Wednesday, June 15, 2005
"Alright. Pray! But those Christians are partaking of a terrible suffering such as you cannot even understand. From yesterday - in the future - now at this moment. Why must they suffer like this? And while this goes on, you do nothing for them. And God - he does nothing either."
The priest shook his head wildly, putting both fingers into his ears. But the voice of Ferreira together with the groaning of the Christians broke mercilessly in. Stop! Stop! Lord, it is now that you should break the silence. You must not remain silent. Prove that you are justice, that you are goodness, that you are love. You must say something to show the world that you are the august one.
A great shadow passed over his soul like that of the wings of a bird flying over the mast of a ship. The wings of the bird now brought to his mind the memory of the various ways in which Christians had died. At that time, too, God had been silent. When the misty rain floated over the sea, he was silent. When the one-eyed man had been killed beneath the blazing rays of the sun, he had said nothing. But at that time, the priest had been able to stand it; or, rather than stand it, he had been able to thrust the terrible doubt far from the threshold of his mind. But now it was different. Why is God continually silent while those groaning voices go on?
-from Silence by Shusaku Endo
My friend Mel loaned me Silence after reading it and said it was a good read. It had been awhile since I've read a good novel. I ended up reading it cover-to-cover in one day... and I'm re-reading it again for a second time.
It's not often that I get completely engrossed in reading most books, but this one, I did. The best novels don't give answers, but instead pose provocative questions. Beneath the simple story of a 17th century Portugese missionary traveling to medieval Japan (where Christianity has been outlawed), there are a questions that aren't easily answered, especially for Christian readers - questions about human suffering and pain, the nature of faith and apostasy, Christianity in the context of non-Western culture... and most of all...
...the silence Of God.
The questions that Silence poses are the kind that will disturb and challenge anybody who seriously thinks about them, because they are the kind of questions that don't have easy answers. For people who've ever had to live through a difficult experience, the questions will resonate even more. Even haunt you.
They resonated with me, at least.
Interestingly enough, the author of novel, Mr. Endo, was a Japanese Catholic who used a lot of his life experiences in his writing, particularly a focus on life as outsider, loneliness, and faith. Growing up as a young Catholic Christian in wartime Japan, in a time where fanatical Emperor-worship was mandated both by law and by culture, Endo learned in person about the harshness of being ostracized. Because of his writings, he has been compared to Graham Greene, another famous Catholic author.
I have a new literary hero. Time to dig up more of his books.
you know what fuck you! im at work and i want a fucking drink but im drinking milk with ice in it. T_TPost a Comment
im fucking jealous of you right now