mystics like St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross understood the
spiritual life in terms of an interior journey which leads to the ultimate
transforming union with God. In her masterpiece on the spiritual journey,
The Interior Castle, St. Teresa of Avila visualizes the human soul
as this 'Interior Castle' in the centre of which dwells Christ the King
who beckons us to go through the various mansions in the 'Interior Castle',
the mansions symbolizing the different stages of our prayer life. It is
a journey of deepening intimacy with the Lord.
When Jesus walked on earth,
he invited people to follow him, to walk with him, in order to share and
to continue his mission. We are told in Mk. 3:14-15, that the Twelve who
were chosen by him were called to be his companions, and to be sent out
to proclaim the message, with power to drive out devils. Today, Jesus continues
to extend the same invitation to us.
To accept his invitation,
requires us foremostly, to get to know him by being his companions,
by walking with him, and listening to him. We do this through personal
prayer, meditation of the scriptures, and the celebration of the sacraments,
as well as deepening our awareness of his presence in creation, in events
and in people whom we meet. Faith vision is a necessary requisite to recognize
Jesus in his various and often unexpected disguises.
St. Teresa of Avila frequently
reminds us in her writings that to grow in intimacy with the Lord calls
for us to cultivate self-knowledge and humility. Self-knowledge creates
in us a deeper awareness of our need for grace and repentance. Humility
enables us to acknowledge this need and to beseech God for the necessary
graces for conversion, and for transformation into more authentic images
As we personally experience
the Lord, we deepen our love for him. This love is translated into love
and service for humility, into commitment to proclaiming and witnessing
Christ not only through word, but even more so in our lifestyle and values,
attitudes and behaviour, and in our relationship with one another. As Jesus
reminds us: "It is by love for one another that everyone will recognize
you as my disciples" (Jn. 13:35).
To walk with Jesus then,
is to know him intimately as a friend, a brother and personal Saviour,
and in this knowing we grow to truly love him with a love that is to be
lived in authentic Christian living. In this process we come to proclaim
him to the world as Lord and Saviour, a mission entrusted to us by virtue
of our being called to be his disciples.