Idol Chatter

Actor Liam Neeson investigated his faith during the filming of director Martin Scorsese’s “Silence.”

His examination found something more profound than religious facts on the Jesuit priest he plays.

Remarkably, he found God’s love.

“I have had personal experiences of God’s love, beautiful and calming, all the things the Psalms talk about,” Nesson told in an interview.

Based on the true-life character, Nesson’s character was trapped in Japan during the 17th century while spreading the message of Christianity. The film explains how two Jesuit priests Father Sebastian Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Francisco Garrpe (Adam Driver) went to find their colleague (Ferreira), who was being tortured because of his faith. As they made their pilgrimage, they encountered fierce hostility and violence while spreading the word of Christianity.

Initially, the Japanese believed that Christianity was a tenant of the Buddhist faith. When they realized that people were converting, the persecution started and believers went into hiding.

“[Ferreira] believed that Christ would work through him and this gave him the freedom to learn the language and to serve the people in other ways that were meaningful.”

Father Ferreira, however, was reaching faith crisis because he didn’t understand why God wasn’t answering him. He ultimately ends up recanting his faith while being tortured by the Japanese for five hours over a fire pit.

Nesson was not the only person who experienced a rekindling of faith.

Garfield unearthed something far greater than his character after investigating Christian theology.

“What was really easy was falling in love with this person, was falling in love with Jesus Christ. That was the most surprising thing,” said Garfield who spent a year with Jesuit priests.

Garfield considered himself an atheist but found a relationship with Jesus Christ while preparing for the film.

“You make all these sacrifices in service of God, in service of what you believe God is calling you into, and even after all of that heart and soul, that humble offering…that humility…even after all of that someone is going to throw a stone and dismiss it. It’s a wonderful, wonderful grace to be given, to be shown,” he said.

For Nesson, he realized that Ferreira’s idea of God was “ultimately one of love, but this is what I choose to believe myself. I still believe in a God, you know,” he said during a press conference.

“If God were a stern master, I would have given up the faith long ago. God is love, love is God,” said Nesson who was raised Roman Catholic in Ballymena, Northern Ireland.

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