Flannery O’Connor on the Eucharist

In the collection of her letters The Habit of Being, Flannery O’Connor shares about a literary dinner party she once attended. During the gathering, the topic of the Eucharist came up. It was assumed that Flannery, being the only Catholic in attendance, would defend the sacrament. In her letter, Flannery goes on to share the exchange she had with Mary McCarthy, the writer and essayist:
 "Well, toward morning the conversation turned on the Eucharist, which I, being the Catholic, was obviously supposed to defend. [Mary McCarthy] 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."

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