Friday, March 23, 2012

Praying with Flannery

We just received some exciting news about a book soon to be released. The Province of Joy is a breviary based on themes in the writings of Flannery O'Connor. This prayer book was compiled and edited by Angela O'Donnell, poet and professor at Fordham University where she teaches English, creative writing, and American Catholic studies. According to her publisher, Paraclete Press:
"The Province of Joy is a book of hours rooted in the rich theological imagination of fiction writer, Flannery O'Connor. A lifelong Catholic devoted to liturgical prayer, O'Connor was also an avid reader and thinker who lived a rich spiritual life. Cutting a broad swath through spiritual and theological texts of every stamp, O'Connor engaged ideas about the nature of prayer and its many forms on a daily basis and often shared them in her correspondence, essays, and stories. This book brings together O'Connor's practice of prayer and the rich spiritual context within which O'Connor lived and out of which she wrote.
O'Donnell organizes this devotional around six themes:

* The False Self and the True Self
* Blindness & Vision
* Limitation & Grace
* The Mystery of the Incarnation
* Revelations & Resurrections
* The Christian Comedy.

In addition, she presents brief reflections suggesting links between the themes, readings, and prayers of the day with O'Connor's fiction. These parallels illustrate some of the ways in which O'Connor's practice of her faith and her art intersect and serve to illuminate one another."

One of the ways that O'Connor practiced her faith was praying daily the Liturgy of the Hours. We know this because one of the three books Flannery kept on her bedside table was a well-worn breviary (a book of psalms, hymns, prayers, and readings recited daily by Catholic clergy and members of certain religious orders). While I am looking forward to reading O'Donnell's book, I wonder what Flannery's reaction would be to breviary coming out based on her writings.
- Mark

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