Quote for the Day

…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.

— Teresa of Avila, The Interior Castle

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About Carl McColman

Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.

  • http://alisonleighlilly.com Alison Leigh Lilly

    I wonder what your thoughts are on the meaning of this quote, Carl? To me, this is exactly the kind of statement that made me uncomfortable when I was a Catholic – it seems so explicitly world-denying (“put away from them everything corporeal”) and dualistic (“pure spirituality” – what is that?), and required a lot of mental acrobatics to interpret it as otherwise. But maybe I’m not understanding the context? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/carlmccolman/ Carl McColman

    I was hoping somebody would bite. :-)

    Of course this is a world-denying, dualistic quote. I think it also represents Teresa, using the tools she had available to her in 16th century Catholic Spain, trying to articulate the link between meditation and heightened consciousness. It’s sad that all she had available was the terraphobic language of post-Augustinian, hyper-Platonic imperial Christianity. But I think what makes Teresa still relevant even today was how she used that dualistic language to try to describe something bigger than the “container” of her words (to use Richard Rohr’s helpful terminology).

  • http://nitecaravan.blogspot.com/ Br. Jay

    This is a fascinating quote. The insights from Alison and Carl are like icing on that cake!

  • http://www.healthyspirituality.org Jean wise

    A quote I needed to read multiple times, slowly. I also enjoyed Alison’s and Carl’s comments. Thanks for sharing today.

  • http://www.facebook.com/seekator Jay Byrd

    It seems to me that the whole reason for our sorry state of being (duality) is to learn through angst that Truth is One. We are to enter the death of our effigy through the cross whereby we break free of selfish isolation, now we enter Spiritual Truth that hides behind the objective contingencies wherein we live and move. This world is a place of time and space where we can enter the movements of new birth and grow into non duality. To overcome the lie is to become intimate with Truth, our state of new birth. It is the “good fight”, for it is only here in the fight that one has the honor of disambiguation. Only here do we have the honor of participating in grace where one can become a Spiritual veteran.

  • Andrew Dugmore

    not sure I am fully happy with this qoute. Do we really need to be rid of creature – surely the physical body is divine in it’s fullness.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/carlmccolman/ Carl McColman

      Andrew, see my reply to Alison.