“All the rest of life is expendable”

“I was once, five or six years ago, taken by some friends to have dinner with Mary McCarthy and her husband, Mr. Broadwater…She departed the Church at the age of 15 and is a Big Intellectual.  We went at eight and at one, I hadn’t opened my mouth once, there being nothing for me in such company to say…Well, toward morning the converation turned toward the Eucharist, which I, being the Catholic, was obviously supposed to defend.  Mrs. Broadwater said when she was a child and received the Host, she thought of it as the Holy Ghost, He being the ‘most portable’ person of the Trinity; now she thought of it as a symbol and implied that it was a pretty good one.  I then said, in a very shaky voice, ‘Well, if it’s a symbol, to hell with it.’  That was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of a story, except that it is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable.” –Flannery O’Connor, letter of Dec. 16, 1955, The Habit of Being, 125

[Timotheos]

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