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Wednesday, April 12, 2017 Spy Wednesday

1 Samuel, Chapter 4, Verse 20
She was about to die when the women standing around her said to her, “Do not be afraid, you have given birth to a son.” Yet she neither answered nor paid any attention.

The Ark of the Covenant was the glory of Israel who had by this time had become no better than their neighbors and they worshiped the gods of their neighbors. Additionally as they descended they warred with each other rather than the nations opposed to them. The Ark was now considered a powerful talisman in war and when the Israelites bring it into battle with the Philistines it is captured and the glory of Israel departs. The cause was the corruption of the priestly family of Eli who forgot the way of God. God would call another Priest: Samuel and the house of Eli was brought down.

Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall[1]

·         The Israelites lose a battle against the Philistine army. The Philistines are a sea people and a superior fighting force. The Israelites rarely stand a chance against them (1-2).
·         The Israelites decide to bring the Ark of the Covenant into the camp with them so they might win the battle the next day. Everyone gets so excited when the Ark makes its way into camp, the echoes of joy reach all the way to the Philistine camp and they become afraid.
·         The next day, the Philistines fight even harder and they steal the Ark for themselves. So much for that plan, Israelites. Oh, and Hophni and Phinehas die just as prophesied (3-11).
·         A messenger comes to deliver the news of Israel's defeat. Eli, sitting in his place of power on the outer wall, receives the news of the defeat, the loss of the Ark, and the death of his sons.
·         He promptly falls backwards from his seat, breaks his neck, and dies. Little known fact: Humpty Dumpty is based on Eli. Little known fact: that was a lie (14-18).
·         Phinehas' pregnant wife, upon hearing of his demise, goes into labor and gives birth to a son. She is so sad, she names the child Ichabod, which means the glory has departed from Israel. Sorry kid, you're stuck with it (19-22).

Passion Week Timeline[2]

April 12
Silent Day
·         No record in the Gospels, but much activity as Jesus prepares for Last Supper and as Judas and Sanhedrin prepare for Jesus' arrest
·         Remains in Bethany throughout the day, stays night there

Wednesday of Holy Week[3]

Spy Wednesday. The account of Christ's Passion according to St. Luke during the daily Mass; and the nocturnal office of Tenebrae, a sustained reflection on the treachery of Judas, the privation of holiness, and the need for conversion. Attending Tenebrae. Tenebrae consists of the divine office of Matins and Lauds for Maundy Thursday. It is generally held on the night of "Spy Wednesday" of Holy Week, so-called because it is believed to be the night on which Judas Iscariot betrayed our Lord. The service thus explores the nature of Judas' betrayal, the mental anguish of our suffering Lord, and the desecration of what was once holy and beautiful. Its ceremonies include the use of a "hearse," a triangular candelabrum that holds fifteen candles which are successively extinguished during the liturgy until the entire church is enveloped in darkness. Only one candle remains lit at the end, which is hidden by the Epistle side of the altar before the Miserere is chanted. The service concludes with a banging noise, followed by silence. The extinction of the fourteen candles calls to mind the fourteen holy men mentioned in the Bible who, from the foundation of the world to the very threshold of Christ's coming, were slain by their own wicked brethren. The hiding of the fifteenth candle, on the other hand, signifies the murder and resurrection of Christ Himself, while the banging noise commemorates the confusion of nature when its Creator died (Mt. 27.51).

Aids in Battle[4] Holy Water

·         Nothing puts the demons to flight like holy water.
·         They run away before the Sign of the Cross as well, but they return immediately. Great, then, must be the power of holy water.
·         Everything ordained by the Church is very important; the words of the Church are so mighty that they endow water with power, so that there becomes a great difference between holy water and water that has never been blessed.

Holy Water[5]

We begin in water; our human form in the amniotic sac, “bag of waters”, in the womb. In the order of nature birth begins when a mothers “water breaks.” So with water we begin our visits to church and we dip a hand into the holy water font and bless ourselves. When the world was lost to sin and needed cleansing and rebirth, God sent a great flood, and from the flood the family of Noah found new life. When Israel emerged from slavery as a unified nation, it first had to pass through the waters of the Red Sea. Though babies had always been born through “water,” now grown men and women could be “born of water and the Holy Spirit.” The Church Fathers taught that Jesus, by descending into the waters of the River Jordan, had sanctified the waters of the world, He made them living and life-giving, He made them a source of supernatural regeneration, refreshment and cleansing. St. Teresa of Avila wrote that “there is nothing the devils flee from more—without returning—than holy water.”

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Novena to St. Bernadette

[4] Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.
[5] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 1. Holy Water.