Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Spirituality: A Letter by Flannery O'Connor

Dear God,

I cannot love you 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. I do not know you God because I am in the way. Please help me to push myself aside.

I want very much to succeed in the world with what I want to do. I have prayed to you about this with my mind and my nerves on it and strung my nerves into a tension over it and said, “Oh God, please,” and “I must,” and please, please.” I have not asked you, I feel, in the right way. Let me henceforth ask you with resignation – not that being or meant to be a slacking up in prayer but a less frenzied kind, realizing that the frenzy is caused by eagerness for what I want and not a spiritual trust. I do not wish to presume. I want to love.

Oh God, please make my mind clear. Please make it clean. I ask you for a greater love for my holy Mother and I ask her for a greater love for you. Please help me to get down under things and find where You are. I do not mean to deny the traditional prayers I have said all my life; but I have been saying them and not feeling them. My attention is always very fugitive. This way I have it every instant. I can feel the warmth of love heating me when I think and write this to You. Please do not let the explanations of the psychologists about this make it turn suddenly cold. My intellect is so limited, Lord, that I can only trust in you to preserve me as I should be. Please help all the ones I love to be free from their suffering. Please forgive me.

Source: Flannery O’Connor, A Prayer Journal, pp. 3-4.