Saint Teresa of Avila, mystic, Carmelite reformer, and Doctor of the Church, is one of the greatest people to ever walk the face of the Earth—and even one of the greatest saints. Her position as a spiritual master is uncontested, and her method of prayer was simple: nothing but conversation with Christ. Through pursuing sanctity and humility, as well as intensive recollection, we may come to know Him intimately. And He always rewards us more than we deserve.
Written by Fr. Peter Thomas Rohrbach, Conversation with Christ summarizes St. Teresa's masterful approach to meditation succinctly and clearly for the laity. Teresa's approach to mental prayer in intimacy with Our Lord is born of a pure and holy charity developed through a life of submission to the Gospel. Taking her methods and adapting them for the use of the lay faithful, Fr. Rohrbach offers a powerful summation of the prayer of one who knew our Lord and Savior better than almost anyone—even among the saints.
Born to a pious family in 1515, Teresa grew up fascinated with the faith. A popular anecdote from her youth tells of an impromptu escapade with her brother: they attempted to flee to Africa to be martyred by Moors, only to be brought back from the city walls by their uncle. Teresa later joined the Carmelites at 20, but found their practices to be lacking in austerity. She herself was zealous in mortification and frequently exerted herself to the point of illness. Upon recovery after a particularly long convalescence, she began to experience religious ecstasies, which continued throughout her life. She experienced interior visions (i.e. without sensory manifestation) of Our Lord, levitations, and other graces, including the famous transverberation, where her heart was mystically pierced by a lance borne by a seraph. But Teresa's principle work in life was to reform the Carmelites; she traveled all about Spain establishing new convents and, with St. John of the Cross, men's monasteries. Throughout all of her reform work, her attitude was joyful, saintly, and profoundly charismatic.
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