Sunday, 3 April 2011

Would you eat a spider for Christ?

That may count as an attention grabbing headline but it does refer to today's feast, that of St Richard of Chichester and my patron saint, of course, not that I stand a chance of anything in the way of a celeb. as it all goes in the direction of 'Mother' today! And quite right too.

Not many Bishops could swallow a spider!
 St Richard, according to legend, was celebrating Holy Mass when, at the point of him consuming the chalice containing the Precious Blood, a large and somewhat hirsute spider fell from the ceiling into the chalice. Now this is the dilemma that those in favour of communion under both kinds may have to face. What to do in the event of a spillage or, in this instance, a spider falling into the chalice. There is no way that you may remove the Sacred Species from carpet fibres and certainly no way that you could extract a spider without profaning the same Species.
St Richard, of course, being a man of decisive and correct action, did not hesitate for one split second; he proceeded to consume the Blood of Our Lord, spider and all! What a man!
Now I have eaten ants, bees, grasshoppers and scorpions (anyone travelling to China will have done the same) but I am very grateful that a spider en croute was never dished up before me, I would have had to demur.

Prayer of St Richard.....

Thanks be to you, our Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits which you have given us,
for all the pains and insults which you have borne for us.
Most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother,
may we know you more clearly,
love you more dearly,
and follow you more nearly,
day by day.


  1. I've got no problems with spiders. I do remember one Mass when a bat entered our church. The lady sitting in front of me spent most of the remainder of Mass cowering under the pew - really.

  2. Oh my. Spiders are my extreme phobia, so no, I'd probably rather die first. :)

  3. ...Yes...I would have taken the spider. This is the stuff of horror movies for others who suffer from the mere sight of spiders, but I confess to not minding them...

  4. Not had it been a mouse... It would have riggled and tickled inside me.

    PS - This reminds me about the song of the woman who swalled a spider to catch the fly...

  5. And this was before the "Freddie Starr ate my hamster" headline!

  6. Oh wow, I'll have to tell my girls about this. They were just playing the game- "would you rather eat a spider or a slug?" "would you rather eat dirt or sand?" etc.

  7. Popular renewal speaker, Athanasios Paul Thompson says "Insects in the wine? Let this cup pass from me BUT NOT MY WILL be done." The alledged incident engenders humor and a pricked conscience at the same time. Apart from the question of historicity, it is a great metaphor for the many troubling circumstances we face along the righteous path to glory when called to be holy. Only a few of us will be heroic when tested. Most of us are simply struggling "saints" who often fail our Lord. If prepared, many of us could be noble when facing difficult challenges. All of us could benefit from a full plate of divine courage before imbibing a tasty test of faith.