In which there are Four Chapters.


Treats of great favours which God bestows on the souls that have attained entrance to the Seventh Mansions. Describes how in the author's opinion there is some difference between the soul and the spirit although both are one. There are notable things in this chapter.
YOU will think, sisters, that so much has been said about this spiritual road that there cannot possibly be any more to say. It would be a great mistake to think that; just as the greatness of God is without limit, even so are His works. Who will ever come to an end of recounting His mercies and wonders? It is impossible that any should do so; do not be surprised, therefore, at what has been said and at what will be said now, for it is only a fraction of the things that still remain to be related about God. Great is the mercy that He shows us in communicating these things in such a way that we may come to learn of them; for the more we know of His communion with creatures, the more we shall praise His greatness, and we shall strive not to despise a soul in which the Lord takes such delight. Each of us possesses a soul, but we do not prize our souls as creatures made in God's image deserve and so we do not understand the great secrets which they contain. If it be His Majesty's will, may it please Him to guide my pen, and give me to understand how I may tell you some of the many things which there are to be said and which God reveals to every soul that He brings into this Mansion. Earnestly have I besought His Majesty, since He knows my intention is that His mercies be not hidden, to the greater praise and glory of His name.

I am hopeful, sisters, that, not for my sake but for your sakes, He will grant me this favour, so that you may understand how important it is that no fault of yours should hinder the celebration of His Spiritual Marriage with your souls, which, as you will see, brings with it so many blessings. O great God! Surely a creature as miserable as I must tremble to treat of anything so far beyond what I deserve to understand. And indeed I have been in a state of great confusion and have wondered if it will not be better for me in a few words to bring my account of this Mansion to an end. I am so much afraid it will be thought that my knowledge of it comes from experience, and this makes me very much ashamed; for, knowing myself as I do for what I am, such a thought is terrible. On the other hand, whatever your judgment about it may be, it has seemed to me that this shame is due to temptation and weakness. Let the whole world cry out upon me, so long as God is praised and understood a little better. At all events I may perhaps be dead when this comes to be seen. Blessed be He Who lives and shall live for ever. Amen.

When Our Lord is pleased to have pity upon this soul, which suffers and has suffered so much out of desire for Him, and which He has now taken spiritually to be His bride, He brings her into this Mansion of His, which is the seventh, before consummating the Spiritual Marriage. For He must needs have an abiding-place in the soul, just as He has one in Heaven, where His Majesty alone dwells: so let us call this a second Heaven. It is very important, sisters, that we should not think of the soul as of something dark. It must seem dark to most of us, as we cannot see it, for we forget that there is not only a light which we can see, but also an interior light, and so we think that within our soul there is some kind of darkness. Of the soul that is not in grace, I grant you, that is true -- not, however, from any defect in the Sun of Justice, Who is within it and is giving it being, but because, as I think I said in describing the first Mansion, this soul is not capable[212] of receiving the light. A certain person came to see that these unhappy souls are, as it were, in a dark prison, with their feet and hands bound so that they can do no good thing which will help them to win merit;[213] they are both blind and dumb. We do well to take pity on them, realizing that there was a time when we were ourselves like them and that the Lord may have mercy on them also.

Let us take especial care, sisters, to pray to Him for them, and not be negligent. To pray for those who are in mortal sin is the best kind of almsgiving -- a much better thing than it would be to loose a Christian whom we saw with his hands tied behind him, bound with a stout chain, made fast to a post and dying of hunger, not for lack of food, since he has beside him the most delicious things to eat, but because he cannot take them and put them into his mouth although he is weary to death and actually knows that he is on the point of dying, and not merely a death of the body, but one which is eternal. Would it not be extremely cruel to stand looking at such a man and not give him this food to eat? And supposing you could loose his chains by means of your prayers? You see now what I mean. For the love of God, I beg you always to remember such souls when you pray.[214]

However, it is not of these that we are now speaking, but of those who, by God's mercy, have done penance for their sins and are in grace. We must not think of souls like theirs as mean and insignificant; for each is an interior world, wherein are the many and beauteous Mansions that you have seen; it is reasonable that this should be so, since within each soul there is a mansion for God. Now, when His Majesty is pleased to grant the soul the aforementioned favour of this Divine Marriage, He first of all brings it into His own Mansion. And His Majesty is pleased that it should not be as on other occasions, when He has granted it raptures, in which I certainly think it is united with Him, as it is in the above-mentioned Prayer of Union, although the soul does not feel called to enter into its own centre, as here in this Mansion, but is affected only in its higher part. Actually it matters little what happens: whatever it does, the Lord unites it with Himself, but He makes it blind and dumb, as He made Saint Paul at his conversion,[215] and so prevents it from having any sense of how or in what way that favour comes which it is enjoying; the great delight of which the soul is then conscious is the realization of its nearness to God. But when He unites it with Him, it understands nothing; the faculties are all lost.

But in this Mansion everything is different. Our good God now desires to remove the scales from the eyes of the soul,[216] so that it may see and understand something of the favour which He is granting it, although He is doing this in a strange manner. It is brought into this Mansion by means of an intellectual vision,[217] in which, by a representation of the truth in a particular way, the Most Holy Trinity reveals Itself, in all three Persons.[218] First of all the spirit becomes enkindled and is illumined, as it were, by a cloud of the greatest brightness. It sees these three Persons, individually, and yet, by a wonderful kind of knowledge which is given to it, the soul realizes that most certainly and truly all these three Persons are one Substance and one Power and one Knowledge and one God alone; so that what we hold by faith the soul may be said here to grasp[219] by sight, although nothing is seen by the eyes, either of the body or of the soul,[220] for it is no imaginary vision. Here all three Persons communicate Themselves to the soul and speak to the soul and explain to it those words which the Gospel attributes to the Lord -- namely, that He and the Father and the Holy Spirit will come to dwell with the soul which loves Him and keeps His commandments.[221]

Oh, God help me! What a difference there is between hearing and believing these words[222] and being led in this way to realize how true they are! Each day this soul wonders more, for she feels that they have never left her, and perceives quite clearly, in the way I have described, that They are in the interior of her heart -- in the most interior place of all and in its greatest depths. So although, not being a learned person, she cannot say how this is, she feels within herself this Divine companionship.

This may lead you to think that such a person will not remain in possession of her senses but will be so completely absorbed that she will be able to fix her mind upon nothing. But no: in all that belongs to the service of God she is more alert than before; and, when not otherwise occupied, she rests in that happy companionship. Unless her soul fails God, He will never fail, I believe, to give her the most certain assurance of His Presence. She has great confidence that God will not leave her, and that, having granted her this favour, He will not allow her to lose it. For this belief the soul has good reason, though all the time she is walking more carefully than ever, so that she may displease Him in nothing.

This Presence is not of course always realized so fully -- I mean so clearly -- as it is when it first comes, or on certain other occasions when God grants the soul this consolation; if it were, it would be impossible for the soul to think of anything else, or even to live among men. But although the light which accompanies it may not be so clear, the soul is always aware that it is experiencing this companionship. We might compare the soul to a person who is with others in a very bright room; and then suppose that the shutters are closed so that the people are all in darkness. The light by which they can be seen has been taken away, and, until it comes back, we shall be unable to see them, yet we are none the less aware that they are there. It may be asked if, when the light returns, and this person looks for them again, she will be able to see them. To do this is not in her power; it depends on when Our Lord is pleased that the shutters of the understanding shall be opened. Great is the mercy which He grants the soul in never going away from her and in willing that she shall understand this so clearly.

It seems that the Divine Majesty, by means of this wonderful companionship, is desirous of preparing the soul for yet more. For clearly she will be greatly assisted to go onward in perfection and to lose the fear which previously she sometimes had of the other favours that were granted to her, as has been said above. The person already referred to found herself better in every way, however numerous were her trials and business worries, the essential part of her soul seemed never to move from that dwelling-place. So in a sense she felt that her soul was divided; and when she was going through great trials, shortly after God had granted her this favour, she complained of her soul, just as Martha complained of Mary.[223] Sometimes she would say that it was doing nothing but enjoy itself in that quietness, while she herself was left with all her trials and occupations so that she could not keep it company.

You will think this absurd, daughters, but it is what actually happens. Although of course the soul is not really divided, what I have said is not fancy, but a very common experience. As I was saying, it is possible to make observations concerning interior matters and in this way we know that there is some kind of difference, and a very definite one, between the soul and the spirit, although they are both one. So subtle is the division perceptible between them that sometimes the operation of the one seems as different from that of the other as are the respective joys that the Lord is pleased to give them. It seems to me, too, that the soul is a different thing from the faculties and that they are not all one and the same. There are so many and such subtle things in the interior life that it would be presumptuous for me to begin to expound them. But we shall see everything in the life to come if the Lord, of His mercy, grants us the favour of bringing us to the place where we shall understand these secrets.



