Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Holy Solitude in the Interior Castle

I wasn't trying for the award for most pretentious title, but I might have won it with that one. Another Lent has come around, and my chosen devotional is called Holy Solitude: Lenten Reflections with Saints, Hermits, Prophets, and Rebels by Heidi Haverkamp. It seems like every time I pick up a study there is some reference to Teresa of Avila's book, The Interior Castle. I know it's a masterpiece which is why I've read it several times over the past 20 years, but I just don't get it. I'm going to try again. On this Ash Wednesday, the author suggests drawing our interior castle. Here's my attempt.
Maybe I chose this book because solitude is my happy place. It fits my introverted (selfish?) idea of a good day spent alone eating popcorn and reading a book after a nice long walk on the trail. I think the author gets this because we share a fantasy of living alone in a little house. Even as a child, my friend Kim had a playhouse in her back yard that I wanted to move into. It was the mother of all playhouses, with steps leading up to a tiny porch and real windows that opened, but still. The author, (can I just call her Heidi?) points out that that scripture doesn't generally encourage solitude. We're reminded that it's warmer in the bed with two people (Eccl 4:10-11) and that living alone is self-indulgent and lacking in sound judgement (Prov. 18:1), but solitude has its place. If I thought this was going to be easy, I should have read a little further to see that Heidi recommends fasting and almsgiving, too. I tried to fast from last night's supper until tonight's, but a friend surprised me at a campus event with Valentine cookies, and I'm pretty sure that Jesus said that the one rule of fasting is to not be a jerk about it. I don't know if I was really thinking about Jesus, but I decided to be gracious and accept the cookie. It was delicious.

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