Oremus for Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Flannery O’Connor

Flannery O’Connor
Flannery O’Connor is considered one of America’s greatest fiction writers and one of the strongest apologists for Roman Catholicism in the twentieth century. Born of the marriage of two of Georgia’s oldest Catholic families, O’Connor was a devout believer whose small but impressive body of fiction presents the soul’s struggle with what she called the “stinking mad shadow of Jesus.” Flannery O’Connor was a painstaking and disciplined writer, devoting each morning to her work and making great demands of herself even in her last years as she struggled with lupus. Like the comedy of Dante, O’Connor’s dark humor consciously intends to underscore boldly our common human sinfulness and need for divine grace. Even her characters’ names (Tom T. Shiflet, Mary Grace, Joy/Hulga Hopewell, Mrs. Cope) are often ironic clues to their spiritual deficiencies. O’Connor’s recurrent characters, from Hazel Motes in Wise Blood to O. E. Parker of “Parker’s Back,” are spiritually lean and hungry figures who reject mere lip service to Christianity and the bland certainty of rationalism in their pursuit of salvation. These same characters, usually deprived economically, emotionally, or both, inhabit a world in which, in O’Connor’s words, “the good is under construction.” O’Connor was a Roman Catholic in the Bible Belt South; her fiction, though, is largely concerned with fundamentalist Protestants, many of whom she admired for the integrity of their search for Truth. The publication of her essays and lectures, Mystery and Manners (1969), and the publication ten years later of The Habit of Being confirmed the strong connection between O’Connor’s fictional treatment of the search for God and the quest for the holy in her own life. Indeed, her life and work were of a piece. She attained in her brief life what Sally Fitzgerald called (after St. Thomas Aquinas) “the habit of being,” which Fitzgerald describes as “an excellence not only of action but of interior disposition and activity” that struggled to reflect the goodness and love of God. 1

Antiphon https://tinyurl.com/5fdmknbz

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life; whom should I dread?
When those who do evil draw near, they stumble and fall. Psalm 27

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires, known,
and from whom no secrets are hid:
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Music: https://tinyurl.com/ycn4djk5

O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will declare your praise.
Make haste, O God, to deliver me;
make haste to help me, O Lord.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Praise to you, O Christ, Alleluia!

HYMN: Constance Cherry ©
Tune: Austria https://tinyurl.com/3aan4twt

1 When will people cease their fighting?
When will armies wage no war,
nations conquer not their neighbour,
weapons idle, used no more?
When will guns and bombs be silent?
When will captives be set free?
All creation groans in longing
for the world’s true liberty.

2 Floods and earthquakes, drought and famine
plague the world with awesome ill,
but far greater is war’s horror
caused by human, stubborn will.
Blest are those who, working, praying,
purpose in their hearts to be
instruments of peace, committed
to the nations’ harmony.

3 As we strive for peace with vigour,
hoping to be shown the way,
we are strengthened in the knowledge
of a future, perfect day;
for we know that deeper, richer
peace is ours when Christ shall reign:
then will all our swords be plowshares
and God’s children free from pain.