Continues the same subject. Describes the difference between spiritual union and spiritual marriage. Explains this by subtle comparisons.

LET us now come to treat of the Divine and Spiritual Marriage, although this great Favour cannot be fulfilled perfectly in us during our lifetime, for if we were to withdraw ourselves from God this great blessing would be lost. When granting this favour for the first time, His Majesty is pleased to reveal Himself to the soul through an imaginary vision of His most sacred Humanity, so that it may clearly understand what is taking place and not be ignorant of the fact that it is receiving so sovereign a gift. To other people the experience will come in a different way. To the person of whom we have been speaking the Lord revealed Himself one day, when she had just received Communion, in great splendour and beauty and majesty, as He did after His resurrection, and told her that it was time she took upon her His affairs as if they were her own and that He would take her affairs upon Himself; and He added other words which are easier to understand than to repeat.[224]

This, you will think, was nothing new, since on other occasions the Lord had revealed Himself to that soul in this way. But it was so different that it left her quite confused and dismayed: for one reason, because this vision came with great force; for another, because of the words which He spoke to her, and also because, in the interior of her soul, where He revealed Himself to her, she had never seen any visions but this. For you must understand that there is the greatest difference between all the other visions we have mentioned and those belonging to this Mansion, and there is the same difference between the Spiritual Betrothal and the Spiritual Marriage as there is between two betrothed persons and two who are united so that they cannot be separated any more.

As I have already said, one makes these comparisons because there are no other appropriate ones, yet it must be realized that the Betrothal has no more to do with the body than if the soul were not in the body, and were nothing but spirit. Between the Spiritual Marriage and the body there is even less connection, for this secret union takes place in the deepest centre of the soul, which must be where God Himself dwells, and I do not think there is any need of a door by which to enter it. I say there is no need of a door because all that has so far been described seems to have come through the medium of the senses and faculties and this appearance of the Humanity of the Lord must do so too. But what passes in the union of the Spiritual Marriage is very different. The Lord appears in the centre of the soul, not through an imaginary, but through an intellectual vision (although this is a subtler one than that already mentioned),[225] just as He appeared to the Apostles, without entering through the door, when He said to them: "Pax vobis".[226] This instantaneous communication of God to the soul is so great a secret and so sublime a favour, and such delight is felt by the soul, that I do not know with what to compare it, beyond saying that the Lord is pleased to manifest to the soul at that moment the glory that is in Heaven, in a sublimer manner than is possible through any vision or spiritual consolation. It is impossible to say more than that, as far as one can understand, the soul (I mean the spirit of this soul) is made one with God, Who, being likewise a Spirit, has been pleased to reveal the love that He has for us by showing to certain persons the extent of that love, so that we may praise His greatness. For He has been pleased to unite Himself with His creature in such a way that they have become like two who cannot be separated from one another: even so He will not separate Himself from her.

The Spiritual Betrothal is different: here the two persons are frequently separated, as is the case with union, for, although by union is meant the joining of two things into one, each of the two, as is a matter of common observation, can be separated and remain a thing by itself. This favour of the Lord passes quickly and afterwards the soul is deprived of that companionship -- I mean so far as it can understand. In this other favour of the Lord it is not so: the soul remains all the time in that centre with its God. We might say that union is as if the ends of two wax candles were joined so that the light they give is one: the wicks and the wax and the light are all one, yet afterwards the one candle can be perfectly well separated from the other and the candles become two again, or the wick may be withdrawn from the wax. But here it is like rain falling from the heavens into a river or a spring; there is nothing but water there and it is impossible to divide or separate the water belonging to the river from that which fell from the heavens. Or it is as if a tiny streamlet enters the sea, from which it will find no way of separating itself, or as if in a room there were two large windows through which the light streamed in: it enters in different places but it all becomes one.

Perhaps when St. Paul says: "He who is joined to God becomes one spirit with Him,"[227] he is referring to this sovereign Marriage, which presupposes the entrance of His Majesty into the soul by union. And he also says: Mihi vivere Christus est, mori lucrum.228 This, I think, the soul may say here, for it is here that the little butterfly to which we have referred dies, and with the greatest joy, because Christ is now its life.

This, with the passage of time, becomes more evident through its effects; for the soul clearly understands, by certain secret aspirations, that it is endowed with life by God. Very often these aspirations are so vehement that what they teach cannot[229] possibly be doubted: though they cannot be described, the soul experiences them very forcibly. One can only say that this feeling is produced at times by certain delectable words which, it seems, the soul cannot help uttering, such as: "O life of my life, and sustenance that sustaineth me!" and things of that kind. For from those Divine breasts, where it seems that God is ever sustaining the soul, flow streams of milk, which solace all who dwell in the Castle; it seems that it is the Lord's will for them to enjoy all that the soul enjoys, so that, from time to time, there should flow from this mighty river, in which this tiny little spring is swallowed up, a stream of this water, to sustain those who in bodily matters have to serve the Bridegroom and the bride. And just as a person suddenly plunged into such water would become aware of it, and, however unobservant he might be, could not fail to become so, the same thing may be said, with even greater confidence, of these operations to which I refer. For just as a great stream of water could never fall on us without having an origin somewhere, as I have said, just so it becomes evident that there is someone in the interior of the soul who sends forth these arrows and thus gives life to this life, and that there is a sun whence this great light proceeds, which is transmitted to the faculties in the interior part of the soul. The soul, as I have said, neither moves from that centre nor loses its peace, for He Who gave His peace to the Apostles when they were all together[230] can give peace to the soul.

It has occurred to me that this salutation of the Lord must mean much more than the mere words suggest, as must also His telling the glorious Magdalen to go in peace;[231] for the words of the Lord are like acts wrought in us, and so they must have produced some effect in those who were already prepared to put away from them everything corporeal and to leave the soul in a state of pure spirituality, so that it might be joined with Uncreated Spirit in this celestial union. For it is quite certain that, when we empty ourselves of all that is creature and rid ourselves of it for the love of God, that same Lord will fill our souls with Himself. Thus, one day, when Jesus Christ was praying for His Apostles (I do not know where this occurs),[232] He asked that they might become one with the Father and with Him, even as Jesus Christ our Lord is in the Father and the Father is in Him. I do not know what greater love there can be than this. And we shall none of us fail to be included here, for His Majesty went on to say: "Not for them alone do I pray, but also for all who believe in Me"[233]; and again: "I am in them."[234]

Oh, God help me! How true are these words and how well the soul understands them, for in this state it can actually see their truth for itself. And how well we should all understand them were it not for our own fault! The words of Jesus Christ our King and Lord cannot fail; but, because we ourselves fail by not preparing ourselves and departing from all that can shut out this light, we do not see ourselves in this mirror into which we are gazing and in which our image is engraved.[235]

Let us now return to what we were saying. When Our Lord brings the soul into this Mansion of His, which is the centre of the soul itself (for they say that the empyrean heaven, where Our Lord is, does not move like the other heavens), it seems, on entering, to be subject to none of the usual movements of the faculties and the imagination, which injure it and take away its peace. I may seem to be giving the impression that, when the soul reaches the state in which God grants it this favour, it is sure of its salvation and free from the risk of backsliding. But that is not my meaning, and whenever I treat of this matter and say that the soul seems to be in safety I should be understood as meaning for so long as the Divine Majesty holds it thus by the hand and it does not offend Him. At all events, I know for certain that, even when it finds itself in this state, and even if the state has lasted for years, it does not consider itself safe, but goes on its way with much greater misgiving than before and refrains more carefully from committing the smallest offence against God. It is also strongly desirous of serving Him, as will be explained later on, and is habitually afflicted and confused when it sees how little it is able to do and how great is the extent of its obligations, which is no small cross to it and a very grievous penance; for the harder the penance which this soul performs, the greater is its delight. Its real penance comes when God takes away its health and strength so that it can no longer perform any. I have described elsewhere the great distress which this brings, but it is much greater here. This must be due to the nature of the ground in which the soul is planted, for a tree planted by the streams of water is fresher and gives more fruit,[236] so how can we marvel at the desires of this soul, since its spirit is verily made one with the celestial water of which we have been speaking?

Returning to what I was saying, it must not be thought that the faculties and senses and passions are always in this state of peace, though the soul itself is. In the other Mansions there are always times of conflict and trial and weariness, but they are not of such a kind as to rob the soul of its peace and stability -- at least, not as a rule. This "centre" of our soul, or "spirit," is something so difficult to describe, and indeed to believe, that I think, sisters, as I am so bad at explaining myself, I will not subject you to the temptation of disbelieving what I say, for it is difficult to understand how the soul can have trials and afflictions and yet be in peace. I want to put before you one or two comparisons: God grant they may be of some value, but, if they are not, I know that what I have said is the truth.

