Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I'm sitting by the window at a coffee shop in Budapest. All of the walls are windows here. Women walk by below, clinging to their purses or shopping bags. Men, large steps, hands in pockets, rush onward out of the cold. Snow flakes line jackets. Street lights reflect off wet pavement. The dirt-encrusted train station, beautiful in the dust and darkness, with its metal accents and arched bricks, its curves and spires, ironwork, and interior lights beaming out, overlooks this wintery square and its comings and goings. How ironic and iconic of this time, the McDonalds in this stately building designed by Eiffel. One can only laugh.

The red lights, two by two, race away. The white, two by two, keep slowly approaching. Occasionally, someone rushes forward pulling a suitcase, off from this westward train station, off to somewhere beyond this unsettled resplendent city on the Danube.

Here by this window, I have just finished reading Endo's Silence. How do we live in a world that keeps cycling despite the suffering? How do we face the suffering around us? All of the clocks and watches keep ticking, and each moment we make decisions. The desire to rest, the desire to be useful, the desire to ignore pain often wrestling, each with their own justifications. And yet I live in safety and comfort. I have not felt this suffering in my easy life. Yet I have complained and apostatized at times, though not even truly persecuted.

Endo's persecuted priest, who apostatized to save the lives of others, hears an answer to the silence he cannot comprehend, "I was not silent. I suffered beside you." Silence provides a window and the priest can honestly say "Even now I am the last priest in this land. But Our Lord was not silent. Even if he had been silent, my life until this day would have spoken of him."

What an honor to be able to say that...

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