Most of us have learned to be dispassionate about evil, to look it in the face and find, as often as not, our own grinning reflections with which we do not argue, but good is another matter. Few have stared at that long enough to accept the fact that its face too is grotesque, that in us the good is something under construction. The modes of evil usually receive worthy expression. The modes of good have to be satisfied with a cliche or a smoothing down that will soften their real look.
Flannery O’Connor, “Introduction to A Memoir of Mary Ann,” in Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose, ed. Sally and Robert Fitzgerald, 225. (via habitofbeing)
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The Church is founded on Peter who denied Christ three times and couldn’t walk on the water by himself. You are expecting his successors to walk on the water. All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.
Flannery O’Connor, letter to Cecil Dawkins, 9 Dec 58 (via habitofbeing)

1800 notes?!

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One of the awful things about writing when you are a Christian is that for you the ultimate reality is the Incarnation, the present reality is the Incarnation, the whole reality is the Incarnation, and nobody believes in the Incarnation; that is, nobody in your audience. My audience are the people who thing God is dead. At least these are the people I am conscious of writing for.
Flannery O’Connor, letter to A., August 2, 1955 (via habitofbeing)
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On the subject of the feminist business, I just never think, that is never think of qualities which are specifically feminine or masculine. I suppose I divide people into two classes: the Irksome and the Non-Irksome without regard to sex. Yes and there are the Medium Irksome and the Rare Irksome.
Flannery O’Connor, letter to “A,” 22 September 1956 (via habitofbeing)
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He walked along, saturated in depression, as if in the midst of his martyrdom he had lost his faith.
Flannery O’Connor, “Everything That Rises Must Converge” (via habitofbeing)
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That my stories scream to you that I have never consented to be in love with anybody is merely to prove that they are screaming an historical inaccuracy. I have God help me consented to this frequently.
Flannery O’Connor, letter to “A,” 24 August 1956
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Help me with this life that seems so treacherous, so disappointing.
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Dear God, I cannot love Thee the way I want to. You are the slim crescent of a moon that I see and my self is the earth’s shadow that keeps me from seeing all the moon. The crescent is very beautiful and perhaps that is all one like I am should or could see; but what I am afraid of, dear God, is that my self shadow will grow so large that it blocks the whole moon, and that I will judge myself by the shadow that is nothing.
Flannery O’Connor, A Prayer Journal, undated entry
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Happy Birthday, Flannery O’Connor!

Happy Birthday, Flannery O’Connor!

(Reblogged from habitofbeing)
The gist and moral of all these unlucid remarks is that all writing is painful and that if it is not painful then it is not worth doing.
Flannery O’Connor, letter to A, 21 Sept 57