A king is living in His palace: many wars are waged in his kingdom and many other distressing things happen there, but he remains where he is despite them all. So it is here: although in the other Mansions there are many disturbances and poisonous creatures, and the noise of all this can be heard, nobody enters this Mansion and forces the soul to leave it; and, although the things which the soul hears cause it some distress, they are not of a kind to disturb it or to take away its peace, for the passions are already vanquished, and thus are afraid to enter there because to do so would only exhaust them further. Our whole body may be in pain, yet if our head is sound the fact that the body is in pain will not cause it to ache as well. These comparisons make me smile and I do not like them at all, but I know no others. Think what you will; what I have said is the truth.


Treats of the striking effects produced by this prayer aforementioned. It is necessary to observe and remember the effects it produces, for the difference between them and those already described is remarkable.

As we are saying, then, this little butterfly has now died, full of joy at having found rest, and within her lives Christ. Let us see what her new life is like, and how different it is from her earlier one, for it is by the effects which result from this prayer that we shall know if what has been said is true. As far as I can understand, the effects are these.

First, there is a self-forgetfulness which is so complete that it really seems as though the soul no longer existed, because it is such that she has neither knowledge nor remembrance that there is either heaven or life or honour for her, so entirely is she employed in seeking the honour of God. It appears that the words which His Majesty addressed to her have produced their effect -- namely, that she must take care of His business and He will take care of hers.[237] And thus, happen what may, she does not mind in the least, but lives in so strange a state of forgetfulness that, as I say, she seems no longer to exist, and has no desire to exist -- no, absolutely none -- save when she realizes that she can do something to advance the glory and honour of God, for which she would gladly lay down her life.

Do not understand by this, daughters, that she neglects to eat and sleep (though having to do this is no little torment to her), or to do anything which is made incumbent upon her by her profession. We are talking of interior matters: as regards exterior ones there is little to be said. Her great grief is to see that all she can do of her own strength is as nothing. Anything that she is capable of doing and knows to be of service to Our Lord she would not fail to do for any reason upon earth.

The second effect produced is a great desire to suffer, but this is not of such a kind as to disturb the soul, as it did previously. So extreme is her longing for the will of God to be done in her that whatever His Majesty does she considers to be for the best: if He wills that she should suffer, well and good; if not, she does not worry herself to death as she did before.

When these souls are persecuted again, they have a great interior joy, and much more peace than in the state described above. They bear no enmity to those who ill-treat them, or desire to do so. Indeed they conceive a special love for them, so that, if they see them in some trouble, they are deeply grieved and would do anything possible to relieve them; they love to commend them to God, and they would rejoice at not being given some of the honours which His Majesty bestows upon them if their enemies might have them instead and thus be prevented from offending Our Lord.

What surprises me most is this. You have already seen what trials and afflictions these souls have suffered because of their desire to die and thus to enjoy Our Lord. They have now an equally strong desire to serve Him, and to sing His praise, and to help some soul if they can. So what they desire now is not merely not to die but to live for a great many years and to suffer the severest trials, if by so doing they can become the means whereby the Lord is praised, even in the smallest thing. If they knew for certain that, on leaving the body, they would have fruition of God, their attitude would not be affected, nor is it altered when they think of the glory which belongs to the saints, for they do not desire as yet to attain this. Their conception of glory is of being able in some way to help the Crucified, especially when they see how often people offend Him and how few there are who really care about His honour and are detached from everything else.

True, they sometimes forget this, turn with tender longing to the thought of enjoying God and desire to escape from this exile, especially when they see how little they are doing to serve Him. But then they turn back and look within themselves and remember that they have Him with them continually; and they are content with this and offer His Majesty their will to live as the most costly oblation they can give Him. They are no more afraid of death than they would be of gentle rapture. The explanation of this is that it is He Who gave the soul those earlier desires, accompanied by such excessive torment, that now gives it these others. May He be blessed and praised for ever.

In short, the desires of these souls are no longer for consolations or favours, for they have with them the Lord Himself and it is His Majesty Who now lives in them. His life, of course, was nothing but a continual torment and so He is making our life the same, at least as far as our desires go. In other respects, He treats us as weaklings, though He has ample fortitude to give us when He sees that we need it. These souls have a marked detachment from everything and a desire to be always either alone or busy with something that is to some soul's advantage. They have no aridities or interior trials but a remembrance of Our Lord and a tender love for Him, so that they would like never to be doing anything but giving Him praise. When the soul is negligent, the Lord Himself awakens it in the way that has been described, so that it sees quite clearly that this impulse, or whatever it is called, proceeds from the interior of the soul, as we said when discussing these impulses. It is now felt very gently, but it proceeds neither from the thought nor from the memory, nor can it be supposed that the soul has had any part in it. This is so usual and occurs so frequently that it has been observed with special care: just as the flames of a fire, however great, never travel downwards, but always upwards, so here it is evident that this interior movement proceeds from the centre of the soul and awakens the faculties.

Really, were there nothing else to be gained from this way of prayer but our realization of God's special care for us in His communing with us and of the way He keeps begging us to dwell with Him (for He seems to be doing nothing less), I believe that all trials would be well endured if they led to the enjoyment of these gentle yet penetrating touches of His love. This, sisters, you will have experienced, for I think that, when the soul reaches the Prayer of Union, the Lord begins to exercise this care over us if we do not neglect the keeping of His commandments. When this experience comes to you, remember that it belongs to this innermost Mansion, where God dwells in our souls, and give Him fervent praise, for it is He who sends it to you, like a message, or a letter, written very lovingly and in such a way that He would have you alone be able to understand what He has written and what He is asking of you in it.[238] On no account must you fail to answer His Majesty, even if you are busy with exterior affairs and engaged in conversation. It may often happen that Our Lord will be pleased to bestow this secret favour upon you in public, as your reply must needs be an interior one, it will be very easy for you to do what I say and make an act of love or exclaim with Saint Paul: "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?"[239] Then He will show you many ways of pleasing Him. For now is the accepted time: He seems indeed to be listening to us and this delicate touch almost always prepares the soul to be able to do, with a resolute will, what He has commanded it.

The difference between this Mansion and the rest has already been explained. There are hardly any of the periods of aridity or interior disturbance in it which at one time or another have occurred in all the rest, but the soul is almost always in tranquility. It is not afraid that this sublime favour may be counterfeited by the devil but retains the unwavering certainty that it comes from God. For, as has been said, the senses and faculties have no part in this: His Majesty has revealed Himself to the soul and taken it with Him into a place where, as I believe, the devil will not enter, because the Lord will not allow him to do so; and all the favours which the Lord grants the soul here, as I have said, come quite independently of the acts of the soul itself, apart from that of its having committed itself wholly to God.

So tranquilly and noiselessly does the Lord teach the soul in this state and do it good that I am reminded of the building of Solomon's temple, during which no noise could be heard; just so, in this temple of God, in this Mansion of His, He and the soul alone have fruition of each other in the deepest silence. There is no reason now for the understanding to stir, or to seek out anything, for the Lord Who created the soul is now pleased to calm it and would have it look, as it were, through a little chink, at what is passing. Now and then it loses sight of it and is unable to see anything; but this is only for a very brief time. The faculties, I think, are not lost here; it is merely that they do not work but seem to be dazed.

And I am quite dazed myself when I observe that, on reaching this state, the soul has no more raptures (accompanied, that is to say, by the suspension of the senses),[240] save very occasionally, and even then it has not the same transports and flights of the spirit. These raptures, too, happen only rarely, and hardly ever in public as they very often did before.[241] Nor have they any connection, as they had before, with great occasions of devotion; if we see a devotional image or hear a sermon, it is almost as if we had heard nothing, and it is the same with music. Previously, the poor little butterfly was always so worried that everything frightened her and made her fly away. But it is not so now, whether because she has found her rest, or because the soul has seen so much in this Mansion that it can be frightened at nothing, or because it no longer has that solitude which it was wont to have, now that it is enjoying such companionship. Well, sisters, I do not know what the reason may be, but, when the Lord begins to reveal the contents of this Mansion and brings souls into it, they lose the great weakness which was such a trial to them and of which previously they could not rid themselves. Perhaps the reason is that the Lord has so greatly strengthened and dilated and equipped the soul, or it may be that, for reasons which His Majesty alone knows, He was anxious to make a public revelation of His secret dealings with such souls, for His judgments surpass all that we can imagine here on earth.

