Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Excerpts from Angela Cybulski's "Seven Reasons to Read A Prayer Journal, by Flannery O'Connor.

"Have you ever read something ineffable? Something so sublime that it was hard to talk about with anything resembling coherence? If so, then you’ll understand why it is so difficult to articulate my experience of reading Flannery O’Connor’s intimate and soul-baring A Prayer Journal. I closed the book with a combination of awed silence and heart-soaring joy. I’m afraid no critical, dry-as-dust objective review is possible for this reader. My sincerely heartfelt appreciation of this uniquely personal book by one of America’s greatest writers can, however, illuminate seven reasons why you need to read this book now."

Here's part of Reason #2:

"The journal echoes the gorgeously stirring mysticism of some of our greatest spiritual writers. Reading certain sections of A Prayer Journal call to mind the resplendent descriptions of the spiritual life written by St. Therese of Lisieux, St. John of the Cross, and others. It is the rare 22-year-old who describes God as “the slim crescent of a moon . . . [which] is very beautiful,” while viewing herself as “the earth’s shadow . . . [which threatens to] grow so large that it blocks the whole moon.” Flannery confesses to being “afraid of insidious hands . . . which grope into the darkness of my soul,” begging God to be her protector, shielding her against those things which would tear her away from Him. In her fervor, she begs for an all-consuming desire for God that would essentially cause her to die of love:

"Dear Lord, please make me want You. It would be the greatest bliss. Not just to want You when I think about You but to want You all the time, to have the want driving in me, to have it like a cancer in me. It would kill me like a cancer and that would be Fulfillment.”

Is this not the numinous language of a mystic, who in the intensity of her desire already possesses that which she so longs for?"

And for Flannery O'Connor devotees such as myself, is not the prospect of her prayer journal some of the best news ever?

Read the whole piece HERE..


  1. The passion, the passion, the passion - I just read the post before this - how I love the passion! Your writing never fails to kindle a flame in me. I always had this slight antipathy to what I thought was Flannery O'Connor's arrogant manner - having read this I feel I understand her better and am encouraged once again in so many ways. I looked up Matt Talbot (from your last post). What an education your blog is. I had never heard of him, and am so glad I have now. You always say everything so well, so spot on, that I sometimes wonder; What else is there left to say? Nothing! Except to express appreciation.

  2. My copy of this book just arrived today. Very much looking forward to reading it.

    Jane, if you're interested, and you want your antipathy towards O'Connor thoroughly, happily dispelled, I suggest reading her letters, collected in a volume titled The Habit of Being.


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