It is a grey day – the sometimes-fickle Irish weather knows its place. With a mixture of sadness and deep gratitude, I say goodbye to one of the people who has most influenced my life and thought: Irish Jesuit Michael Paul Gallagher.
This is the person who taught me to trust my own thought, to find my own questions and to bring music and creativity into the heart of my theological thinking. Always supportive, never invasive, quiet, discerning, passionate about that which matters; suitably dismissive of that which does not.
I feel blessed, even while navigating an impoverished landscape without his wise presence somewhere in the background, or on the other side of the world… voicing thoughts on vocation, and women in the Church, and how essential it is we stop living on the surface of ourselves and re-imagine ourselves with more depth and possibility.
When asked in an interview, how he would finish, if on his deathbed, the following sentence “I’m glad I joined the Jesuits because…” his words, with a smile were: “In the words of psalm 4, (night prayer on Saturday nights…): ‘you have put into my heart a greater joy than abundance of corn and new wine’. There is nothing wrong with abundance of corn and new wine, but there is a greater joy. And I have known it in various places of this strange life. It is a very strange life.”
Rest in peace, MPG.
In the Lord, MLH.