These effects God bestows, together with all those other good effects already described in the above-mentioned degrees of prayer, when the soul approaches Him, and He also gives the soul that kiss for which the Bride besought Him; for I understand it to be in this Mansion that that petition is fulfilled. Here to this wounded hart are given waters in abundance. Here the soul delights in the tabernacle of God.[242] Here the dove sent out by Noe to see if the storm is over finds the olive-branch[243] -- the sign that it has discovered firm ground amidst the waters and storms of this world.

Oh, Jesus! If only one knew how many things there are in Scripture which describe this peace of the soul! My God, since Thou seest how needful it is for us, do Thou inspire Christians to desire to seek it; take it not, by Thy mercy, from those to whom Thou hast given it, and who, until Thou give them true peace and take them where peace will never end, must always live in fear. I say "true" peace, not because I think this peace is not true, but because in this life war might always begin again if we were to withdraw from God.

And what will be the feeling of these souls when they realize that they might lack so great a blessing? The thought makes them walk the more warily and endeavour to bring strength out of their weakness, so as not to be responsible for losing any opportunity which might offer itself to them of pleasing God better. The more they are favoured by God, the more timorous and fearful do they become concerning themselves, and as they have learned more about their own wretchedness by comparing it with His greatness and their sins are now so much more serious to them, they often go about, like the Publican, without daring to lift up their eyes.[244] At other times, they long to reach the end of their lives so as to be in safety, though they are soon anxious again to live longer so that they may serve Him because of the love which they bear Him, as has been said, and they trust all that concerns themselves to His mercy. Sometimes the many favours they receive leave them overwhelmed, and afraid lest they be like an overladen ship sinking to the bottom of the sea.

I assure you, sisters, that they have no lack of crosses, but these do not unsettle them or deprive them of their peace. The few storms pass quickly, like waves of the sea, and fair weather returns, and then the Presence of the Lord which they have within them makes them forget everything. May He be for ever blessed and praised by all His creatures. Amen.


Concludes by describing what appears to be Our Lord's aim in granting the soul such great favours and says how necessary it is for Martha and Mary to walk in each other's company. This chapter is very profitable.

You must not take it, sisters, that the effects which I have described as occurring in these souls are invariably present all the time; it is for this reason that, whenever I have remembered to do so, I have referred to them as being present "habitually". Sometimes Our Lord leaves such souls to their own nature, and when that happens, all the poisonous things in the environs and mansions of this castle seem to come together to avenge themselves on them for the time during which they have not been able to have them in their power.

It is true that this lasts only for a short time -- for a single day, or a little longer, at the most -- and in the course of the ensuing turmoil, which as a rule is the result of some chance happening, it becomes clear what the soul is gaining from the good Companion Who is with it. For the Lord gives it great determination, so that it will on no account turn aside from His service and from its own good resolutions. On the contrary, these resolutions seem to increase, and so the soul will not make the slightest move which may deflect it from its resolve. This, as I say, happens rarely, but Our Lord's will is for the soul not to forget what it is -- for one reason, so that it may always be humble; for another, so that it may the better realize what it owes to His Majesty and what a great favour it is receiving, and may praise Him.

Do not, of course, for one moment imagine that, because these souls have such vehement desires and are so determined not to commit a single imperfection for anything in the world, they do not in fact commit many imperfections, and even sins. Not intentionally, it is true, for the Lord will give such persons very special aid as to this: I am referring to venial sins, for from mortal sins, as far as they know, they are free, though they are not completely proof against them; and the thought that they may commit some without knowing it will cause them no small agony. It also distresses them to see so many souls being lost; and, although on the one hand they have great hopes of not being among them, yet, when they remember some whom the Scriptures describe as having been favoured of the Lord -- like Solomon, who enjoyed such converse with His Majesty[245] -- they cannot, as I have said, but be afraid. And let whichever of you feels surest of herself fear most, for, says David, "Blessed is the man that feareth God."[246] May His Majesty always protect us; let us beseech Him to do so, that we may not offend Him; this is the greatest security that we can have. May He be for ever praised. Amen.

It will be a good thing, sisters, if I tell you why it is that the Lord grants so many favours in this world. Although you will have learned this from the effects they produce, if you have observed them, I will speak about it further here, so that none of you shall think that He does it simply to give these souls pleasure. That would be to make a great error. For His Majesty can do nothing greater for us than grant us a life which is an imitation of that lived by His Beloved Son. I feel certain, therefore, that these favours are given us to strengthen our weakness, as I have sometimes said here, so that we may be able to imitate Him in His great sufferings.

We always find that those who walked closest to Christ Our Lord were those who had to bear the greatest trials. Consider the trials suffered by His glorious Mother and by the glorious Apostles. How do you suppose Saint Paul could endure such terrible trials? We can see in his life the effects of genuine visions and of contemplation coming from Our Lord and not from human imagination or from the deceit of the devil. Do you imagine that he shut himself up with his visions so as to enjoy those Divine favours and pursue no other occupation? You know very well that, so far as we can learn, he took not a day's rest, nor can he have rested by night, since it was then that he had to earn his living[247] I am very fond of the story of how, when Saint Peter was fleeing from prison, Our Lord appeared to him and told him to go back to Rome and be crucified. We never recite the Office on his festival, in which this story is found, without my deriving a special consolation from it.[248] How did Saint Peter feel after receiving this favour from the Lord? And what did he do? He went straight to his death; and the Lord showed him no small mercy in providing someone to kill him.

Oh, my sisters, how little one should think about resting, and how little one should care about honours, and how far one ought to be from wishing to be esteemed in the very least if the Lord makes His special abode in the soul. For if the soul is much with Him, as it is right it should be, it will very seldom think of itself; its whole thought will be concentrated upon finding ways to please Him and upon showing Him how it loves Him. This, my daughters, is the aim of prayer: this is the purpose of the Spiritual Marriage, of which are born good works and good works alone.

Such works, as I have told you, are the sign of every genuine favour and of everything else that comes from God. It will profit me a little if I am alone and deeply recollected, and make acts of love to Our Lord and plan and promise to work wonders in His service, and then, as soon as I leave my retreat and some occasion presents itself, I do just the opposite. I was wrong when I said it will profit me little, for anyone who is with God must profit greatly, and, although after making these resolutions we may be too weak to carry them out, His Majesty will sometimes grant us grace to do so, even at great cost to ourselves, as often happens. For, when He sees a very timorous soul, He sends it, much against its own will, some very sore trial the bearing of which does it a great deal of good; and later, when the soul becomes aware of this, it loses its fear and offers itself to Him the more readily. What I meant was that the profit is small by comparison with the far greater profit which comes from conformity between our deeds on the one hand and our resolutions and the words we use on the other. Anyone who cannot achieve everything at once must progress little by little. If she wishes to find help in prayer, she must learn to subdue her own will and in these little nooks of ours there will be very many occasions when you can do this.

Reflect carefully on this, for it is so important that I can hardly lay too much stress on it. Fix your eyes on the Crucified and nothing else will be of much importance to you. If His Majesty revealed His love to us by doing and suffering such amazing things, how can you expect to please Him by words alone? Do you know when people really become spiritual? It is when they become the slaves of God and are branded with His sign, which is the sign of the Cross, in token that they have given Him their freedom. Then He can sell them as slaves to the whole world, as He Himself was sold, and if He does this He will be doing them no wrong but showing them no slight favour. Unless they resolve to do this, they need not expect to make great progress. For the foundation of this whole edifice, as I have said, is humility, and, if you have not true humility, the Lord will not wish it to reach any great height: in fact, it is for your own good that it should not; if it did, it would fall to the ground. Therefore, sisters, if you wish to lay good foundations, each of you must try to be the least of all, and the slave of God, and must seek a way and means to please and serve all your companions. If you do that, it will be of more value to you than to them and your foundation will be so firmly laid that your Castle will not fall.

I repeat that if you have this in view you must not build upon foundations of prayer and contemplation alone, for, unless you strive after the virtues and practise them, you will never grow to be more than dwarfs. God grant that nothing worse than this may happen -- for, as you know, anyone who fails to go forward begins to go back, and love, I believe, can never be content to stay for long where it is.

You may think that I am speaking about beginners, and that later on one may rest: but, as I have already told you, the only repose that these souls enjoy is of an interior kind; of outward repose they get less and less, and they have no wish to get more. What is the purpose, do you suppose, of these inspirations -- or, more correctly, of these aspirations -- which I have described, and of these messages which are sent by the soul from its innermost centre to the folk outside the Castle and to the Mansions which are outside that in which it is itself dwelling? Is it to send them to sleep? No, no, no. The soul, where it now is, is fighting harder to keep the faculties and senses and every thing to do with the body from being idle than it did when it suffered with them. For it did not then understand what great gain can be derived from trials, which may indeed have been means whereby God has brought it to this state, nor did it realize how the companionship which it now enjoys would give it much greater strength than it ever had before. For if, as David says, with the holy we shall be holy,[249] it cannot be doubted that, if we are made one with the Strong, we shall gain strength through the most sovereign union of spirit with Spirit, and we shall appreciate the strength of the saints which enabled them to suffer and die.

