Very rarely does the Holy Spirit throw something at me out of the blue, so to speak. This is a topic I share with you without comment, which would only dilute this concentrated orange juice of Flannery O’Conner’s thoughts. Each of us can mix the lived reality of our life against the words from this author. During Lent, I use her writings to inspire my adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. Pray as you read for meaning and profound stillness in your heart.

“You will have found Christ when you are concerned with other people’s sufferings and not your own.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is. You tell a story because a statement would be inadequate. When anybody asks what a story is about, the only proper thing is to tell them to read the story. The meaning of fiction is not abstract meaning but experienced meaning.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“[To] know oneself is, above all, to know what one lacks. It is to measure oneself against Truth, and not the other way around. The first product of self-knowledge is humility . . .” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“You shall know the truth, and it will make you odd.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“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.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“One of the effects of modern liberal Protestantism has been gradually to turn religion into poetry and therapy, to make truth vaguer and vaguer and more and more relative, to banish intellectual distinctions, to depend on feeling instead of thought, and gradually to come to believe that God has no power, that he cannot communicate with us, cannot reveal himself to us, indeed has not done so, and that religion is our own sweet invention.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“Right now the whole world seems to be going through a dark night of the soul.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“Even in the life of a Christian, faith rises and falls like the tides of an invisible sea. It’s there, even when he can’t see it or feel it if he wants it to be there. You realize, I think, that it is more valuable, more mysterious, altogether more immense than anything you can learn or decide upon It will keep you free – not free to do anything you please, but free to be formed by something larger than your own intellect or the intellects around you.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“The mind serves best when it’s anchored in the Word of God. There is no danger then of becoming an intellectual without integrity.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“If we forget our past, we won’t remember our future and it will be as well because we won’t have one.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“A God you understood would be less than yourself.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“Satisfy your demand for reason but always remember that charity is beyond reason, and God can be known through charity.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to never was there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“Faith is what someone knows to be true, whether they believe it or not.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“There is something in us, as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“I am no disbeliever in spiritual purpose and no vague believer. I see from the standpoint of Christian orthodoxy. This means that for me the meaning of life is centered in our Redemption by Christ and what I see in the world I see in relation to that.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“In yourself right now is all the place you’ve got.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“We are not judged by what we are basically. We are judged by how hard we use what we have been given. Success means nothing to the Lord.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“…the only thing that makes the Church endurable is that it is somehow the body of Christ and that on this we are fed. It seems to be a fact that you have to suffer as much from the Church as for it but if you believe in the divinity of Christ, you have to cherish the world at the same time that you struggle to endure it.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“For me, it is the virgin birth, the Incarnation, the resurrection which is the true laws of the flesh and the physical. Death, decay, destruction are the suspension of these laws. I am always astonished at the emphasis the Church puts on the body. It is not the soul she says that will rise but the body, glorified.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“I love a lot of people, understand none of them.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“I have found, in short, from reading my own writing, that my subject in fiction is the action of grace in territory largely held by the devil. I have also found that what I write is read by an audience that puts little stock either in grace or the devil. You discover your audience at the same time and in the same way that you discover your subject, but it is an added blow.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“St. Cyril of Jerusalem, in instructing catechumens, wrote: “The dragon sits by the side of the road, watching those who pass. Beware lest he devours you. We go to the Father of Souls, but it is necessary to pass by the dragon.” No matter what form the dragon may take, it is of this mysterious passage past him, or into his jaws, that stories of any depth will always be concerned to tell, and this being the case, it requires considerable courage at any time, in any country, not to turn away from the storyteller.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“Most of us come to the church by a means the church does not allow.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“Dogma is the guardian of mystery. The doctrines are spiritually significant in ways that we cannot fathom.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“I am a Catholic not like someone else would be a Baptist or a Methodist, but like someone else would be an atheist.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“When in Rome, do as you done in Milledgeville.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“The operation of the Church is entirely set up for the sinner; which creates much misunderstanding among the smug.” (August 9, 1955)” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“The operation of the Church is entirely set up for the sinner; which creates much misunderstanding among the smug.” (August 9, 1955)” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“When you leave a man alone with his Bible and the Holy Ghost inspires him, he’s going to be a Catholic one way or another, even though he knows nothing about the visible church. His kind of Christianity may not be socially desirable, but will be real in the sight of God.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“We lost our innocence in the Fall, and our turn to it is through the Redemption which was brought about by Christ’s death and by our slow participation in it. Sentimentality is a skipping of this process in its concrete reality and an early arrival at a mock state of innocence, which strongly suggests its opposite.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

When talking with Dorothy Day about the Real Presence of the Eucharist: “Well, if it’s a symbol, to hell with it.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“Well, if it’s a symbol, to hell with it.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

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