Flannery O’Conner on Emotionally Satisfying Faith

Good words from more than 60 years ago by
one of the great defenders of the faith.
“But I can never agree
with you that the Incarnation, or any truth, has to satisfy emotionally to be
right (and I would not agree that for the natural man the Incarnation does not
satisfy emotionally). It does not satisfy emotionally for the person brought up
under many forms of false intellectual discipline such as 19th-century
mechanism, for instance. Leaving the Incarnation aside, the very notion of
God’s existence is not emotionally satisfactory anymore for great numbers of
people, which does not mean that God ceases to exist. M. Sartre finds God
emotionally unsatisfactory in the extreme, as do most of my friends of less
stature than he. The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach
it emotionally. A higher paradox confounds emotion as well as reason and there
are long periods in the lives of all of us, and of the saints, when the truth
as revealed by faith is hideous, emotionally disturbing, downright repulsive.
Witness the dark night of the soul in individual saints. Right now the whole
world seems to be going through a dark night of the soul.
There is a question
whether faith can or is supposed to be emotionally satisfying. I must say that
the thought of everyone lolling about in an emotionally satisfying faith is
repugnant to me.
I believe
that we are ultimately directed Godward but that this journey is often impeded
by emotion.”
Flannery O’Conner in a letter to Betty
Hester, September 6, 1955.[1]

[1] http://theamericanreader.com/6-september-1955-flannery-oconnor/

Dive in!

Join The Great Journey with KeithShields.ca subscribers, and see new posts as they happen.

We promise we’ll never spam.