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Drawing #7

Drawing No. 7

Makoto Fujimura

Mineral pigments, gold, oyster shell on Yoshida paper

1997

Then, as always happened at night, the face of Christ rose up in his heart. It was the face of the man upon whom he had trampled... For a moment this foot was on his face. It was on the face of the man who has been ever in my thoughts, on the face that was before me on the mountains, in my wanderings, in prison, on the best and most beautiful face that any man can ever know, on the face of him whom I have always longed to love. Even now that face is looking at me with eyes of pity from the plaque rubbed flat by many feet. “Trample!” said those compassionate eyes. “Trample! Your foot suffers in pain; it must suffer like all the feet that have stepped on this plaque. But that pain alone is enough. I understand your pain and your suffering. It is for that reason that I am here.”

“Lord, I resented your silence.”

“I was not silent. I suffered beside you.”

“But you told Judas to go away: What thou dost do quickly. What happened to Judas?”

“I did not say that. Just as I told you to step on the plaque, so I told Judas to do what he was going to do. For Judas was in anguish as you are now.”

He had lowered his foot on to the plaque, sticky with dirt and blood. His five toes had pressed upon the face of one he loved. Yet he could not understand the tremendous onrush of joy that came over him at that moment.

- Silence, Shusaku Endo

Drawing #7 forms part of Makoto Fujimura’s "Resurrection," a work that in installation spans more than 30 feet and is laid out on the floor, like fumi-e. The final image of the installation is the actual image of the cross depicted in Drawing #7. Here, cross and resurrection merge in beauty.

This drawing offers a way to enter into Rodrigues’ experience at the end of the novel. Rodrigues doesn’t truly accept Christ’s radical grace in the moment when Christ speaks to him from the fumi-e, granting him permission to trample. The priest is wracked with guilt about what he has done, as this passage shows. But even in that suffering, Christ has not abandoned him, and reaches out again. In this scene, he finally understands Christ’s sharing in our sufferings and receives Christ’s grace in the midst of his guilt, betrayal, and apostasy. The sudden onrush of joy Rodrigues feels is possible because of Christ’s resurrection glory: the merciful redemption of Christ offered to him through the shame of his suffering and death. It is the scandalous beauty of the cross.

 

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