|The Bishop of Constance|
And yet, once that moment had happened, how could he possibly be remembered for anything else? Conrad was at the altar, consecrating the wine, when a spider dropped into the chalice. He believed that all spiders were poisonous. He also believed that the wine had become the sacred blood of Jesus, and therefore had to be consumed.
Down the hatch, nasty little eight-legged creeper and all.
Faith can be tested in big ways, like Blessed Hugh Taylor and Blessed Marmaduke Bowes, who are also celebrated on November 26. Hugh was a Roman Catholic priest in Elizabethan England, the first to be brought to trial and executed. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered. Marmaduke was an English yeoman who opened his home to shelter the priests during Elizabethan England. He was ratted out by his children's tutor, an apostate Catholic. Summoned to the assizes, Bowes was indicted, convicted, and executed all on the same day -- still in his riding boots and spurs. Such a public test of faith, with the stakes so high and everyone watching, might fortify a man's resolve.
But the ArachnoChug was another matter entirely. The chalice was opaque -- who would ever know if you didn't finish it? In that moment, when it is just you and God and a poisoned cup -- that is the test of Faith.