The Rev. Father Peter Thomas Rohrbach, O.C.D., is a Carmelite priest and author. Born in 1926 and based in Washington, D.C., he has also served as an editor for the Catholic quarterly Spiritual Life. His Conversation with Christ, dedicated to our Lady of Mount Carmel, was first published in 1956 by Fides Published, Illinois, with the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur. Father Rohrbach's work was also printed by TAN in 2010.
Conversation With Christ: The Teachings of St. Teresa of Avila about Personal Prayerby Peter Thomas Rohrbach
"In mental prayer the soul is purified from its sins, nourished with charity, confirmed in faith, and strengthened in hope; the mind expands, the affections dilate, the heart is purified, truth becomes evident; temptation is conquered, sadness dispelled; the senses are renovated; drooping powers revive; tepidity ceases; the rust of vices disappears. Out of mental prayer issues forth, like living sparks, those desires of heaven which the soul conceives when inflamed with the fire of divine love. Sublime is the excellence of mental prayer, great are its privileges; to mental prayer heaven is opened; to mental prayer heavenly secrets are manifested and the ear of God [is] ever attentive." -St. Peter of Alcantara, Spiritual Director of St. Teresa
"What St. Teresa has done so brilliantly is to describe precisely how a person can indeed contact God through prayer. Despite her reputation as a soaring Spanish mystic, she was an eminently practical person, and that practicality shines through her teachings about prayer: she is an instructor who shows, in step-by-step fashion, how the individual can contact God and then sustain that relationship." -Peter Thomas Rohrbach
"Do not be astonished at the difficulties one meets in the way of mental prayer, and the many things to be considered in undertaking this heavenly journey. The road upon which we enter is a royal highway which leads to Heaven. Is it strange that the attainment of such a treasure should cost us something? The time will come when we shall realize that the whole world could not purchase it." -St. Teresa of Avila
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I came across this nondescript book while on spiritual retreat. I had arrived to find some peace - to learn what it is to have peace within the rushed life of New York City. The book is written in a style that is readable and understandable. More importantly, the suggestions provided by the author are DOABLE. In fact, the book's priceless value lies in its instant application. However, it challenged me to open myself up, to put my guard down. The author outlines the pitfalls a newcomer to meditation will encounter. Equally, he introduces the reader to a forgotten tradition founded in the early Church. His model for meditation is based on that of St. Teresa de Avila, the 16th c. Spanish saint and a 'Doctor of the Church.' Each chapter grounds the reader on an important distinction, key to this real-time meditation, or a particular step of the few that are necessary. Indeed, few of them are needed for success in meditation. And as the title suggests, meditation is a conversation- a conversation with Christ. I have found incredible peace in the most unlikely places, whether on a mountaintop, in a foreign country, or just prior to a medical school exam. As Rohrbach recommends, meditation is a practice; it should be exercised daily. Of course one end is peace; another is discovering with time that one is truly never alone, as a friendship develops for a lifetime - and for eternity.
This book has given me some basic tools for improving my prayer life. The most important advice is to persevere and not to give up because having a quiet time with the Lord does not happen easily, but keeping at it will bring rich blessings. A great tool for those that are seeking more.