Title

Reflecting Silence: Perspectives on Shusaku Endo's Masterpiece

Author(s)

Karen PriorFollow

Publication Date

January 2017

Document Type

Article

Disciplines

Christianity

Abstract

What would it take for you to renounce your faith? When does humility before God turn into pride in that humility? What would you give up in order to save others from great suffering? What do you do when the God in whom you live, and move, and have your being seems to offer you only silence? Set in a place and time far removed from readers today, Silence forces us to wrestle with these universal questions in our own place and time. Rendering the Christian faith strange, Silence makes it familiar again. By shrouding the deep faith of one devout priest with mystery, suffering, doubt, love, and shame, Shusaku Endo reveals the essence of Christianity: the Lord is not silent. Indeed, as Father Rodrigues comes to realize about the Christ in whom he has placed his complete trust, Many centuries ago, that man tasted with his dried and swollen tongue all the suffering that I now endure, he reflected. And this sense of suffering shared softly eased his mind and heart more than the sweetest water. With words that move like poetry, probe like philosophy, and beseech like prayer, Silence is at once the most troubling and most comforting story of our age, and of all ages.