Tuesday 8 June 2010

Stars and celery.

It was a beautiful warm summer evening. The youngsters from the Youth Club had gathered in the gardens behind St Vincent Church and enjoyed a lovely prayer service led by Father Ignatius and Father Donald, followed by a barbecue and singing by the fire.

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!”


  1. I'm gasping for breath! You ARE wicked funny, Victor! Triffids, celery, and a little green Jesus?!
    The funny thing is - THIS HAS CROSSED MY MIND! I'm as sick as you are! LOL! I have actually wondered if another planet:
    Had life, fell and needed to be redeemed.
    YEP, THIS HAS CROSSED MY MIND! I never thought anyone would have the "guts" to write a story like this because it meant that-IT CROSSED THEIR MIND,TOO! God gave some people active imaginations, didn't he? I laughed myself silly reading this!

  2. Hi Mary,

    This was the subject of a conversation with a kindly priest I knew years ago. Did God create other living beings on another planet? And did they need redeeming?

    His answer is what Father Ignatius said: It is more important to focus on our God, our Creator than to waste time with fanciful questions.

    God bless you Mary. I'm glad this story made you smile.

  3. You mean it crossed his mind, too? That's three...maybe others have thought of this. I agree, it's a waste of time. Might not be fruitful but it did make me laugh!

  4. I've always hoped there are animals in heaven... even thought I think St. Thomas Aquinas says there aren't (not sure if I'm right about that). As for Sunday roast, well, I won't have to worry about that anymore!

  5. I am still trying to get the image of the roast reprimanding father for what he had done to it out of my head :)
    OK- Mary- make it 4 of us. The thought use to cross my mind- especially during my New Age, X-Files phase! I rather like Fr. Ignatius' and Victor's priest friend's reply.
    Great post Victor- love Fr. Ignatius' sense of humor and yours as well.

  6. Oh Victor I have often wondered about life on other planets but I also know to focus on God here and now......if there are others it will up to God to take care of.......:-) Hugs

  7. Hello Mary, Maria, Karinann and Bernie,

    I'm sure many people have wondered about life on other planets and whether God visited them too as He did with Jesus on earth. But then, if that were a possibility, then surely we should leave it to God to sort out, and we should concentrate our efforts on loving and obeying Him; just as Father Ignatius said.

    As for animals in Heaven? Maybe I should stop my Sunday roast just in case, and stick to celery! Doesn't taste as good. But then who's to say that there aren't plants in Heaven ... they are living beings too. I'd hate to be chased all over Heaven by a bunch of carrots, sticks of celery and a whole lot of salads. Not to mention spinach ... oh no ... anything but spinach ... isn't life terrible enough with spinach here on earth ... and now we have it in Heaven too !!!

    God bless you Mary, Maria, Karinann and Bernie. What a discussion we have started here !!!

  8. This is an issue that comes up from time to time and I think Father Ignatius has the right take on it.

  9. Greetings Tracy,

    You're right, many people have wondered about life on other planets. Perhaps we should leave the whole matter in God's hands.

    God bless.

  10. I have the same thoughts when I ponder the stars. It's such a huge universe with so, so many stars and probably planets. Could there be life on some of them? I can't wait to ask when we get to Heaven.

  11. Hello Sarah,

    Statistically speaking, I am told, the chances are there is life out there. We'll have to wait an see.

    God bless.



God bless you.