Jonathan Swift said, “We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.”
Second Blessing ponders this truth through the ramblings of Mildred Stanford Hayes, an elderly “prim and proper” lady in rural Alabama, 1988. She claims to have a Second Blessing, which is more than just doing right. It’s the knowledge that you are pure. It’s not thinking of yourself better than others, though you are, or showing it, though you do, since it’s as natural as breathing. A Second Blessing is a gift shared with prophets of old and yet to come. It’s not just having my name written in the Book of Life, but engraved.
THE FREE DICTIONARY defines Second Blessing as “Sanctification of a Christian believer, considered as a gift of the Holy Spirit given after conversion and sometimes thought of as rendering the believer incapable of committing sin.”
Although the Second Blessing doctrine is a part of Methodism linked to John Wesley, I made Mildred Baptist.
The story opens with revival. Mildred knows it will be a disaster. Francis Paul Day, an ex-junkie, is the speaker. She snorts. “If matters aren’t horrible enough, that heathen has the same christened name as my beloved son!”
Francis Paul Day helps with Communion, which also infuriates Mildred because of the Church’s closed policy. She chokes on the Host and he saves her.
Mildred remains cynical. She believes Francis Paul Day is obsessed with her granddaughter and is determined to keep them apart. But exposing him reveals a family secret.
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