Book Review: The Interior Castle

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Book Review: The Interior Castle

by Teresa of Avila, Mirabai Starr (translator).

Over the past ten weeks Faber has been presenting a course which involved reading the sixteenth century spiritual classic, The Interior Castle by St Teresa of Avila.  After reading the material we came together weekly for a spiritual conversation.    This proved an enriching process with participants commenting that Mirabel Starr’s contemporary translation had opened up what had previously been a rather dense text!

The Interior Castle is probably Teresa’s most significant work and guides the spiritual seeker through the seven stages of prayer life leading to the soul’s union with the Divine. We noted commonalities between the wisdom of St Teresa and St Ignatius, which is not surprising considering the influence that Ignatius and his Jesuits had on Teresa.

Jesuit priest, Thomas Green SJ, wrote a series of spirituality books in the early 80’s in which he drew together Ignatian and Carmelite Spirituality, with particular reference to St Teresa and St John of the Cross.  It is this combination of Ignatian and Carmelite wisdom which intrigued us, both in relation to reflection on our own prayer life and our calling as Spiritual Directors. It is the modern translation of an ancient classic, that makes it possible to assimilate this knowledge into 21st century experience.

We highly recommend this book to those who are interested in exploring the original texts of the ancient mystics in contemporary language. Spiritual Directors may also find this work extremely helpful in assisting mature pray-ers in their spiritual journey.

Liz Kerr and Mary Robson, past and present JISA Faber Directors (respectively).