HAD SUNG SCORES of Lakota prayer songs in sweat lodges across the Pine
When I did, the door opened quickly and her daughter’s welcome was smooth
Ridge reservation and talked about Jesus in halls packed with people. I had
walked down dusty roads at sunset behind schoolchildren and nuns holding
black plastic rosaries and said hundreds of Hail Marys. I had listened for hours as
faith was shared, sat in dozens of desks in graduate classrooms, read thousands of
pages about God. But I had never before performed the last rites—which accounts
for my nerves as I stood before the door of a dying woman’s home and raised my
hand to knock.
and warm. I sat in my clerical suit at the kitchen table—my green Pastoral Care of
The best thing about being a priest is to be there for
moments when “hearts are suddenly wide open and the God
who has always longed for such an opening rushes in.”
gives a kiss to his
niece, Hayden Bauer.
God rushes in
BY FATHER PADDY GILGER, S.J.
Father Paddy Gilger, S. J. is a Jesuit priest and assistant pastor at
St. John’s Parish
at Creighton University, Omaha,
he teaches philosophy and
is the editor of
to The Jesuit Post
(Orbis Books), a
collection of essays by young Jesuits about faith,
God, and culture.