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A Book Review… Even A Spider Can Be A Hero

October 9, 2020 Frontpage No Comments

By PEGGY MOEN

The Spider Who Saved Christmas: A Legend, by Raymond Arroyo. Published by Sophia Institute Press in 2020, it is available at amazon.com.

Raymond Arroyo’s newest children’s book, The Spider Who Saved Christmas, is great reading for all ages.
Few people actually like spiders, but this one, Nephila, is an expectant mother with many children, a skilled artisan, and a hero of the faith.
When the Holy Family takes refuge in her cave, fleeing from Herod’s anti-life forces, Joseph is on the alert, looking out for anyone threatening his family. Nephila drops a line to get a closer look at the radiant Baby. Joseph sees Nephila and swings at her, fearing she could harm the Child.
He misses, but damages her web.
“All are here for a reason,” Mary tells Joseph. “Let it be.”
Nephila manages to repair the web. Then, a warm breeze helps reattach the web to the wall.
Gazing at the Christ Child, Nephila, like a great mystic, understood what she was to do: weave a golden web over the entry to the cave. This would protect the three holy people inside — including St. Joseph, who mistakenly tried to kill Nephila. This is a badly needed message of forgiveness!
Nephila and her older children work together on the web, making her like an outstanding home-schooling mom! Soon, the mouth of the cave is blocked by a thick and beautiful golden web.
Two of Herod’s men approach the cave, under the orders of a commander. They are ready to kill any baby boy under the age of two. Those within the cave have heard the wails of death and the cries of bereavement. One of the soldiers says that if anyone had entered the cave, the web would have been ripped apart. And, fearing the spider perched on the web, the two men leave.
The Holy Family is then safe to continue their journey into Egypt, thanks to the spiders.
We, too, have some unlikely heroes, some in high positions in government, and we are seeing heavily burdened people — like Nephila — taking on even more challenges in the face of anti-life threats, social discord, and the upcoming election.
Another aspect of the book is the presence of beauty. In the creation and in the enjoyment of the beautiful, hard-pressed souls can find relief from trials of sickness and destruction. The book’s illustrator, Randy Gallegos, uses majestic colors — royal blue, purple, and gold — to create scenes of a new Kingdom. The beauty of the language is also impressive.
Arroyo — the host of EWTN’s The World Over — notes at the end of his story that Poles, Ukrainians, and other Eastern Europeans use spider ornaments on Christmas trees to commemorate the legendary spider who saved Christmas.
All who love Christmas and all who could use a lift to their spirits will enjoy this book.

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