Thursday, September 12, 2013

"Hell seems a great deal more feasible..."

Flannery O'Connor's prayer journals are excerpted in the latest issue of The New Yorker (behind a paywall). Here she reflects on the nature of hell, her all-too-brief career ahead of her:
Please let Christian principles permeate my writing and please let there be enough of my writing (published) for Christian principles to permeate. I dread, oh Lord, losing my faith. My mind is not strong. It is prey to all sorts of intellectual quackery. I do not want it to be fear which keeps me in the Church. I don't want to be a coward, staying with You because I fear hell. I should reason that if I fear hell, I can be assured of the author of it. But learned people can analyze for me why I fear hell and their implication is that there is no hell. But I believe in hell. Hell seems a great deal more feasible to my weak mind than heaven. No doubt because hell is a more earthly-seeming thing. I can fancy the tortures of the damned but I cannot imagine the disembodied souls hanging in a crystal for all eternity praising God.
O'Connor and nun, 1955

Photo via The American Reader.

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