Eighteen lines extracted from Flannery O’Connor’s prayer journals, recently published:
1. My mind is fugitive
2. …disembodied souls hanging in crystals…
3. Contrition in me is largely imperfect.
4. My thanksgiving is never in the form of self-sacrifice.
5. The love of God is the business of reason, not emotion.
6. The nearness of things only comes after death.
7. I don’t want to have invented my faith to satisfy my weakness.
8. Every virtue must be vigorous.
9. The only way to live right is to give up everything.
10. I don’t want to be doomed to mediocrity in my feeling for Christ.
11. I want to feel. I want to love.
12. Hell is our only hope. Without it we are a wasteland.
13. The majesty of my thoughts this evening!
14. The Protestant has to think. The Catholic to submit
15. No one can be an atheist who does not know all things.
16. Only God is an atheist.
17. The devil is the greatest believer and he has his reasons.
18. Today I have proved myself a glutton—for Scotch oatmeal cookies and erotic thought. There is nothing left to say of me.
(These could also work as potential chapter titles for my autobiography There Is Nothing Left To Say of Me by Sufjan Stevens.)