Saturday, 14 January 2017

Silence

Just returned from watching the movie 'Silence'...

The movie is about two Jesuits who volunteer to go to Japan to really find out about their mentor and confessor whom they revere much, but who is rumoured to have given up his faith.  They do not believe it and set out to find the truth.  Once they find themselves in the midst of hostile regime, they begin to see a different picture; not because they are persecuted but because of them, the poor native believers are tortured and killed.  That puts them in the shoes of their mentor and the choices they together make... the same as before, but lived differently.

I'll put my first impressions now and perhaps enumerate the deeper thoughts later.

  • Not as graphic or emotionally gripping as I thought it would be, given it being a Martin Scorsese movie. 
  • For those of us who have been second hand witnesses of persecution and evangelisation among non-Catholics, even those hostile to the faith, the movie does not come across as a big surprise or a shock.  To those who have had the comfort of a 'convenient' faith, untested by external inhuman conditions, this may be a bit shocking and gruesome.  
  • The real crisis of Fr Sebastian: when he sees the image of Christ in himself, just before he is turned in to the Japanese. 
  • Two facts which clearly indicate that Fr Sebastian, or even Fr Ferreira for that matter, never lost his faith, nor his priestly mission: when the former was willing to forgive the one who betrayed him and 'renounced' his faith time and again, repeatedly. Even in times when he doubted if the penitent really was worthy of forgiveness, he forgave.  The second is when he stamps on an image of Christ and he does it for the sake of the lives of those persecuted.  A Christian is not truly a follower of Christ if he chooses an image of Christ over and above the life of a human being.  
  • When in the comfort of life, faith is lived out in terms of doctrine.  When life itself is in danger or questioned, true faith is lived out - doctrines don't really matter. Fr Sebastian bluntly recommends the villagers to apostate; Fr Garupe is shocked and opposes Fr Sebastian, saying that they cannot give up their faith.  The villagers faith was deeper than any symbols or religious artifacts.  
  • Fr Sebastian's parting words to Fr Garupe: "They did not die for us! They did not die for us!" Something every priest and religious should always beware of: self-glorification in sacrifice.  

Over-all: Quite intense but quite long as well. Will appeal to the West not so much the East; the latter, live it in their everyday life (in different degrees) so will not find it as gripping as those whose faith has not been tested by external forces at such levels.  

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