PSALMS

Psalm 18
(Anglican Chant: https://tinyurl.com/yx7qz95s)
1  I will love thee, O Lord, my strength;
the Lord is my stony rock, and my defence *
 my Saviour, my God, and my might, in whom I will trust,
my buckler, the horn also of my salvation, and my refuge.
2  I will call upon the Lord, which is worthy to be praised *
 so shall I be safe from mine enemies.
3  The sorrows of death compassed me *
 and the overflowings of ungodliness made me afraid.
4  The pains of hell came about me *
 the snares of death overtook me.
5  In my trouble I will call upon the Lord *
 and complain unto my God.
6  So shall he hear my voice out of his holy temple *
 and my complaint shall come before him,
it shall enter even into his ears.
7  The earth trembled and quaked *
 the very foundations also of the hills shook,
and were removed, because he was wroth.
8  There went a smoke out in his presence *
 and a consuming fire out of his mouth,
so that coals were kindled at it.
9  He bowed the heavens also, and came down *
 and it was dark under his feet.
10  He rode upon the cherubims, and did fly *
 he came flying upon the wings of the wind.
11  He made darkness his secret place *
 his pavilion round about him with dark water,
and thick clouds to cover him.
12  At the brightness of his presence his clouds removed *
 hail-stones, and coals of fire.
13  The Lord also thundered out of heaven,
and the Highest gave his thunder *
 hail-stones, and coals of fire.
14  He sent out his arrows, and scattered them *
 he cast forth lightnings, and destroyed them.
15  The springs of waters were seen,
and the foundations of the round world were discovered,
at thy chiding, O Lord *
 at the blasting of the breath of thy displeasure.
16  He shall send down from on high to fetch me *
 and shall take me out of many waters.
17  He shall deliver me from my strongest enemy,
and from them which hate me *
 for they are too mighty for me.
18  They prevented me in the day of my trouble *
 but the Lord was my upholder.
19  He brought me forth also into a place of liberty *
 he brought me forth, even because he had a favour unto me.
20  The Lord shall reward me after my righteous dealing *
 according to the cleanness of my hands shall he recompense me.
21  Because I have kept the ways of the Lord *
 and have not forsaken my God, as the wicked doth.
22  For I have an eye unto all his laws *
 and will not cast out his commandments from me.
23  I was also uncorrupt before him *
 and eschewed mine own wickedness.
24  Therefore shall the Lord reward me after my righteous dealing *
 and according unto the cleanness of my hands in his eye-sight.
25  With the holy thou shalt be holy *
 and with a perfect man thou shalt be perfect.
26  With the clean thou shalt be clean *
 and with the froward thou shalt learn frowardness.
27  For thou shalt save the people that are in adversity *
 and shalt bring down the high looks of the proud.
28  Thou also shalt light my candle *
 the Lord my God shall make my darkness to be light.
29  For in thee I shall discomfit an host of men *
 and with the help of my God I shall leap over the wall.
30  The way of God is an undefiled way *
 the word of the Lord also is tried in the fire;
he is the defender of all them that put their trust in him.
31  For who is God, but the Lord *
 or who hath any strength, except our God?
32  It is God, that girdeth me with strength of war *
 and maketh my way perfect.
33  He maketh my feet like harts’ feet *
 and setteth me up on high.
34  He teacheth mine hands to fight *
 and mine arms shall break even a bow of steel.
35  Thou hast given me the defence of thy salvation *
 thy right hand also shall hold me up,
and thy loving correction shall make me great.
36  Thou shalt make room enough under me for to go *
 that my footsteps shall not slide.
37  I will follow upon mine enemies, and overtake them *
 neither will I turn again till I have destroyed them.
38  I will smite them, that they shall not be able to stand *
 but fall under my feet.
39  Thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle *
 thou shalt throw down mine enemies under me.
40  Thou hast made mine enemies also to turn their backs upon me *
 and I shall destroy them that hate me.
41  They shall cry, but there shall be none to help them *
 yea, even unto the Lord shall they cry, but he shall not hear them.
42  I will beat them as small as the dust before the wind *
 I will cast them out as the clay in the streets.
43  Thou shalt deliver me from the strivings of the people *
 and thou shalt make me the head of the heathen.
44  A people whom I have not known *
 shall serve me.
45  As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me *
 but the strange children shall dissemble with me.
46  The strange children shall fail *
 and be afraid out of their prisons.
47  The Lord liveth, and blessed be my strong helper *
 and praised be the God of my salvation.
48  Even the God that seeth that I be avenged *
 and subdueth the people unto me.
49  It is he that delivereth me from my cruel enemies,
and setteth me up above mine adversaries *
 thou shalt rid me from the wicked man.
50  For this cause will I give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the Gentiles *
 and sing praises unto thy Name.
51  Great prosperity giveth he unto his King *
 and sheweth loving-kindness unto David his Anointed,
and unto his seed for evermore.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
world without end. Amen.

