As I continue to read The Interior Castle, I realize my language of surrender was not nearly as appropriate as the language of a journey. Further into Teresa’s work and one grows accustomed to the language and the density of her words, by which I mean she does not waste this tool of language. Certainly the journey she talks of is one rarely travelled, but it does not mean the believer cannot garner something from her words on the life of prayer and earnest seeking of the divine. I have to also say, even though her audience was her sisters, there is much in her work of relevance to all who profess Christ and her example of the faith of St. Augustine makes her voice relevant to men as well as the nuns she addresses.
Yes, surrender was not entirely appropriate language to use, but struggle is. And the struggle is mighty! She advices one to not so much to seek the futility of fleeing their thoughts as training their conscience and she argues that one’s health is not to be ignored, though I know she was quite ill when writing this work.
One of the things that has been difficult to ignore, though I try, is to study the history of her order and the struggles she faced. There will be time for that later. For now, it is enough to complete her work in these days off and to let her advice take hold.
Today I should get out having spent yesterday on reading and more mundane tasks. If I complete The Interior Castle, I will also consider picking up Either/Or once more. This defense of Aristotle and refutation of Hegel is also a dense read, but its emphasis on human freedom and agapic love also provides me with much to affirm and protest.