A Catholic Monthly Magazine

More Learning from Bears and Bees

Fr Tom Ryan

‘Well,’ said Pooh, ‘what I like best, and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.’ (AA Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh )

It has been said that anticipating the pleasure is more delicious than the pleasure itself. Is this what Pooh is getting at? How often in the Scriptures, future joy is couched in images of nectar? What is promised is the land ‘flowing with milk and honey’. We hope for an abundance of the spiritual gifts and of happiness and delights.

God’s word ‘sweeter than honey’ is offered to us. We don’t, like Pooh, have to reach into the tree’s cavity and grasp the honeycomb. It is extended as a gift, and, then, we grab it. It is rolled around in the mouth, its tastes savoured and explored. 

These are the things beyond the human mind, the things God has prepared for those who love him and meant to nourish our heads and our hearts. Tasted now, they are fully absorbed and fully savoured in life with God. 

What happens when we taste God’s Word? God’s ‘word’ suggests the Word – Jesus as God incarnate, present in his Church, Scripture and the mysteries of faith. St. Jerome reminds us, to be ignorant of the Scriptures is to be ignorant of Christ. We draw closer to Him.

Taste enables us to experience something ‘from inside what we are tasting’. The closer we are to God, the more we taste God and a get a taste for God. We know God ‘from the inside’. 

Finally, if we listen carefully to AA Milne’s Pooh or Piglet, we can hear Jesus responding. 

“I used to believe in forever, but forever's too good to be true.”

Try again. It’s never too late…you have no idea of the ‘forever’ I have waiting for you…

“I don’t feel very much like Pooh today," said Pooh. “There, there,” said Piglet, “I’ll bring you tea and honey until you do.”

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! - Psalm 119:103

Come to me and I will give you not just tea and honey but my Father’s love flowing with my gifts, pressed down and running over into your lap. Most importantly, I want to share my very self with you as bread and wine NOW so that you will find your true self in me.

Finally, “Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”

Piglet, you and I are on the same page. It’s somewhat like that for me with my Abba Father. You’re on the Jesus team – any time!!    

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