Beatus et Possessus: Sacred Rituals and Crisis of Faith in Requiem for the Living

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Libin Andrews


Without risk there is no faith. Faith is precisely the contradiction between the infinite passion of the individual’s inwardness and the objective uncertainty (Kierkegaard 210). Faith which is the cornerstone of the religious life cannot be grasped by any means of concepts other than the religious experience of the faithful. The sacred rituals is the greatest example of one’s faith in God. It is the symbol of highest form of love  – agape  – the love to God and love to thy neighbour. Requiem for the Living presents a “Mother of Faith”, Juana Mammanji (Grand Mother), the matriarch of a Luso – Indian household, who were devout Latin Catholics. The novella presents a chain of faith spanning through generations that kept the whole community together, left broken with the present descendant Osha. Mammanji becomes the blessed in her community by helping out her family and community to live a meaningful life by following the sacred rituals while Osha was possessed by the specter of the glorious past, losing himself in his fallen state. Mammanji becomes the God’s faith – ful by reviving her community with His sacred dictums as revealed through her while Osha becomes faith – less by abstaining from his path to be a beacon to his community. The customs and religious traditions of the community emerged out of Juana Mammanji from her lived experience has been left with no heir when it comes to the present. 

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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The Sacred and the Profane: Intersections between Religion and Literature