It is quite certain that, with the strength it has gained, the soul comes to the help of all who are in the Castle, and, indeed, succours the body itself. Often the body appears to feel nothing, but the strength derived from the vigour gained by the soul after it has drunk of the wine from this cellar, where its Spouse has brought it and which He will not allow it to leave, overflows into the weak body, just as on the earthly plane the food which is introduced into the stomach gives strength to the head and to the whole body. In this life, then, the soul has a very bad time, for, however much it accomplishes, it is strong enough inwardly to attempt much more and this causes such strife within it that nothing it can do seems to it of any importance. This must be the reason for the great penances done by many saints, especially by the glorious Magdalen, who had been brought up in such luxury all her life long; there was also that hunger for the honour of his God suffered by our father Elias;[250] and the zeal of Saint Dominic and Saint Francis for bringing souls to God, so that He might be praised. I assure you that, forgetful as they were of themselves, they must have endured no little suffering.

This, my sisters, I should like us to strive to attain: we should desire and engage in prayer, not for our enjoyment, but for the sake of acquiring this strength which fits us for service. Let us not try to walk along an untrodden path, or at the best we shall waste our time: it would certainly be a novel idea to think of receiving these favours from God through any other means than those used by Him and by all His saints. Let us not even consider such a thing: believe me, Martha and Mary must work together when they offer the Lord lodging, and must have Him ever with them, and they must not entertain Him badly and give Him nothing to eat. And how can Mary give Him anything, seated as she is at His feet, unless her sister helps her? His food consists in our bringing Him souls, in every possible way, so that they may be saved and may praise Him for ever.

You will reply to me by making two observations. The first, that Mary was said to have chosen the better part[251] -- and she had already done the work of Martha and shown her love for the Lord by washing His feet and wiping them with her hair.[252] And do you think it would be a trifling mortification to a woman in her position to go through those streets -- perhaps alone, for her fervour was such that she cared nothing how she went -- to enter a house that she had never entered before and then to have to put up with uncharitable talk from the Pharisee[253] and from very many other people, all of which she was forced to endure? What a sight it must have been in the town to see such a woman as she had been making this change in her life! Such wicked people as we know the Jews to have been would only need to see that she was friendly with the Lord, Whom they so bitterly hated, to call to mind the life which she had lived and to realize that she now wanted to become holy, for she would of course at once have changed her style of dress and everything else. Think how we gossip about people far less notorious than she and then imagine what she must have suffered. I assure you, sisters, that that better part came to her only after sore trials and great mortification -- even to see her Master so much hated must have been an intolerable trial to her. And how many such trials did she not endure later, after the Lord's death! I think myself that the reason she was not granted martyrdom was that she had already undergone it through witnessing the Lord's death.[254] The later years of her life, too, during which she was absent from Him, would have been years of terrible torment; so she was not always enjoying the delights of contemplation at the Lord's feet.

The other thing you may say is that you are unable to lead souls to God, and have no means of doing so; that you would gladly do this, but, being unable to teach and preach like the Apostles, you do not know how. That is an objection which I have often answered in writing, though I am not sure if I have done so in discussing this Castle. But, as it is a thing which I think must occur to you, in view of the desires which the Lord implants in you, I will not omit to speak of it here. I told you elsewhere that the devil sometimes puts ambitious desires into our hearts, so that, instead of setting our hand to the work which lies nearest to us, and thus serving Our Lord in ways within our power, we may rest content with having desired the impossible. Apart from praying for people, by which you can do a great deal for them, do not try to help everybody, but limit yourselves to your own companions; your work will then be all the more effective because you have the greater obligation to do it. Do you imagine it is a small advantage that you should have so much humility and mortification, and should be the servants of all and show such great charity towards all, and such fervent love for the Lord that it resembles a fire kindling all their souls, while you constantly awaken their zeal by your other virtues? This would indeed be a great service to the Lord and one very pleasing to Him. By your doing things which you really can do, His Majesty will know that you would like to do many more, and thus He will reward you exactly as if you had won many souls for Him.

"But we shall not be converting anyone," you will say, "for all our sisters are good already." What has that to do with it? If they become still better, their praises will be more pleasing to the Lord, and their prayers of greater value to their neighbours. In a word, my sisters, I will end by saying that we must not build towers without foundations, and that the Lord does not look so much at the magnitude of anything we do as at the love with which we do it. If we accomplish what we can, His Majesty will see to it that we become able to do more each day. We must not begin by growing weary; but during the whole of this short life, which for any one of you may be shorter than you think, we must offer the Lord whatever interior and exterior sacrifice we are able to give Him, and His Majesty will unite it with that which He offered to the Father for us upon the Cross, so that it may have the value won for it by our will, even though our actions in themselves may be trivial.

May it please His Majesty, my sisters and daughters, to bring us all to meet where we may praise Him and to give me grace to do some of the things of which I have told you, through the merits of His Son, Who liveth and reigneth for ever, Amen. As I say this to you I am full of shame and by the same Lord I beg you not to forget this poor miserable creature in your prayers.


Although when I began to write what I have set down here it was with great reluctance, as I said at the beginning, I am very glad I did so now that it is finished, and I think my labour has been well spent, though I confess it has cost me very little. And considering how strictly you are cloistered, my sisters, how few opportunities you have of recreation and how insufficient in number are your houses, I think it will be a great consolation for you, in some of your convents, to take your delight in this Interior Castle, for you can enter it and walk about in it at any time without asking leave from your superiors.

It is true that, however strong you may think yourselves, you cannot enter all the Mansions by your own efforts: the Lord of the Castle Himself must admit you to them. So, if you meet with any resistance, I advise you not to make any effort to get in, for if you do you will displease Him so much that He will never admit you. He is a great Lover of humility. If you consider yourselves unworthy of entering even the third Mansions, He will more quickly give you the will to reach the fifth, and thenceforward you may serve Him by going to these Mansions again and again, till He brings you into the Mansion which He reserves as His own and which you will never leave, except when you are called away by the prioress, whose wishes this great Lord is pleased that you should observe as if they were His own. And even if, at her command, you are often outside these Mansions, He will always keep the door open against your return. Once you have been shown how to enjoy this Castle, you will find rest in everything, even in the things which most try you, and you will cherish a hope of returning to it which nobody can take from you.

Although I have spoken here only of seven Mansions, yet in each there are comprised many more, both above and below and around, with lovely gardens and fountains[255] and things so delectable that you will want to lose yourselves in praise of the great God Who created it in His image and likeness. If you find anything good in this book which helps you to learn to know Him better, you can be quite sure that it is His Majesty Who has said it, and if you find anything bad, that it has been said by me.

By the earnest desire that I have to be of some use in helping you to serve this my God and Lord, I beg you, in my own name, whenever you read this, to give great praise to His Majesty and beg Him to multiply His Church and to give light to the Lutherans and to pardon my sins and set me free from Purgatory, where perhaps, by the mercy of God,[256] I shall be when this is given you to read, if, after being revised by learned men, it is ever published. And if there is any error in it, that is due to my lack of understanding, for in all things I submit to what is held by the Holy Roman Catholic Church, in which I live, and protest and promise that I will both live and die. Praised and blessed for ever be God our Lord. Amen, Amen.

The writing of this was finished in the convent of Saint Joséph of Avila, in the year one thousand five hundred and seventy seven, on the vigil of Saint Andrew, to the glory of God, Who liveth and reigneth for ever and ever. Amen.

The End


[1][As has been said above, it is as Las Moradas ("The Mansions") that this book is known in Spain.]

[2]The letter [printed, in Spanish, by P. Silverio, II, 490-505] is dated September 4, 1588. The anecdote is told more briefly in Yepes' biography of St. Teresa, Bk. II, Chap. XX.

[3]Cf. The Life of Teresa of Jesus, translated and edited by E. Allison Peers; Image Books Edition, p. 62.

[4]Cf. Relations, VI (Vol. I, The Complete Works of St. Teresa, translated and edited by E. Allison Peers; Sheed and Ward, p. 334).

[5]Dilucidario del verdadero espíritu, Chap. V.

[6][A fuller exposition, in English, will be found in S.S.M., I, 162-91.]

[7]The titles are here given in the form in which they appear in the editio princeps, which is practically identical with that of the Toledo copy.

