Since I last wrote for Contemplative Light, I’ve moved to Fort Collins. A year ago, my partner Reverend Marta Fioriti received a call to be the Associate Minister at Plymouth Congregational Church, UCC in Fort Collins. I’ve since become a hospice chaplain at Pathways Hospice. We are happy in Northern Colorado.

I am happy to have some great ministerial colleagues in Fort Collins, including Mother Krista Dias at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. I’ve done a few retreats at St. Luke’s and preached a few times there.

She is on Sabbatical this Summer. So I am leading a three-part adult education class on The Interior Castle by Teresa of Avila. We are using the translation by Mirabai Starr. We are calling it an “All Church Read.”

In this space, over the next few months, I will make some comments about the class and its themes.

This means that I will comment on each of the 7 dwellings identified by Teresa of Avila as part of the Interior Castle.

I will also spend some time commenting on the beautiful introduction by Mirabai Starr.

Why did I think The Interior Castle was a good candidate for an all-church read?

First, I am in love with this book.  Teresa employs symbols and mystical language to express something beyond description, our souls’ journey toward unity with the divine. And she uses symbols–water, serpents, movement, butterflies, marriage–that invite us to play with other images that might be possible. So it is a great invitation.

Second, Mirabai Starr’s introduction about taking the first step into this journey is so powerful that I want as many people as possible to read it. “There is a secret place. A radiant sanctuary.” So the intro begins. And it is full of poetry that lifts us into the realm of the possible.

Third, I have noticed of late that some liberals are becoming interested in things like prayer, contemplation, and mysticism. And I’ve noticed that some evangelicals are becoming interested in things like the liturgical calendar and certain holy days like Ash Wednesday and seasons like Lent. It seems people are craving *depth,* right and left. Teresa of Avila and her Interior Castle is a move toward depth.

Fourth, seekers seek. And here is how Teresa understands and speaks to this seeking: “From the center of the soul, Teresa teaches, God is calling. The driving force of our existence is our longing to find our way home to (God).” (Interior Castle, Introduction, p. 23)

Fifth, the soul, according to Teresa, is God’s dwelling place because there is no place more beautiful in all of creation. I think folks need to hear (and absorb) that, and really understand it in a powerful, deep way.

To enter the castle involves prayer and attention, humility and self-awareness.

This series, here on my page at Contemplative Light, will explore the book The Interior Castle, and the class I am teaching.

I invite you to join me on the way.

Peace, Roger Butts, Timnath, Colorado, a few days before Pentecost Sunday.

 

 

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