Mysticism In St. Teresa

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In one of the most compelling pieces of Christian mysticism, St. Teresa of Avila brings the reader on a journey through the seven mansions of her soul in which she titles as the Interior Castle. As fascinating as the journey through the mansions of St. Teresa’s soul, what is even more interesting today is how Teresa continuously balances her own authority as a writer and expert on spiritual matters with her continuously insisting on her lack of knowledge on the subject of mysticism. It may be through this constant self-correction would undermine her project, however, it does not. In fact, the self-correction makes her journey even more credible. Through her constant humility, Teresa balances her authority as a writer and expert on spiritual…show more content…
A critique may say that her self-correcting nature makes St. Teresa seem uncertain and skeptical. This would make her claims to appear questionable. However, when one looks deeply into her character and to the context of her writings, it is apparent that her self-correction in no ways undermines the goals of her writing. In fact, her constant questioning may strengthen her project. St. Teresa can be seen as modest of her experiences with God and wants to take the story seriously and would not want to undermine her project by presenting it in a true light. It is difficult for people to discuss a topic like mysticism since it is a field in which nearly all people have little or no experience in. Therefore, someone may expect self-correction from a person who had an experience of the divine because they, in fact, may be unsure of themselves about an intense experience. A reader may want to take a step back and look at St. Teresa’s self-correction as see it in a positive light. There are several possible reasons why Teresa may be constantly correcting herself throughout her work. It is important to look a the time Teresa is writing this piece. In 1577, many women were not avid writers. To gain credibility and for people to take her word seriously, she may have purposely self-corrected herself to make her appear a credible source. It is difficult to imagine that at the time that the church…show more content…
Teresa continuously doubts herself in her writings of the Interior Castle. From the first sentence, she lacks confidence in her ability to write about the mystical experiences in which she encountered. However, she constantly does so with great humility since she feels the greatness of God in what she experienced. She feels like it is her duty to write about these experiences, so great anxiety is unsurprising. Many may discredit her writings due to her uncertainty, but it is important to realize that this doubtfulness does not. Rather, Teresa is humble about her experiences and most likely does not want to draw people away by claiming she knows everything about mysticism. This humble nature of Teresa makes a reader trust Teresa rather than having Teresa be this seemingly all-knowing mystic. Constant self-correction by someone who possesses a humble character does not make their work any less credible. Her writings show us that discussing personal topics are difficult because they are uncommon experiences and often the language to describe them is missing. We should be grateful that Teresa shared these personal experiences with us considering how difficult they are for someone to comprehend and describe. For this reason, we should not discount the work of St. Teresa due to doubtfulness. Her doubtfulness allows us to take a moment to listen to what she has to say on this incredible subject and may teach us a lesson that we should be humble when teaching
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