[8]See p. 23, n. 1, below.

[9]Cf. p. 264, below. Some critics write as if there were an interruption of five months during the composition of the book, but that is not what the passage says. Were it so, it would mean that the book was written in about four weeks.

[10][Cit. P. Silverio, IV, xxxvi.]

[11]Op. cit., IV, xxxvii.

[12]Op. Cit., IV, xxxviii.

[13]As a kind of sub-title St. Teresa wrote on the back of the first page of the autograph: "This treatise, called 'Interior Castle', was written by Teresa of Jesus, nun of Our Lady of Carmel to her sisters and daughters the Discalced Carmelite nuns." Below this is a note by P. Ribera (formerly attributed to Fray Luis de León) which asserts [somewhat verbosely, for which reason the full text is not here translated] that the marginal emendations in the autograph are often inconsistent with other parts of the text and in any case are inferior to the author's own words, and begs readers to respect "the words and letters written by that most holy hand". [It is noteworthy that the word "mansions (moradas: n. 18, below), by which the book is generally known in Spain, does not appear in the title or sub-title of the autograph, though it occurs in the title of each of the seven sections of the book.]

[14]Lit.: "literally."

[15]June 2, 1577.

[16]The words "Roman Catholic" are inserted by the author interlineally.

[17][Aposentos -- a rather more pretentious word than the English "room": dwellingplace, abode, apartment.]

[18][Moradas: derived from morar, to dwell, and not, therefore, absolute identical in sense with "mansions". The reference, however, is to St. John xiv, 2.]

[19]Proverbs viii, 31.

[20]Genesis i, 26.

[21]Here the Saint erased several words and inserted others, leaving the phrase as it is in the text.

[22][Moradas (see n. 18, above).]

[23]St. John ix, 2.

[24]Genesis xix, 26.

[25][Lit., "into such bestiality".] P. Gracián deletes "bestiality" and substitutes "abomination." [I think the translation in the text, however, is a more successful way of expressing what was in St. Teresa's mind: cf. St. John of the Cross's observations on "animal penances" -- penitencias de bestias -- in his Dark Night, I, vi (Complete Works, I, 365-6.)]

[26]P. Gracián corrects this to "thirty-eight years." St. John v, 5.

[27]St. Matthew vi, 21.

[28]Psalm i, 3.

[29]Lit.: "fruit", for which P. Gracián substitutes "merit."

[30]St. Teresa herself. See Relation XXIV (Vol. I, The Complete Works of St. Teresa, translated and edited by E. Allison Peers, p. 345).

[31]Psalm cxxvi, 2 [AV., cxxvii, 1].

[32]The palmito is a shrub, common in the south and east of Spain, with thick layers of leaves enclosing a succulent edible kernel.

[33][The autograph has, after the word "room", "Oh, but if it is (Uh, que si es) in (the room of) self-knowledge!" Previous editors have altered this difficult Spanish phrase to aunque sea, "not even if it is." St. Teresa's meaning however, seems to me quite clearly the opposite of this, though it is impossible to translate her exclamation literally.]

[34][Lit.: "excess is as bad as defect."]

[35][Ratero: creeping, flying low, content with a low standard.]

[36]Lit., "a million."

[37]Lit: "and had earth on his eyes."

[38]See Life, Chapter XIII and Method for the visitation of convents.

[39]Below this line St. Teresa wrote "Chapter," to which Luis de León prefixed the word "Only."

[40]Life, Chaps. XI-XIII; Way of perfection, The Complete Works of St. Teresa, Chaps. XX-XXIX.

[41][The word (guisar: "season", "dress") is a homely one: "dished up" would hardly be too colloquial a translation.]

[42][St. Luke xv, 15-16].

[43]Judges vii, 5. "With Gedeon in the Judges," adds P. Gracián in the margin, crossing out the words "I forget with whom".

[44]Life, Chap. XI.

[45][Probably a conscious reference to St. Matthew vii, 26-7.]

[46]St. Matthew xx, 22.

[47]The autograph has, not casas ("homes") but cosas ("things"). Luis de León, however, read casas and succeeding editors have followed him.

[48]St. John xx, 21.

[49]Life, Chaps. XI, XIX.

[50]Ecclesiasticus iii, 27.

[51]St. John xiv, 6.

[52]P. Gracián crossed through the bracketed words and wrote in the margin: "Both are said by St. John, Chapter xiv." [Actually the words are: "No man cometh. . . ."]

[53]St. John xiv, 9.

[54]St. Matthew x, 24.

[55]St. Matthew xxiv, 41.

[56]Psalm cxi, 1 (A.V. cxii, 1).

[57]St. John xi, 16. The last four words are a marginal addition of the author's.

[58]Gracián adds "in Heaven"; the addition is deleted by Ribera.

[59]Gracián alters this to: "some who, although they are saints [a more exact translation would be "are saintly"], yet fell," but Ribera restores St. Teresa's reading.

[60]Gracián alters this to: "we have no certainty of abandoning them and of doing, etc."

[61]The bracketed words, which St. Teresa wrote in the margin of the autograph, are crossed out with two strokes. But Ribera has written underneath them: "This is not to be deleted."

[62][A striking example of St. Teresa's untranslatably concise language. The original is: Recia obediencia ha sido! Lit.: "Rigorous obedience (it) has been!"]

[63]Gracián altered this word to "Absalom" but Ribera wrote in the margin: 'This should read 'Solomon', as the holy Mother said."

[64]Psalm cxi, 1 (A.V., cxii, 1).

[65]The autograph makes this sentence negative, but partially deletes the negative particle. Luis de León, followed by later editors, omits it.

[66]St. Matthew xix, 16-22.

[67]The phrase "like . . . Gospel" was written by St. Teresa in the margin. [No doubt she recalled the reference to St. Matthew xix, 16-22, which she had made just above.]

[68][Or this clause might mean: "yet a person who gives all that he has thinks that he gives in fullest measure." But the interpretation in the text seems preferable.]

[69][St. Luke xvii, 10.] Gracián, in a note, gives the correct authorship.

[70]"For what He has suffered for us" was substituted for the phrase by Gracián but the original text was restored by Ribera.

[71]Gracián deleted the words "I write . . . truth" but Ribera wrote in the margin: "Nothing is to be deleted, for what the Saint says is well said."

[72][Lit.: "drove me silly" -- "me traían tonta": a typically homely and forcible expression. Cf. n. 91, below.]

[73]"Very easily," added Gracián, interlinearly, but the addition is crossed out.

[74]St. Luke xxii, 42.

[75][Lit.: "the Surgeon".]

[76][The Spanish phrase means, literally, "anyone of their humour", but there is no such "saying" as this in English.]

[77]Cf. St. Teresa's definition of supernatural prayer in Relation V (Vol. I, p. 327).

[78]From the outline of St. Teresa's life, Image Books Edition, (Vol. 1, pp. 27-37), it will be seen that this computation is approximately correct. The reference is to Life, Chaps. XI-XXVII.

[79][The word is the same as is used above for "sweetness" -- i.e., contentos, but in the singular. Such word-play, as we have seen, is common in St. Teresa: in the title of this very chapter we have an identical play on contentos ("sweetness") and contento ("happiness").]




[83][Psalm cxviii, 32: "(I have run the way of thy commandments,) when thou didst enlarge my heart". A.V. cxix, 32.]


[85]The remainder of this paragraph was scored through in the autograph by Gracián and are omitted from the Córdoba copy. They are, however, quite legible.

[86][Lit.: "from how the disposition is."]

[87]Life, Chap. XII.

[88]The words in brackets were written in the margin by St. Teresa and lightly scored out. Ribera, however, adds: "Nothing to be deleted." Gracián has added, interlineally, after "imagination": "for so we women generally call it."

[89][tan tortolito, an expressive phrase: "so like a little tórtola (turtle-dove)" -- i.e. not only timid, but irresolute and apparently stupid, like an inexperienced fledgling.]

[90][Here there is a play on words difficult to render in English: the word translated both "restrain" and "uniting" is atar -- "tie", "bind."]

[91][Traíame tonta. Cf. n. 72, above.]

[92]Gracián scores out this sentence in the autograph.

[93]Canticles viii, 1. Gracián has copied in the margin of the autograph the Spanish text of Canticles viii, 1-4.

[94][The original is quite colloquial: "in the mess I have got into" or "in what I have let myself in for" would be nearer its spirit.]

[95] Psalm cxviii, 32 (A.V., cxix, 32). Cf. n. 83, above.

[96]Again, as above (n. 78), the Saint's computation is exactly correct.

