Interior Castle

Interior Castle

St. Paul says that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Cor. 6:19).

I was reading the “Interior Castle” of St. Teresa of Avila for the second time when her imagery of our soul as a beautiful castle made of precious diamond where God lives struck me for the first time as vivid and picturesque. Our soul is so precious to God, in a way we can never understand. Then it just struck me how majestic and grandiose God is and it is He Who actually dwells in my soul, created in the image and likeness of Himself. Suddenly, all through my thick layers of human flaws and imperfections, I felt the Spirit of God within the deepest part of me. I felt humbled that such a great God is in me.

Then the imagery of St. Teresa’s silkworm wrapped in its cocoon that has emerged into a beautiful butterfly struck me even more. The worm is myself, very human, very weak. Like the silkworm, I have to use all my human faculties and skills within my power to spin the silk for my cocoon, and God will do His part of transforming such ugly worm into a beautiful butterfly.

Or to use another imagery of St. Teresa, I am just a wax in the Hand of God. For Him to leave His imprint on me, I will just have to let Him stamp His seal on the wax. All I have to do is be pliant.

Suddenly, I thought of the many times when I harshly condemned myself for all my faults and failings. I said to God, “Lord, I don’t want to condemn myself anymore. You know how very weak, very human, very sensual I am. But whatever human part I have, I offer to you completely. I am the human part. You are the Divine part of me. I will do what is within my power as human. I will observe the precepts, teachings and laws of Mother Church. And I leave to You whatever work You want to accomplish in me.”

Then, I felt a kind of peace in me like I never felt before. All my anxieties about pleasing God were dispelled. I only have to cooperate with God. The main action will all depend on Him. Suddenly, things looked relatively simpler than I perceived them before. I will go to Mass as frequently as possible, do my spiritual readings, go to confession regularly, practice charity to my neighbors, and do my work conscientiously. Even my prayer took on a simpler light: pray for priests, for the conversion of the world, and for the salvation of souls. When I entrusted the major work to God, taking on only what really pertains to me as mere human, I felt a ton of burden lifted from me. For the greater part of my life, it was like I was too worried how God would accomplish my salvation, feeling all too burdened by it. The moment I entrusted it all to God, I felt free and light, with a gentle joy and peace in my heart.

God in my soul as His Castle! Keep this Castle pure and worthy of You, Lord. Truly, the Kingdom of God is within us! (cf. Lk 17:21) The King of the Universe dwells in our soul!

Postscript

After several days, I was made to understand that even the human actions that I do are not mine alone. Perhaps, to make me realize that even my efforts at saying my prayers depend on God’s grace, I seemed to have lost one time the sense of devotion and tenderness that I usually had. Truly, everything is grace, both the human and the divine. Even my human nature is a mystery which I cannot arrogate unto myself. Both pertain to God alone! Glory to God forever!

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