Psalm 18
(Plainsong: http://oremus.org/chant/Psalm%2018%20Duckett.mp3)
2 I love you, Lord, my strength,
3 my rock, my fortress, my savior.
My God is the rock where I take refuge;
my shield, my mighty help, my stronghold.
4 The Lord is worthy of all praise,
when I call I am saved from my foes.
5 The waves of death rose about me;
the torrents of destruction assailed me;
6 the snares of the grave entangled me;
the traps of death confronted me.
7 In my anguish I called to the Lord;
I cried to God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came to his ears.
8 Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the mountains were shaken to their base:
they reeled at his terrible anger.
9 Smoke came forth from his nostrils
and scorching fire from his mouth:
coals were set ablaze by its heat.
10 He lowered the heavens and came down,
a black cloud under his feet.
11 He came enthroned on the cherubim,
he flew on the wings of the wind.
12 He made the darkness his covering,
the dark waters of the clouds, his tent.
13 A brightness shone out before him
with hailstones and flashes of fire.
14 The Lord thundered in the heavens;
The Most High let his voice be heard.
15 He shot his arrows, scattered the foe,
flashed his lightnings and put them to flight.
16 The bed of the ocean was revealed;
the foundations of the world were laid bare
at the thunder of your threat, O Lord,
at the blast of the breath of your anger.
17 From on high he reached down and seized me;
he drew me forth from the mighty waters.
.18 he snatched me from my powerful foe,
from my enemies whose strength I could not match.
19 They assailed me in the day of my misfortune,
but the Lord was my support.
20 He brought me forth into freedom,
he saved me because he loved me.
21 He rewarded me because I was just,
repaid me, for my hands were clean,
22 for I have kept the way of the Lord,
and have not fallen away from my God.
23 For his judgments are all before me:
I have never neglected his commands.
24 I have always been upright before him;
I have kept myself from guilt.
25 He repaid me because I was just
and my hands were clean in his eyes.
26 You are loving with those who love you:
you show yourself perfect with the perfect.
27 With the sincere you show yourself sincere,
but the cunning you outdo in cunning.
28 For you save a humble people
but humble the eyes that are proud.
29 You, O Lord, are my lamp,
my God who lightens my darkness.
30 With you I can break through any barrier,
with my God I can scale any wall.
31 As for God, his ways are perfect;
the word of the Lord, purest gold.
He indeed is the shield
of all who make him their refuge.
32 For who is God but the Lord?
Who is a rock but our God?
33 the God who girds me with strength
and makes the path safe before me.
34 My feet you make swift as the deer’s;
you have made me stand firm on the heights.
35 You have trained my hands for battle
and my hands to bend the heavy bow.
36 You gave me your saving shield;
you upheld me, trained me with care.
37 You gave me freedom for my steps;
my feet have never slipped.
38 I pursued and overtook my foes,
never turning back till they were slain.
39 I smote them so they could not rise;
they fell beneath my feet.
40 You girded me with strength for battle;
you made my enemies fall beneath me,
41 you made my foes take flight;
those who hated me I destroyed.
42 They cried, but there was no one to save them;
they cried to the Lord, but in vain.
43 I crushed them fine as dust before the wind;
trod them down like dirt in the streets.
44 You saved me from the feuds of the people
and put me at the head of the nations.
People unknown to me served me:
45 when they heard of me they obeyed me.
Foreign nations came to me cringing:
46 foreign nations faded away.
They came trembling out of their strongholds.
47 Long life to the Lord, my rock!
Praised be the God who saves me,
48 the God who gives me redress
and subdues people under me.
49 You saved me from my furious foes.
You set me above my assailants.
You saved me from violent men,
50 so I will praise you, Lord, among the nations:
I will sing a psalm to your name.
51 He has given great victories to his king
and shown his love for his anointed,
for David and his sons for ever.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son 
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be :
world without end. Amen.

PRAYER

Praise to you, God of our salvation.
You come to our help and set us free.
May your strength be our shield
and your word, our lamp,
that we may serve you with pure hearts
and find deliverance in Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen. BCW

THE WORD OF GOD

Reading: 2 Samuel 13:15-22

[After forcing Tamar to lay with him,] Amnon was seized with a very great loathing for her; indeed, his loathing was even greater than the lust he had felt for her. Amnon said to her, ‘Get out!’ But she said to him, ‘No, my brother; for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you did to me.’ But he would not listen to her. He called the young man who served him and said, ‘Put this woman out of my presence, and bolt the door after her.’ (Now she was wearing a long robe with sleeves; for this is how the virgin daughters of the king were clothed in earlier times.) So his servant put her out, and bolted the door after her. But Tamar put ashes on her head, and tore the long robe that she was wearing; she put her hand on her head, and went away, crying aloud as she went.

Her brother Absalom said to her, ‘Has Amnon your brother been with you? Be quiet for now, my sister; he is your brother; do not take this to heart.’ So Tamar remained, a desolate woman, in her brother Absalom’s house. When King David heard of all these things, he became very angry, but he would not punish his son Amnon, because he loved him, for he was his firstborn. But Absalom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad; for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had raped his sister Tamar.

HYMN: Psalm 31:1-8; para. Marie J Post ©
Tune: Coleraine https://tinyurl.com/t4nzzcx5

1 I seek my refuge in you, LORD;
then let me not be put to shame.
LORD, listen to my anxious cries
for help that never seems to come.
Be my strong rock to shelter me,
a refuge to which I can flee.

2 You are my rock and fortress, LORD:
lead me in all my troubled ways.
Alert me, LORD, to hidden traps;
safeguarded I shall spend my days.
My spirit, LORD, I now commend
into your gracious, saving hand.

