanied by the greatest peace and quietness and sweetness within ourselves — I cannot say where it arises or how. And that content and delight are not felt, as earthly delights are felt, in the heart — I mean not at the outset, for later the basin becomes completely filled, and then this water begins to overflow all the Mansions and faculties, until it reaches the body. It is for that reason that I said it has its source in God and ends in ourselves — for it is certain, and anyone will know this who has experienced it, that the whole of the outer man enjoys this consolation and sweetness.”(The Interior Castle 4.2.4).
The gift of God is given in the centre of the soul, its deepest place, it broadens the heart, coming the Psalm 119 (118) to life: “I will run the way of your commandments, for you will broaden my heart.”
“Returning to this verse, what it says about the enlargement of the heart may, I think, be of some help to us. For apparently, as this heavenly water begins to flow from this source of which I am speaking -that is, from our very depths-it proceeds to spread within us and cause an interior dilation and produce ineffable blessings, so that the soul itself cannot understand all that it receives there.” (Interior Castle 4.2.6).
The information drawn from the fourth mansion is not enough to get to know the entrance to the world of mysticism. She herself has told us that we have to go to the parallel text previously written.
4.- Prayer of quiet in parallel texts. They are found in: Life 14-15; The Way of Perfection 30-31; Relations 5.4 and Relations 36.
I will only focus in what the act of received loved by soul consists of. The prayer of quiet in Life needs human effort and it is higher than the one written in The Interior Castle.
Both texts agree that it deals with a supernatural thing “borders on the supernatural, to which it could in no way attain by its own exertions.” ( Life 14.2).
The will is the biggest beneficiary of the faculties and the rest aren´t either lost, that is, the person is conscious at all times of what it is happening. The will is imprisoned, without knowing how, it becomes captive. It only has to give consent to be embraced by God.The will stays in fruition and quiet of love; For His Majesty begins to communicate Himself to this soul and wishes it to be conscious of the method of His communication; His Majesty is so near it that it need not send Him messengers, but may speak with Him itself; nor need it cry aloud, because He is so near it that it has only to move its lips and He will understand it; and if our faults do not impede us we may rejoice in Thee and Thou wilt take Thy delight in us, since Thou sayest that Thy delight is to be with the children of men. (Texts from Life 14)
Continue in Prayer of quiet or prayer of spiritual delights from God 2/2
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