[97][A very strong word, estrujarse. In its non-reflexive form, the verb means to squeeze, crush or press hard, or to extract something by so doing. The sense is, therefore, that with all our efforts we cannot squeeze out a drop of this water.]

[98]Life, Chap. XVI; Way of perfection, Chaps. XXVIII, XXIX; Relations, V.

[99]There is little doubt that St. Teresa is here using Bk. IX, Chap. VII of Francisco de Osuna's Third Spiritual Alphabet.

[100]Confessions, Bk. X, Chap. XXVII [or Soliloquies, Chap. XXXI: cf. St. John of the Cross: II, 33, 196, n. 9.]

[101][Lit.: "conscious of a gentle interior shrinking": encogimiento, the noun used, means "shrinkage", "contraction"; it should be distinguished from recogimiento, a word often used by St. Teresa and translated "recollection".]

[102]Osuna (op. cit., Bk. VI, Chap. IV) uses this simile of the hedgehog in much the same way.

[103]The reference is presumably to the famous "Eighth Counsel" of the Treatise of Prayer and Meditation [Cf. S.S.M., II, 113-14].

[104]"With his human skill", adds Gracián, interlinearly.

[105]Way of perfection, Chap. XXXI.

[106]St. Teresa had written "to discuss the effects of"' but deleted the last three words.

[107][The two Spanish words, on which St. Teresa plays so trenchantly, are added to their English equivalents so as to make the phrase intelligible.]

[108]Gracián has scored through part of this sentence in the autograph.

[109]St. Matthew xx, 16.

[110]Gracián substitutes for "are": "follow the rule of being."

[111]Gracián inserts the word "perhaps".

[112]Luis de León modifies this passage [which has been slightly paraphrased in translation, the construction in the Spanish being rather obscure], reading, after "delight": "for, although it [the soul] is in Him, according to the truth, it appears to have withdrawn so far from the body, in order to come closer to God, that I do not know, etc."

[113]"Of the soul alone", inserts Gracián, interlineally.

[114]Gracián deletes "the essence of".

[115]Gracián substitutes "understanding" for "thoughts" and adds a marginal note: "This is (to be) understood of acts of the understanding and the will, for the thoughts of the imagination are clearly seen by the devil unless God blinds him in that respect." Luis de León included the marginal note in the text of his edition but Gracián did not reproduce it in either the text or the margin of the Córdoba copy though he altered "thoughts" to "understanding".

[116]Gracián inserts the word "nature" here, interlineally.

[117][P. Silverio refers here to Way of perfection, Chap. XXXI, but I hardly think this can be meant. Perhaps the author's allusion is to the first chapter of the Fourth Mansions or possibly to something she once said viva voce.]

[118][Lit.: "a something": the Spanish is un no sé qué, an expression corresponding to the French un je ne sais quoi.]

[119]Gracián alters "as" to "as being, I think".

[120]Gracián inserts: "it thinks."

[121]Gracián amends the following phrase to read: "but that there has since remained with it, as it thinks, a certainty, etc."

[122]Gracián alters this phrase to: "which made her understand this in such a way."

[123]St. Teresa refers to this experience of hers in Life, Chap. XVIII (Image Books Edition, p. 180). Later, a favour which she received (Relations, LIV: Vol. I, p. 361.) enlightened her further on this point. According to Yepes (II, xx) she asked him for theological guidance about it just before she began the Interior Castle.

[124]The rest of this paragraph was omitted by Luis de León.

[125]Canticles i, 3; ii, 4. Gracián deletes the bracketed phrase but writes "put" above "brought".

[126]Canticles iii, 2.

[127]Here and just below Gracián has crossed out the word "centre".

[128]St. John xx, 19.

[129]"Mustard-seeds," writes Gracián, interlineally, deleting the bracketed sentence which follows and adding the words: "It is so, for I have seen it."

[130]Colossians iii, 3. Gracián deletes "for that . . . my purpose" and supplies text and source in the margin.

[131][Lit.: "Whether this be so or not." But the meaning is clear from the context.]

[132]The words "I meant . . . at all" are omitted from the editio princeps.

[133]A characteristically emphatic phrase -- en fin, fin.

[134][Cf. Ch. 1, above. The reference here is clearly to Canticles ii, 4.]

[135]St. Luke xxii, 15.

[136]St. Teresa herself.

[137]St. Teresa herself. Cf. Life, Chap. VII (Image Books Edition, p. 105).

[138][The phrase is very emphatic: Harto provecho, harto -- "exceedingly great profit, exceedingly."]

[139]St. John xi, 35.

[140]St. Teresa added here the word acullá, "yonder", which Luis de León altered to en lo susodicho, "in what is (said) above". [This affects the sense: Luis de León's alteration suggests that the silkworm is referred to, which seems to me unlikely. I take acullá to refer to the end of one's life and acá to mean "here and now".]

[141][Lit.: "to kill it ourselves." By "it", which in the Spanish can only stand for "life", is presumably meant the Pauline "old man".]

[142]Jonas iv, 6-7 [The "gourd" of A.V.]

[143]St. John xvii, 22.

[144][Encapotadas: lit., covering their faces with a cloak, muffled up. Metaphorically, the word can mean "frowning", "sullen". Here a less reprehensible meaning seems indicated.]

[145]Cf. Way of perfection, Chap. VII.

[146]The words "in . . . souls" were written by St. Teresa interlineally and "because . . . repose" were added by her in the margin.

[147][Vengan a vistas: lit., "have sight of each other", "have an interview with each other"; and, in that sense, "come together" or "meet".]

[148][This sounds contradictory, but the word "take" (tomar each time in the Spanish) is of course used in two different senses.]

[149]No fué más de una vista. [Cf. n. 147, above.]

[150]Luis de León omitted the reference to St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Society of Jesus from his edition, reading: "and other founders of Orders, all of whom, as we read, etc."

[151]Gracián deletes, and León omits, the words "and the Holy Spirit".

[152][St. Teresa is not always consistent in her use of singular and plural in referring to each stage of the Mystic Way. The translation, throughout, follows her here exactly.]

[153]St. Teresa herself: cf. Life, Chap. XXVIII.

[154]The person referred to is no doubt the author. [It was almost exactly forty years since she had professed at the Incarnation.]

[155][Lit.: "for many days"; but, as we have already seen, St. Teresa often uses that phrase vaguely.]

[156]At this point in the autograph, St. Teresa wrote the word "Chapter", evidently intending to end the first chapter of the Sixth Mansions here, but deleted it again. Luis de León treated the insertion as valid and began the new chapter with the following paragraph: he was followed by other editors until the mid-nineteenth century. The autograph, however, does not support this procedure.

[157]The author had first written: "or a lightning-flash. Although no light is seen"; but she deleted this and substituted the phrase in the text.

[158][The verb used is deshacerse, "to undo oneself", implying here the utmost effort.]

[159]A. Francisco de Santo Tomás, O.C.D., in his Médula mystica (Trat. VI, Cap. i), has a succinct description of the three types of locution referred to by St. Teresa, a classification applicable to visions also: "Some are corporeal, some imaginary and some spiritual or intellectual. Corporeal locutions are those actually heard by the physical powers of hearing. . . . Imaginary locutions are not heard in that way but the impression apprehended and received by the imaginative faculty is the same as though they had been. . . . In spiritual or intellectual locutions God imprints what He is about to say in the depth of the spirit: there is no sound, or voice, or either corporeal or imaginary representation of such, but an expression of (certain) concepts in the depth of the spirit and in the faculty of the understanding, and as this is not corporeal, but spiritual, the species, or similitudes, under which it is apprehended are not corporeal, but spiritual." Intellectual locutions, as explained by St. John of the Cross (Ascent of Mount Carmel, Book II, Chaps. XXVI-XXX), are of three kinds: successive, formal and substantial.

[160][St. Luke xxiv, 36.]

[161]Jonas iv.

[162]Josue x, 12-13.

[163][The original here interpolates two clauses, con cuanto veis, u que nos está bien, which, translated literally as "with all that you see or that it is acceptable to us", make no sense. I suspect that, if St. Teresa had re-read her work, the phrase would have been omitted or clarified. Freely it might be rendered: "wonderful as you see it to be and much as we appreciate it", or, "however many visions you see or however much we desire them", but I am not convinced that either of these translations represents the author's meaning and other paraphrases are admissible.]

[164]Life, Chap. XX; Relations, V.

[165]The phrase "assuming . . . teaches" was added by St. Teresa, in the autograph, as a marginal note.

[166]Genesis xxviii, 12.

[167]Exodus iii, 2.

[168]"Two days" adds the editio princeps. The visit was made at the beginning of 1574: see "Outline, etc.", Vol. I, p. xxxi, above.

[169]The sentence "I can . . . whole" was written by St. Teresa in the margin of the autograph.

