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January 2017: Finding Your Way through "Silence"

Posted by Patricia A. Lynch on

Provocative new Martin Scorsese film raises questions about faith and suffering.

New guide helps search for the answers.

What is required by faith?
What does it mean to believe?
What are the costs?
Is Father Rodrigues a sinner?
Or a saint?

In Faith Stripped to Its Essence: A Discordant Pilgrimage through Shusaku Endo's Silence, Patrick T. Reardon offers the perfect guide for those of all faiths trying to delve into themes of Silence—the movie and the novel.

In this “discordant journey,” Reardon provides commentary as well as perceptive and provocative questions for individual reflection and small-group discussion. Chapters are devoted to each of the main characters and their own experience of faith. These characters are all believers in one way or another, but are far from unified in their approach to living that faith in the real world.

As Reardon explains in his Introduction:

There is a mystery at the heart of Shusaku Endo’s 1966 novel Silence, and it is this: Father Sebastian Rodrigues, a seventeenth-century Jesuit priest from Portugal, steals into Japan during a time of terror-filled, bloody repressions of Christianity in which hundreds of believers in Jesus are routinely tortured and executed. He lives in hiding, providing the sacraments when and where he can to communities of Christians who, at great peril, have kept their faith alive in secret. As one of the few priests still in Japan, he is a symbol of the church, a beacon and a model for those who come to him for spiritual solace and support. Yet, in the end, he goes against all that he has stood for.

This month we offer for reflection two scripture passages from Faith Stripped to Its Essence. The excerpts are from The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition.

“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

Mark 15:34

“Where were you when I created the earth?
Tell me, since you know so much!
Who decided on its size? Certainly you’ll know that!
Who came up with the blueprints and measurements?
How was its foundation poured,
and who set the cornerstone,
While the morning stars sang in chorus
and all the angels shouted praise?”

Job 38:4-7

About the author of Faith Stripped to Its Essence

Patrick T. Reardon is a Chicagoan, born and bred. He has been writing about the city, its region, its planning issues and literary scene for more than forty years. For much of that time, he was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He has also written extensively about his Catholic faith in articles and essays in a variety of newspapers and magazines. His books include Daily Meditations (with Scripture) for Busy Dads; Catholic and Starting Out: 5 Challenges and 5 Opportunities; and Edith Wharton, Illuminated by The Message. Visit his website and blog for more information.

Related Titles available from ACTA Publications

Silence: A Novel by Shusaku Endo

Silence and Beauty: Hidden Faith Born of Suffering by Makoto Fujimura