By Lenora Grimaud

There are many rooms in my Father’s house;
if there were not, I should have told you. John 14:2

As I reflect on “Our Father’s House,” I am also reminded of St. Teresa’s book, “The Interior Castle.” She describes this castle as having seven rooms. Each room corresponds with the state of being of those who dwell in that room, in regards to their relationship with God—the degree of their union with God. Her book is primarily about mystical prayer; degrees of contemplation and prayer. Those who dwell in the Seventh Mansion, are holy and purified. Teresa’s Castle is an Interior Castle within every soul. My reflection on Our Father’s House is about an Exterior Castle that encompasses all of creation—the whole earth and the material world.

I see this mansion as having many, many rooms, and outer court yards. The whole estate is protected by a wall all around it. Each room has a different degree of light; the rooms closest to the center of the mansion—closest to the Holy Trinity—have the most light; the fullness of light. Outside the walls, there is complete darkness and a great multitude of evil spirits. Each room is occupied by a mixture of many people—Catholics, Protestants, Non-Christians, and even Agnostics. Those who dwell in the outer courtyards are mostly Atheists. They only receive the light that radiates out from the Mansion. This is not necessarily their fault, but due to the place that was prepared for them by the providence of God. There are also inhabitants in the outer courts who are called to be Sentries—to alert the household in case of invasion of hostile enemies. They have a special kind of light that enables them to move back and forth, from the courtyard to the inner rooms. They have “eyes to see,” a great gift of discernment of spirits. The Atheists see the intruders, as well, but have no spiritual discernment, and so they are quick to befriend everyone.

Every room in this great mansion has a purpose, and is significant—a necessary part of God’s plan and purpose for creation. Within every room, there are good people and bad, saints and sinners, even though some rooms have more light than others. No one is better or more worthy than anyone else, regardless of what room they occupy. The dwelling place for each person is according to God’s will and plan; it is not dependent on a person’s holiness, goodness, or worth. It is the providence of God that has prepared a room for every person to occupy. (Each one of us, however, has been given his own share of grace, given as Christ allotted it. Eph. 4:7). Every room has a different measure of grace that is given to the inhabitants, and corresponds with what they are able to receive. The light within each of the rooms represents the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is not a reward for personal sanctity or holiness. It is given for the common good of all the inhabitants. Those who dwell in the inner-most rooms have the opportunity for a personal relationship with the Holy Trinity. The Trinity is revealed to them because they live so close to the center. Those who respond to that inner call, call God, “Abba Father.” They are a prophetic voice and light, sent out in the name of Jesus, for the whole Mansion. These are all the Saints, who have been transformed through their union with God. They have more light than those who occupy the other rooms, and are able to enlighten all the others. Not everyone in the inner chamber, responds to the opportunity that is given to them, however. Not everyone accepts the invitation to enter into a personal relationship with the Holy Trinity. Not everyone is sanctified and transformed into the image of Christ, by the Holy Spirit.

God is not limited to the Holy of Holies. God is present throughout the whole Mansion, the outer courtyard, and even beyond the outer walls. But, he is not visible everywhere. Not everyone has the light to perceive the presence of God, or to know him. God meets every person right where they are at, in whatever room they dwell in. When they receive the grace given to them, God can choose to move them from room to room, or leave them in the same room, according to his divine plan. Those who do not respond to grace become rigid, fixed in place, and unable to grow. They turn to stone.

I see cracks within the surrounding walls of the Mansion. Darkness and evil spirits, are seeping into the outer courts, and even into some of the rooms within the Mansion, attacking the inhabitants of those dwelling places.

Evil is not limited to the outer rooms. Evil spirits who are disguised as “Angels of light” can infiltrate all of the rooms. However, the inhabitants of those rooms that are closest to the Trinity have the discernment needed to distinguish between good and evil. Nevertheless, there are people who dwell in the outer courts and outer rooms who are holier than some who dwell in the inner rooms, even though they do not have as much light. This is because they love more and respond to the grace that they receive. They remain in union with God through their will to love and to do good. Although they do not see, they believe. They may become victims or prisoners of the evil spirits and powers, but their will remains free. They can be deceived, but they will to love. If they sin, they are less culpable than those who have more light. On the other hand, there are some who dwell in the inner chambers who have little love and gratitude, even though they have been given much. They refuse to leave their room—to go out to others in order to heal, deliver, enlighten, and to rebuild the walls. They refuse the invitation to a personal relationship with the Holy Trinity because they are too enamored with their own self.

Christians in the inner rooms are called to deliver and repair, not to tear down and destroy all the other rooms and its inhabitants. They may have to tear down some of the outer walls in order to rebuild it, but they must rely on the authority and guidance of the “Master Builder” to do it. These Christians are not called to judge those who dwell in other rooms, only to enlighten—with love. They are called to heal those who want to be healed. They are called to deliver only those who ask for it, or those whom God tells them to deliver. Their authority and power comes from God, alone. They are called to “repair the breach”—to rebuild the walls. They are called to cast out the evil spirits and dispel the darkness with their light. Those in the inner room, closest to the Holy of Holies, are called to be a leaven throughout the whole estate—not to bring everyone into the inner room—only God can do that.

The Holy of Holies is the doorway into the Kingdom of God on earth. Those who dwell in this inner sanctuary are not there because they deserve to be there, or because they have earned the right to be there. They are not there because they are better than those who dwell in other rooms, or because they are more loved by God. They are there because God chose them for a mission—to establish the Kingdom of God throughout all the earth. Those who inhabit this room are called to take the Kingdom of God into all the other rooms. They are called to union with the Holy Trinity, and to take the Trinity into all the other rooms with them; to take the Eucharist into all the other rooms; to take the light from the Holy of Holies into all the other rooms; to bring everyone in Our Father’s House into a personal relationship with God—right where they are at. They are called to reflect the light—to go out into all the rooms and courtyard—to heal and enlighten all the inhabitants throughout Our Father’s House, and the courtyard.

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