Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Silence of God

A professor emeritus of the Catholic Medical school in his Peace Weekly column, remembers the question of his mother: "Does God  really exist?" He was greatly surprised by this unexpected question.  The son with a perplexed look on his face: "Mother why such a question at this time...?"  "God has told us he will answer all our petitions but he has not answered my prayers,"  was her answer.  

She has over the years prayed fervently for the  grandchildren to do well in school, prayers for the children to get good jobs after college, to enjoy good health, mostly for family and in her eyes these prayers weren't answered. Somewhat confused and evasively he answered: "How can God give answer to everything that people ask at the same time? After a long time, in God's order, all will work out for the good." Not only his mother, he says, but many are perplexed and their prayers leave much to be desired. 

The Japanese writer Shusaku Endo considered this silence of God in his novel Silence. This book continues to be read by many of our Catholics in Korea. Briefly the plot is based on the 17th century persecution in Japan. A  Jesuit  priest Ferreira,  a beloved teacher in the seminary, was sent to Japan as a missioner, and word came back that he had apostatized. His student, Fr. Rodriguez, went to Japan to find out what happened and he himself apostatized in an effort to stop the killing of the Catholics. He did all that the authorities wanted which was to step on the image of Jesus.

Fr. Rodriguez  overcome with remorse, guilt, and resentment cried to heaven: "Lord, why seeing all this suffering  do you keep silent, it is impossible to understand." Then to Rodriguez came the voice:  "Son!  I am not silent I am suffering with you and in torment with you."

Those reading the book and seeing the suffering of the Christians and feeling resentment in the silence of God, with the words addressed to Rodriguez have a greater love for God and a greater trust in him. Are there any words that can give more consolation and hope?

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