I was at the Salvation Army yesterday; after flipping through the old denims and weird collared shirts (you know what I'm talking about) I made my way to the book shelf and lo and behold I found a gem. It was Flannery O'Connor's collected works and it was a $1.49--leave it to some New Englander to give away such a collection. For those who don't know her well, well you should, she has been heralded by everyone from the likes of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus to your average American Lit. Professor. What I've been drawn to now, even more than her short stories, are her insightful essays where, among other things, she examines the role of the Christian writer in relation to various groups (the south, the Church, and other writers). Her voice, though initially shocking, gives a loud prophetic witness to state of man apart from Christ.
Here's a quote from her famous essay "The Grotesque in Southern Fiction":
There is something in us, as story-tellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemtive act, that demands that what falls at least a chance to be restored. The reader of today looks for this motion, and rightly so, but what he has forgotten is the cost of it. His sense of evil is diluted or lacking altogether and so he has forgotten the price of restoration. When he reads a novel, he wants either his senses tormented or his spirits raised. He wants to be transported, instantly either to a mock damnation or a mock innocence.
Flannery hits the nail on the head; this holy week let's let our hearts re-learn the "cost" of "the redemptive act" after all, the "cost" of redemption is the crux of our faith.