Remembering Flannery O’Connor

Who died on 4 August 1964, as Vatican II was underway. She was born in 1925 and would have been 90 if she was still alive. Lupus killed her far too young but she left behind not only the stories and novels, but her essays collected in Mystery & Manners and her letters, collected in The Habit of Being. She remains for me one of  the greatest and last Catholic novelists of the 20th century.

From her letters:

“I think there is no suffering greater than what is caused by the doubts of those who want to believe. I know what torment this is, but I can only see it, in myself anyway, as the process by which faith is deepened. A faith that just accepts is a child’s faith and all right for children, but eventually you have to grow religiously as every other way, though some never do.

What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross. It is much harder to believe than not to believe. If you fell you can’t believe, you must at least do this: keep an open mind. Keep it open toward faith, keep wanting it, keep asking for it, and leave the rest to God. ”

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