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Maria V. Gallagher discovers the spiritual gems in Dan Burke's new book The Devil in the Castle.

As we round the bend toward Easter, we may have encountered some stumbling blocks along our Lenten path. Thankfully, the good God always stands ready to forgive—completely and lovingly.

But it is also important for us to realize what may be holding us back on the road to holiness. It could be that we are faltering because of our encounters with the enemy of our souls.

That is why I was so eager to read the new book The Devil in the Castle: St. Teresa of Avila, Spiritual Warfare, and the Progress of the Soul by Dan Burke. Burke is a gifted spiritual writer—I have read a number of his previous works, and have found him so helpful in guiding me in the spiritual life.


devil in the castle


His latest work does not disappoint. The Devil in the Castle offers a battle plan to assist us to attain a closer relationship with God. The book focuses on what is considered to be St. Teresa’s seminal work, The Interior Castle.

Burke writes,

St. Teresa gives a map to the treasure in the heart of the castle, and along the way, she points out clearly where the devil is lying in wait and how he is most likely to reveal himself.

The devil’s sole aim is to prevent each soul from reaching the goal, and he disguises himself in the process. He will make every effort to waylay you: to get you to pause, to walk another (easier) path, to give up, or to believe what is good is actually bad, or vice versa.


Burke deftly describes the battles of each of the seven mansions elucidated by St. Teresa. He points out the demonic goal, key tactics of the enemy, and how to counter those tactics successfully.

For instance, in the first mansion, the demonic goal is to “keep you out of the interior castle and keep you from understanding what it means to be an authentic disciple of Jesus…” The devil’s tactics include distracting the seeker through discouragement, worries, and fears.

We can respond through faithful reception of the Holy Eucharist, regular Confession, daily mental prayer, and a nightly examination of the ways we have fallen short of the glory of God.

Burke also offers this spiritual encouragement: “As you commit to fight the battle and develop foundational spiritual disciplines, you will get better at fighting. As you draw nearer to the One who conquers all, you grow more aware of yourself, of God, and of the enemy, and thus become less susceptible to attacks and deceptions.”

In addition, Burke provides resources for our continued spiritual growth. These include not only book recommendations, but also guides for a daily examen and periodic Confession (the Sacrament of Reconciliation is recommended at least once a month).

Practical yet also transcendent, The Devil in the Castle is a helpful guide for overcoming temptation and journeying closer to the heart of the spiritual castle, where God can be found.    


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Copyright 2022 Maria V. Gallagher
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