3 I hate all those who trust false gods;
I ever trust in God alone.
You knew the anguish of my soul
and heard each troubled, painful groan.
You answered me in love and grace
and set me in a spacious place.

Reading: Ephesians 4:17-24

Now this I affirm and insist on in the Lord: you must no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart. They have lost all sensitivity and have abandoned themselves to licentiousness, greedy to practise every kind of impurity. That is not the way you learned Christ! For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

HYMN: Lori True ©
Tune: https://tinyurl.com/235fu8jh

Refrain:
One Lord, one faith, one call to serve each other.
One heart, one mind, one common ground;
we stand all as one.

1 Give us new hands, open and free,
to serve with grace and dignity.
May we be worthy of our call.
We have but [Refrain]

2 Give us new eyes, loving and wise,
to seek the good we all have in side.
May we be worthy of our call.
We have but [Refrain]

3 Give us new hearts, humble yet strong,
to love like you our whole life long.
May we be worthy of our call.
We have but [Refrain]

4 Breathe out your Spirit upon the land.
In hope and peace we’ll firmly stand,
to live lives worthy of our call.
We have but [Refrain]

Reading: Mark 13:1-8

As he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!’ Then Jesus asked him, ‘Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.’

When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, ‘Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?’ Then Jesus began to say to them, ‘Beware that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name and say, “I am he!” and they will lead many astray. When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.’

CANTICLE Ephesians 1:3-10
(John Michael Talbot https://tinyurl.com/ya8y3kqs)

Ant. God chose us in his Son to be his beloved children.
Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, *
who bestowed on us in Christ every spiritual blessing in the heavens.

God chose us in him before the world began, *
to be holy and blameless in his sight.
He predestined us to be his adopted children through Jesus Christ, *
such was his will and pleasure,
that all might praise the glorious favor
he has bestowed on us in his beloved.

In him and through his blood, we have been redeemed, *
and our sins forgiven, so immeasurably generous is God’s favor to us.
God has given us the wisdom to understand fully the mystery, *
the plan he was pleased to decree in Christ.

A plan to be carried out in Christ, in the fullness of time, *
to bring all things into one in him, in the heavens and on the earth
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

THE PRAYERS BCW

Give us your peace, O God, that we may rejoice in your goodness to us and to all
your children, and be thankful for your love revealed in Jesus Christ. Especially
we thank you for
people who reveal your truth and righteousness . . .
courage to be bold disciples . . .
those who show hospitality . . .
surprises that have blessed us . . .
the unity of the church of Jesus Christ. . . .

Give us your peace, O God, that we may be confident of your care for us and all
your children, as we remember the needs of others. Especially we pray for
friends and relatives who are far away . . .
neighbors in special need . . .
those who suffer hunger and thirst . . .
those who work at night while others sleep . . .
Episcopal and Methodist churches. . . .

Setting by Eric Wyse:2

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread;
and forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.

O God, by your Holy Spirit you give to some the word of wisdom, to others the word of knowledge, and to others the word of faith: We praise your Name for the gifts of grace manifested in your servant Flannery O’Connor, and we pray that your Church may never be destitute of such gifts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. BCP79

Music: https://tinyurl.com/y9efvwm5
Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen. 2 Cor. 13:14


Donation to Support This Ministry

Since 1993, Oremus has been done on a volunteer basis. If you are able, please consider supporting this work at the PayPal link below. For software reasons, I’ve set the value at $10.00, but feel free to change it. Thank you.

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BCW Book of Common Worship, Presbyterian Church U.S.A., 1993.

BCP79 The Book of Common Prayer (1979), The Episcopal Church

1 https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/arts-culture/flannery-oconnor-1925-1964

2 Eric Wyse, Lord’s Prayer, ©; audio from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_a40ME7aVk

The three main scripture readings are from the The New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Edition, The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The traditional psalm texts are from The Book of Common Prayer (1662). The contemporary psalm text is from The Grail Psalms and is from the Manual Hopper YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/manualhopper/featured

Musical links are usually either to artists’ albums posted on Spotify or to recordings made available at smallchurchmusic.com. Audio stripped from YouTube videos is footnoted accordingly above.

Compilation © 2021 Stephen T. Benner. All links worked at the time they were created, but I cannot accept responsibility for their content or any damage resulting from their use. The linked content is under the control of the respective content creators and is subject to change at any time. Any copyright texts included in this compilation are provided for non-commercial purposes related to study or worship. Please contact the respective copyright holders for permission to use the texts in other contexts.

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