Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Perfect Bear

While he wandered disconsolately after Father Corbibian laid upon him the hard burden of no honey for three moons and no ponies forever, the Bear tried to make sense of everything.

He remembered confessing to Father Corbinian whenever he did something really bad. Father would not absolve a Bear, but he would counsel him. Sometimes the Bear would feel very, very bad and get discouraged after, foe example, killing more sheep than he could even eat.

And now he had killed a pony. He felt like giving up. Pleasing the Good God was too hard for a Bear. However, Father Corbinian always said the same things when the Bear got discouraged.

"A Bear killed some sheep?" the old man would cry out in mock horror. "How is such a thing possible? Especially for you, Bear! You, my old friend, are the height of perfection of all God's creation! No. It is impossible. I will never believe that you, O Perfect Bear, could ever do anything bad!"

When he had finished his display of sarcasm, his voice would become gentle. "Bear, you are right to feel bad for what you did. But it is very bad to feel discouraged. That is the devil. It shows that you have the very worst of sins, Pride, in that you believe you cannot fall. Worse, you are also questioning the Good God's mercy.

"As the holy Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, 'For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.'"

Then he would tell the Bear to make up for the farmer's sheep by leaving a large mess of fish at his door every Friday for six moons, and game whenever he could for a moon. Once again, the Bear would be carrying a burden from Father Corbinian, but sometimes it felt good.

"Be merciful, Bear. Have mercy on the poor farmers and herders who have little enough to begin with. The Evangelist says to be merciful as your Father in Heaven is merciful.

"We must not let 'mercy' get a bad name because of certain misuses of it. The whole Christian religion is ultimately one of mercy. Of providing a way for immortal but imperfect creatures to escape the doom they deserve for their sins and live with God forever.

"Always remember the Good God is the source of mercy, Bear, but He has given you the power to be merciful, too. It would please Him if you could curb your worst instincts and learn to show mercy yourself."

That is hard for a Bear, thought the Bear. God made him fierce, with roars and growls for a voice. Sometimes the Bear envied humans, who are weak in flesh, but find it easy to be good, with no bear skin to shed.


  1. You the Man, Bear! I mean, You the Bear, Man! Well, You're the Greatest!

  2. Good point Bear, about pride. And it is too bad the word mercy has come to have a negative connotation! Over the years the words "tolerance" and "diversity" have all made it to my dislike list. Oh yes, and "multiculturalism". Overused buzz words.

  3. When I hear the word mercy from the grand master of the Vatican, I automatically think tolerance for certain sins.

    Seattle kim

    1. Yes, but that's not what it means, nor what St. Corbinian said. Mercy is so important it's doubtful we can get into Heaven without showing it on Earth. And if mercy is showing people who deserve condemnation something less than the full penalty they deserve, God has given us a Church rich in opportunities to show mercy.

  4. Hey Bear, you can roar and still be merciful especially when: instructing the ignorant; counseling the doubtful; and when admonishing sinners.

    A Bear wouldn't be a bear if he didn't roar and do other untoward things.


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