In 1936 the New Yorker rejected “Thank You For the Light,” a short (at 1200 words, very short) story by F. Scott Fitzgerald that an editor deemed “too fantastic.” The current editors have risked embarrassing their predecessor by reversing his decision and publishing it in the latest issue.
We should be grateful they did. Readers of First Things are especially likely to enjoy the story’s sly piety. It follows a woman whose need for a smoke leads her into a Catholic Church:
Before her, she saw the Catholic cathedral. It seemed very tall, and suddenly she had an inspiration: if so much incense had gone up in the spires to God, a little smoke in the vestibule would make no difference. How could the Good Lord care if a tired woman took a few puffs in the vestibule?
The entirety of the story is here. Suffice it to say that the Virgin Mary has now edged out Lauren Bacall as the person I’d most want to have light my cigarette.