SOLD! At last! The day is almost here. We are finally moving, after a very challenging year of “camping out” in a sparsely furnished rental. I am presently so immersed in the world of buying and selling real estate that everytime I pass a “For Sale” sign I say a prayer not only for the seller but also for the potential buyer. They are the answer to each other’s prayers.
Recently while on a drive, this particular sign caught my eye. I could not help but see the cross and the words, ”I’m Beautiful Inside” and make a connection. Wow! What a statement! We should all wear these signs around our necks...and try our very best to reflect that truth.
St. Teresa of Avila, in her classic Interior Castles, compares a Christian’s soul to a mansion or castle made of a single crystal but having seven layers or rooms. At the very center or interior the Trinity dwells, deep within our being. She writes that the only way to enter into the crystal mansion and journey our way to the center is through the doorway of prayer.
She states that within each Christian lies the most exquisite interior. If we were to only pull back the many layers of self-centeredness, manifesting themselves through pride, vanity and sensuality, and all that flow from them, we would get a glimpse (and if we are truly blessed, a bit more) of all that awaits us in heaven...complete union with God. But how many of us are more concerned about our EXTERIOR PAINT JOB than we are about our deepest interior--the place that is truly a “Holy of Holies” inside our own being?
St. Teresa warns:
“Rarely do we reflect upon what gifts our souls may possess, Who dwells within them, or how extremely precious they are. Therefore we do little to preserve their beauty; all our care is concentrated on our bodies, which are but the course setting of the diamond, or the outer walls of the castle.” (From The Interior Castle or The Mansions by St. Teresa of Avila ch.i, 3.)
So how can we tap into this beautiful interior, allowing the very essence of God to begin to flow from the inside out? We do our P. A. R. T. S...
pray. Ask God to give us a desire to get to know Him. Ask Him for a hunger that only He can satisfy.
awaken. Get up early. It sounds crazy, but I promise-- God truly blesses our efforts to try to meet with Him. It is like serving Him breakfast in bed (though He does not “slumber or sleep”). He can’t resist this act of faith.
read. Start with a psalm or the daily Mass readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/052615.cfm or
download Laudate (free Catholic App for phone)
Ask God to speak to you through this reading--maybe only a word or a sentence that you can hang on to and dwell on during the day. Ask that it spur you to action in some way.
tell. Talk to God. Let Him know what is on your heart-- your needs, wants, desires.
soak. Just sit and be quiet. Picture yourself sitting in His light and just soaking up the rays. You do not need to speak. Just rest quietly and let His love penetrate your deepest being.
Before you know it, the “Beautiful Inside” --God in all His glory-- will begin to transform you and make for you an amazing outside. Your face will begin to brighten with the Light from within. I have seen it happen, first hand, and what I tell you is true.
This is all God’s doing. We are just responding to His invitation of grace. This little piece of real estate within could truly only be described in one way...
“... for He has a dwelling-place in Heaven, so has He in the soul, where none but He may abide and which may be termed a second Heaven.” (St. Teresa The Interior Castle, ch. vii,3)
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:19
Wow! I am amazed when I think that YOU! The King of GLORY- live inside of ME!? It makes me want to ask… “What were You thinking???!” How? Why? I am so unworthy! It makes me want to repent and say I am sorry for being such a rotten host! Oh Lord, please forgive me and all of my “unheavenly” ways. I want You to feel welcomed, loved, and at home inside of me. I want You to transform me into the kind of home You feel comfortable in and are glorified through my actions, words, thoughts, deeds, etc. in. Oh Lord...only YOU could do this in me. I am so wretched and unable...and You... the Master Creator, so lovingly, patiently and tenderly dwell within me so that I can wear the sign…”I’m beautiful Inside” all by Your grace and to Your glory. Please dear Lord, show me more and more of You… turn my eyes towards You and increase my desire to want to know and become One with You, so that You may increase and I may decrease.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.