Catholic Lessons on Prayer: St. Teresa (I of II) 

We are all called to live in a vital and personal relationship with the living God. This relationship is prayer” (CCC 2558). Even though we all feel an inner voice that calls us to pray more and more, we usually don’t know how to do it.  

The great teacher of prayer St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) in her book The Interior Castle invites us to walk inside our soul through its rooms and corridors. She compares the soul to a castle with many rooms. The soul is created in God’s image —she explains—, in whose house there are many dwelling-places (“mansions”, Cf. Jn 14:2). Walk inside your inner self through prayer and visit: 

  1. First mansion: There is a beautiful castle inside of us where our Lord lives. Many people pass by this castle and never dare to enter. The gate to the castle is prayer. Just pray! 
  1. Second mansion: Once we walk inside our soul, the war between our actions and desire becomes more evident. Many people are discouraged but remember that God awaits inside. Be perseverant! 
  1. Third mansion: Prayer becomes easier as we spend more time practicing it. In silence, we start to listen to God’s voice calling us from “the chamber room” where he dwells. We want to get there! We need to follow his voice. Follow God’s voice! 

These are the first three mansions. Saint Teresa calls them “active prayer” because these aspects of prayer depend on us: we do it, we persevere in it, we are open to transformation. The next mansions are contemplative because the grace of God comes for us and helps us to go further within to delightful places. 

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