As night drew in they had left one by one as their parents came to collect them and take them home. Even the Youth Club Leaders had gone. Only the two priests and Mrs Davenport, their housekeeper, remained in the gardens. She got up from her chair and started collecting the plates and cutlery to take them in the house.
“Oh … do sit down Theresa …” said Father Ignatius, “you’ve been working all evening. Just sit down and relax.”
“But there’s all this washing up to do Father …” she replied, “it won’t get done by itself …”
“Don’t worry about the washing up …” said Father Donald picking up his guitar and playing a tune, “Ignatius and I will do all the washing up later … I promise. Now sit down and let’s enjoy a few moments by the fire as it dies down …”
After a few moments of silence, listening to Father Donald playing his guitar, she could keep quiet no longer.
“What are you looking at up in the sky?” she asked Father Ignatius.
“All those stars … shining brightly in a clear dark sky. There must be hundreds and thousands of them. And they’re so far away …” said Father Ignatius pensively.
She looked up and said nothing for a moment or two.
“How are they held up there in the sky?” she asked.
Father Donald stopped playing the guitar.
“They are not held … they are just there …” he mumbled in his broad Glaswegian accent.
“But why don’t they fall?” she continued, “something must be holding them in the sky …”
“There’s no thing as a sky as such …” Father Donald began to explain, “there are stars, and planets and solar systems which make up the universe and …”
“Of course there’s a sky,” she interrupted, “it’s up there and I can see it. It is black at night and it changes color in the morning to blue and sometimes it is red in the evenings …”
“Dear Lord …” mumbled the priest as he picked up his guitar once again.
“What do you think Father Ignatius?” she asked, “isn’t God wonderful to have made all these stars … and in seven days too! He must have been working real fast.”
“I suppose so …” replied Father Ignatius gently.
“And then He made us humans and He put us on this earth …” she interrupted yet again.
“That’s right … He created the universe and all that is in it … including us,” continued Father Ignatius.
She gazed at the stars silently for a few moments. You could almost see the cogs turning in her head as she thought her next question.
“Do you think He created other living beings on those stars Father?” she asked.
Father Donald stopped playing the guitar and waited in anticipation for his fellow priest to reply.
“That’s a difficult question to answer …” said Father Ignatius eventually.
“Why should we be His only creations?” she enquired again.
“We really don’t know if this is the case,” said Father Donald, “there’s nothing in Scripture to suggest that God created other beings apart from us …”
“What do they look like? I wonder …” she interrupted again, “do they look like us? Or are they green with antennas on their heads like you see in the films …
“It says in the Bible that God made us in His image … so He must look human. Or does He look green with antennas so the people up there can recognize Him?
“And did He send them Jesus like He did to us … only He looked green too?”
“I think you’re running ahead of yourself Theresa …” said Father Ignatius gently, “we really have no way of knowing whether God created other living beings on other planets or other solar systems. Nor indeed what they look like.
“But in reality … that is not important.
“What is important is to focus on Him here and now. To accept Him as our God and Creator; and to love Him just as He loves us.
“There are enough mysteries in our Faith which we are asked to believe without us inventing new ones such as green creatures living in outer space …”
“One day as I was in the kitchen,” she said, “Father Donald waved a few sticks of celery through the open window and shouted the ‘Triffids have landed … the Triffids have landed …’ he has a wicked sense of humor, Father, don’t you think?”
“Sometimes humor helps to lighten the mood …” replied Father Ignatius defending his fellow priest.
“He also told me that there are no animals or pets in Heaven … what do you think Father Ignatius? Are there animals in Heaven?”
“I hope not …” replied Father Ignatius, “I would hate to come face to face with the Sunday roast reprimanding me for what I had done to it!”
“Aye indeed …” said Father Donald, “humor does help to lighten the mood … I hope it helps lighten the washing up which we’ve promised to do. Let’s get started!”
MORE FATHER IGNATIUS STORIES HERE