Mr. Head stood very still and felt the action of mercy touch him again but this time he knew that there were no words in the world that could name it. He understood that it grew out of agony, which is not denied to any man and which is given in strange ways to children. He understood it was all a man could carry into death to give his Maker and he suddenly burned with shame chat he had so little of it to take with him. He stood appalled, judging himself with the thoroughness of God, while the action of mercy covered his pride like a flame and consumed it. He had never thought himself a great sinner before but he saw now that his true depravity had been hidden from him lest it cause him despair. He realized that he was forgiven for sins from the beginning of time, when he had conceived in his own heart the sin of Adam, until the present, when he had denied poor Nelson. He saw that no Sin was too monstrous for him to claim as his own, and since God loved in proportion as He forgave, he felt ready at that instant to enter Paradise.
The Artificial Nigger, by Flannery O'Connor Taken from The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor" Published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux; New York, 1971
Her personal favorite.
posted on 07/04/2002 8:57:51 AM PDT
You'll like this! =)
posted on 07/04/2002 8:59:36 AM PDT
The title in 14 and "A good man is hard to find" are the same book. The other was the name it was published under in England. =)
posted on 07/04/2002 9:44:50 AM PDT
From "The Habit of Being" an insightful bit of analysis about Faith by the incomperable O'Connor;
"I think thatthis experience you are having of losing your faith, or as you think, of having lost it, is an experience that in the long run belongs to faith; or at least can belong to faith if faith is still valuable to you, and it must be or you would not have written me about this.
I don't know how the kind of faith requireed of a Christian living in the 20th century can be at all if it is not grounded on this experience you are having right now of unbelief. This may be the case always and not just in the 20th century. Peter said, "lord, I believe. Help my unbelief." It is the most natural and most human and most agonizing prayer in the gospels, and I think it is the foundation prayer of faith.
AS a freshman in college, you are bombarded with new ideas, or ratheer pieces of ideas, nw frames of reference, an activation of the intellectual life which is only beginningt, but which is already running ahead of your lived experience. After a year of theis, you think you cannot believe. You are just beginning to realize how difficult it is to have faith and the measure of committment to it, bt you are too young to decide you don't have faith just because you feel you can't believe. About the only way we can know whether we believe or not is by what we do, and I think from your letter that you will not take the path of least resistance in this manner nad sinply decide thatyou have lost your faith and that there is nothing you can do about it.
One result of the stimulation of your intellectual life that takes place in college is usually a shrinking of the imaginative life. This sounds like a paradox, but I have often found it to be true. Students get so bound up with difficulties such as reconciling the clashing of so many different faiths such as Buddhism, Mohammedanism, etc, that they cease to look for God in other ways. Bridges once wrote Gerard Manley Hopkins and asked him to tell him how he, Bridges, could believe. He must have expected from Hopkins a long philosophical answer. Hopkins wrote back,"Give alms." He was trying to say to Bridges that God is experienced in Charity (in the sense of love for the divine image in human beings). Don't get so entangled with intellectual difficulties that youfail to look for God in this way."
Timeless advice. O'Connor is amasing
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