We’re going to start discussing the third mansions from St. Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle with the most exciting part–prayer. In the third mansions, prayer begins simplifying, as the soul prepares herself to receive infused contemplation.
Now, when I say prayer begins simplifying in the third mansions, that doesn’t mean that a stark line lies between one mansion and another. We don’t one day say, “I’m going to take one step forward and leave second mansions behind forever, entering the third.” More likely, we peer through the doorway, thinking, “Those rooms look interesting.” Then we look over our shoulder and say,” But I’m comfortable here.” We might go through the door, make a small circle, and go back out. We might lean against the door frame, with one foot on each side.
My point is that our prayer might start simplifying long before we leave second mansions completely behind. But when it is habitually simpler–and accompanied by growth in virtue–we can assume we have moved on to a new stage.
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