Restoring the Sacred

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Words of Relevance: Flannery O'Connor: Tenderness & Terror

Flannery O'Connor (March 25, 1925 – August 3, 1964), has been described by Fr. Damien Ference on the Word on Fire Blog as:
One of the greatest disciples of the twentieth century was neither a priest, nor a religious, nor a married person. She was a celibate, single woman who spent the last 13 years of her life battling lupus while writing some of the best fiction the world has ever known—all while living on a 544-acre dairy farm in Milledgeville, Ga. with her mother, her books, and forty-four peacocks. Her name was Flannery O’Connor.
Today's quote manifests her concern over attempts by the secular world to discredit faith in the goodness of God, and replace it with a misunderstanding of the origin of tenderness.

Here's the quote:
One of the tendernesses of our age is to use the suffering of children to discredit the goodness of God, and once you have discredited his goodness, you are done with him... In this popular piety, we mark our gain in sensibility and our loss in vision.  If other ages felt less, they saw more, even though they saw  In the absence of this faith now, we are governed by tenderness.  It is a tenderness which, long since cut off from the person of Christ, is wrapped in theory.  When tenderness is detached from the source of tenderness, its logical outcome is terror. 

Mary Beth Bonacci, expounded on the relevant words of O'Connor in a piece she wrote at, entitled:   Compassion Leads to the Gas Chamber?