Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Seven Mansions-A Meditation Series on the Interior Castle

The Fifth Dwelling Place

We discussed previously that the Fourth Dwelling Place is a period of transition, because the soul is being led from meditation to contemplation.  The Fifth Dwelling Place can be described in a word: preparation. We may ask, "preparation for what?" Preparation to receive wonderful gifts from the Beloved!

The fifth mansion is an important period for the soul as well, because God is preparing her for the gift of Spiritual Betrothal in the Sixth Mansion and Spiritual Marriage in the Seventh Mansion.
St. Teresa teaches us that this dwelling place is a meeting-of-sorts between the soul and the Beloved.

The practice of the virtues will lead us into the depths of the
fifth dwelling place.

An important test, according to St. Teresa, to tell if one is experiencing true union in prayer is this: If we are giving little, there is doubt that we are experiencing true union.  We must give all in order to receive this gift. No shortcuts!

The prayer of union usually lasts a short period of time, perhaps a half-hour. The person experiences captivation and suspension of the faculties.  The hands and feet may not stir at all during prayer. The person appears not to be breathing. St. Teresa describes this soul as one dead to this world.

Signs to discern if the union is from God:
*The soul experiences great confidence that it was in God and God was in it (very important sign!)
*There are no doubts or hesitation about the experience
*Cannot be produced by human effort
*The experience is sealed on the memory. Many years may pass, but the soul cannot forget the experience and knows for certain that it experienced union with God.

Effects of the soul in union with God:
*Desire to suffer great trials
*Desire for penance-has the strength to carry them out
*Desire for solitude
*Desire that all may know and love God
*Experiences great pain when God is offended

Other effects of this union:
*Attachments to relatives, friends or wealth disappear
*Things of the world weary the soul
*The soul cannot find rest in anything but God--yet experiences deep peace.

Ways that Satan tries to prevent the Spiritual Betrothal:
*The soul grows slack through "little things"-"shortcuts"
*He darkens the intellect little by little
*The will becomes weak
*Self-love grows
*We begin to follow our own will and not God's will

St. Teresa's Admonition to the soul in this dwelling place:
*Strive always to advance-especially in charity
*Be very fearful if we are not advancing
*Love is never idle

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

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