To find out about faith

Paul Elie writing on the prayer journals of the young Flannery O’Connor:

 

“To find out about faith, you have to go to the people who have it,” she would tell Alfred Corn, “and you have to go to the most intelligent ones if you are going to stand up intellectually to agnostics and the general run of pagans that you are going to find in the majority of people around you.”

 

An early model for her prayer journal and  an inspiration for fiction was Georges Bernanos’  Diary of  a Country Priest — and then the works of Mauriac and the English writers of an earlier generation, Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene.  Her understanding of art and ethic in the making of Christian art was given impetus by Jacques Maritain’s commentaries on Thomas Aquinas, a practical art manifesting “wholeness, harmony and radiance” and rending visible justice to the created universe.

All this I discovered when in 1981 or so, I bought a copy of The Habit of Being, the now famous collected letters of Flannery O’Connor. Reading her letters, so candid, shrewd and thoughtful, then reading the fiction through new eyes, was the first step in my decision to become Catholic.

 

And this powerful, simple supplication from her prayer journal:

Please help me to get down under things and find where You are.

 

 

 

oconnor

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