[170][Or "some": the Spanish word, alguna, can have either a singular or a plural sense.]

[171][The "streets and the broad ways" of Canticles iii, 2.]

[172]St. John ix, 6-7.

[173]Cf. Life, Chap. XXXI [Image Books Edition, 292].

[174]This is Luis de León's emendation of the sentence in the autograph, which reads: "I do not use the word 'feigned', because those who experience them do not wish to deceive, but because [sic] they are deceived themselves." Gracián, in the Córdoba copy, emends similarly, though not identically. Both evidently express what St. Teresa meant but failed to put clearly.

[175]The mystics concur with St. Thomas in holding that ecstasy, rapture, transport, flight of the spirit, etc., are in substance one and the same, though there are accidental differences between them, as St. Teresa explains here, in Life, Chap. XX, and in Relations, V.

[176]IV, chapter ii.

[177]St. Luke xii, 28.

[178]St. Teresa received this favour at Seville about 1575-6. Cf. Relations, LI (Vol. I, The Complete Works of St. Teresa, p. 360.)

[179]Numbers xiii, 18-24.

[180][Los trabajos de este camino tan trabajoso: the word-play is intentional.]

[181][Vistas. Cf. n. 147, above.]

[182]Exodus xiv, 21-2; Josue iii, 13.

[183]In the office of this Saint the Church recalls these words of his: "Lord, if I am still necessary to Thy people, I do not refuse toil: Thy will be done."

[184][Cf. Life, Chap. XVIII: Image Books Edition, p. 168].

[185]St. Luke xv, 11-32.

[186]Life, Chap. XXII.

[187]Life, Chaps. XXII-XXIV.

[188]St. John xiv, 6.

[189]The words "the Lord . . . light" [which clearly interrupt the thought of the passage] are in the author's hand, but are marginal.

[190]St. John xiv, 6.

[191]St. John xiv, 9.

[192][I.e., the understanding.]

[193]3 Kings [A.V., 1 Kings] xviii, 30-9.

[194]Canticles iii, 3.

[195]"Or Confessions" is a marginal addition in St. Teresa's hand. The passage alluded to comes from Chapter XXXI of the Soliloquies, a work first published in Spanish at Venice in 1512 and often reprinted in Spain during the sixteenth century. A passage very similar to this will be found in the Confessions, Bk. X, Chap. VI.

[196]Foundations, Chap. VI.

[197]St. John xvi, 7.

[198]For St. Teresa's treatment of intellectual vision, see Life, Chaps. XXVII, XXVIII.

[199][Cf. Life, Chap. XXVII.]


[201]St. Matthew xxv, 41. [The abrupt change of pronoun is reproduced exactly from the Spanish.]

[202][This characteristic example of St. Teresa's word-play is allowed to stand in translation, though to English ears it may sound artificial. See Introduction, Life; Image Books Edition, pp. 20-21].

[203][Dar higas. Cf. note on this phrase, The Life of Teresa of Avila, trans. and edited, by E. Allison Peers; Image Books Edition, p. 243, n: 9. The theologian referred to was P. Báñez: cf. Life, Chap. XXIX, Foundations, Chap. VIII.]

[204]Psalm cxv, 11 [: "I said in my excess: 'Every man as a liar,'" Cf. A.V., Psalm cxvi. 11.]

[205]St. John xvii, 38.

[206]St. John iv, 7-13.

[207]The words of the parenthesis were inserted by St. Teresa in the margin of the autograph.

[208]Cf. Relations XV. [The Complete Works of St. Teresa Vol. I., p. 340. This incident took place at Salamanca in 1571. The singer was M. Isabel de Jesús. The song begins:

Let mine eyes behold Thee, Sweetest Jesu, nigh; Let mine eyes behold Thee, And at once I'll die.
[It has no verbal reference, as our text suggests, to "life not ending", but this is its general theme, as it is also that of several poems by St. Teresa herself.]

[209][Lit.: "and is dying in order to die" -- a reference, no doubt, to the poem to be found in Vol. III, The Complete Works of St. Teresa, pp. 277-9].

[210]St. Matthew xx, 22: "'Can you drink the chalice that I shall drink?' They say to Him: 'We can."'

[211]St. Luke vii, 44.

[212]Gracián altered "capable" to "prepared".

[213]"To win merit" is the Saint's marginal addition.

[214]This paragraph was considerably altered in the editio princeps.

[215]Acts ix, 8.

[216][Acts ix, 18.]

[217]Gracián reads: "vision or knowledge, born of faith."

[218]Luis de León added the following note here: "Though man in this life, if so raised by God, may lose the use of his senses and have a fleeting glimpse of the Divine Essence, as was probably the case with St. Paul and Moses and certain others, the Mother is not speaking here of this kind of vision, which, though fleeting, is intuitive and clear, but of a knowledge of this mystery which God gives to certain souls, through a most powerful light which He infuses into them, not without created species. But as this species is not corporeal, nor figured in the imagination, the Mother says that this vision is intellectual and not imaginary.

[219]Gracián reads: "grasp better, it seems."

[220]Gracián reads: "either of the body (for God is Spirit) or of the imagination.

[221]St. John xiv, 23.

[222]Gracián adds: "as they are commonly believed and heard."

[223]St. Luke x, 40.

[224]Cf. Relations, XXXV (Vol. I, The Complete Works of St. Teresa, pp. 351-2.)

[225]The words "but through an intellectual" and "although . . . mentioned" are substituted by St. Teresa for others which she has deleted.

[226]St. John xx, 19, 21.

[227]1 Corinthians vi, 17. [The Spanish has two verbs, arrimarse and allegarse, corresponding to "joined", and linked by the word "and". The Scriptural text reads: "He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit."] The whole of the passage "He who . . . by union" is St. Teresa's interlinear substitution for something deleted.

[228] Philippians i, 21: "For to me, to live is Christ; and to die is gain."

[229][Lit.: "that they cannot."] The words "that what . . . doubted" are scored through in the original -- we suspect by Gracián.

[230]St. John xx, 19, 21 [Cf. p. 214, n. 226, above.]

[231]St. Luke vi, 50.

[232]Gracián deletes the bracketed words and substitutes the Scriptural test, giving its source (St. John xvii, 21) in the margin.

[233]St. John xvii, 20.

[234]St. John xvii, 23.

[235][Cf. St. Teresa's poem on this theme, Vol. III, The Complete Words of St. Teresa, pp. 287-8.]

[236]Psalm i, 3.

[237][Cf. VII, n. 224, above;] Relations, XXXV (Vol. I, The Complete Works of St. Teresa, p. 352).

[238]In the margin of the autograph St. Teresa wrote at this point: "Cuando dice aquí: os pide, léase luego este papel." ["When you get to the words asking of you in it, go straight on to this paper."] "This paper" is no longer extant, but Luis de León evidently had it, as the rest of this paragraph, though not in the autograph, figures in his edition. It is also found, with slight modifications, in early copies.

[239]Acts ix, 6.

[240]The bracketed phrase is St. Teresa's marginal addition.

[241]Luis de León modifies this paragraph thus. After "save very occasionally" he adds, in parenthesis: "that is, as I say here, with respect to these exterior epoch of the suspension of the senses and loss of heat; but they tell me that only the accidents disappear and that interiorly there is rather an increase." He then continues: "So the raptures, in the way I describe, cease, and it [the soul] has not these raptures and Bights of the spirit; or, if it has them, only rarely, and hardly ever in public as it very often had before."

[242]Apocalypse xxi, 3.

[243]Genesis viii, 8, 9.

[244]St. Luke xviii, 13.

[245]3 Kings [A.V. 1 Kings] xi.

[246]Psalm cxi [A.V., cxii], 1.

[247]1 Thessalonians ii, 9.

[248]In the old Carmelite Breviary, which St. Teresa would have used, the Antiphon of the Magnificat at First Vespers on June 29 runs: "The Blessed Apostle Peter saw Christ coming to meet him. Adoring Him, he said: 'Lord, whither goest Thou?' 'I am going to Rome to be crucified afresh.'" The story has it that St. Peter returned to Rome and was crucified.

[249]Psalm xvii (A.V. xviii), 26.

[250]3 Kings [A.V. 1 Kings] xix, 10.

[251]St. Luke x, 42.

[252]St. Luke vii, 37-8.

[253]St. Luke vii, 39.

[254]This sentence is authentic but marginal.

[255]"And mazes", adds Luis de León. The words also occur in several copies of the autograph, including that of Toledo, but not in the autograph itself. There is reason to suppose, however, that there may have been two autographs of this epilogue.

[256]"By the mercy of God" is the Saint's marginal addition.

The End