Spy Wednesday

“Spy” Wednesday 🕵️‍♂️ is the name traditionally given to the Wednesday of Holy Week. This is the day Judas betrayed Jesus, telling the high priest when Jesus would be in a place where he could be more conveniently arrested, in exchange for thirty pieces of silver. It’s called Spy Wednesday, because of Judas’ sneakiness.

Image from the Catholic All Year Printable Lent Countdown Calendar

Betrayal and suicide are heavy topics for anyone, and especially so for kids. But we’ve had great success introducing the events of the day and even those big related topics, with a fun little activity that’s appropriate for families and classes.

But don’t take it from me, let ME tell you all about it. With the able assistance of some cute kiddos. (Special appearances by the children of my friend and favorite squad organizer Micaela, and my goddaughter Maryam, whose Mom makes these videos!)

Get the Catholic All April printable booklet, with the reading featured, plus prayers and devotions for Holy Week, the beginning of Eastertide, and the whole month of April here, or find it on Amazon as a paperback here.

That connection, between Judas and Peter, that I talk about in the video (and talk about in more detail in the book) feels so profound to me, and gives me so much hope, as strange as that might sound. No matter how great our sins have been or how many our small sins continue to be, we ALWAYS have recourse to humble repentance. We can choose to be Peter and not Judas in the face of our failures. And God will still have great plans for us.

Over Lent, I again picked up a set of daily devotionals that I’ve had and enjoyed for many years called In Conversation With God. (This set would make a great gift for someone entering the Church at Easter, or a teenager being confirmed, or a husband, or anyone looking for a devotional with a scholarly/unsentimental/reusable feel.) Anyway, today’s entry touched on a question that I think many of us struggle with:

How could someone who was Jesus’ friend and companion, who knew first hand Jesus’ goodness and power, betray him?

The Betrayal of Jesus by Judas, by Caravaggio

Fr. Fernandez had this to say:

What can have happened to his soul that he would now betray the Lord for thirty pieces of silver?

For it to be explicable, there must have been a long story behind the betrayal that night. For some time Judas would have been distant from Christ even though he was still in his company. On the surface he would have remained normal, but he must have changed inside and become distant. The split with the Master, the loss of his faith and his vocation must have taken place little by little, as he yielded in more and more important things. . . .

In contrast, perseverance is doing the small everyday things with faith; it is supported by the humility of beginning again when we go astray through weakness.

This just makes it so real for me. It gives a window into not only how Judas could have betrayed Jesus then, but how beloved family members, friends, priests can betray Jesus now.

But yeah, the, um, quarter thing is super fun. Definitely try it. 🤣🤣🤣

Speaking of fun . . .

Good Friday

I wrote a column for Endow Voices this week:

Keeping Good Friday From Going Badly

In it, I address our strategies for Good Friday with little ones, including fasting, avoiding our usual occupations, and keeping ourselves quiet and occupied.

These coloring pages are a big part my strategy for that last bit.

The day before that post published, I saw a discussion in a Catholic FB group I’m in about whether it’s appropriate for a mom to let her kids participate in their secular preschool Easter egg hunt on Good Friday. I’ve addressed that issue for Holy Saturday in a post already. And I was reluctant to jump into the discussion there, because so many had counseled her to not worry about it, and not disappoint her kids, and it wasn’t a big deal, and that seemed like the answer she wanted. Of course some had an opposing viewpoint, but most were nonplussed by the idea.

I didn’t want to pipe in with a giant footprint EXPERT OPINION and crush her dreams, but I keep thinking about it since I reread that column for Endow. I figure since you guys came onto my blog of your own free will, I’ll lay some unpopular opinions on you here.

If it were my family, *I* would decline to participate. This is a GOLDEN opportunity to say with actions what I would have trouble getting across in a thousand speeches: that our faith is important. It’s something we live. It’s something for which we are willing to make sacrifices. Good Friday is the day Jesus suffered and died for you, for me, for your preschoolers and my preschoolers.

How better to make that real for our kids than to sacrifice on that day, and to explain why?

I try to keep the mindset on that Friday that one would have on the day a loved one was suffering and facing death, perhaps having a risky surgery, or bedridden in the end stages of a serious illness. Yes, I’d have breakfast, but it wouldn’t be something I’d necessarily relish. I’d do the most necessary chores, but what I could forego I would. I would be at my loved one’s side if possible. If I couldn’t be, I would look at a photo of him, or call him to talk. No matter what else I was doing during the day, he and his plight would be on my mind. I wouldn’t participate in unnecessary recreational activities. I wouldn’t have the heart to do it. My kids would certainly understand why we would skip school and activities that day.

Even young children can understand this at their own level, and know that Jesus is suffering on this day, so we keep to our family traditions. As they grow older, it will make the triduum and the stories they hear and the images they see more understandable, more real.

I don’t say this to shame or coerce anyone. This is not canon law, and you get to make the choices that work for your circumstances. I might well have attended a preschool Easter egg hunt on Good Friday when my oldest two were little, before I had really considered all this. But I do want to share from my personal experience with my own family, that this type of real, memorable family culture choice, thoroughly and lovingly explained, has made our faith a deeply ingrained part of our real lives. It really is an OPPORTUNITY, if you look at it like that.

The Stations of the Cross printable booklet, perfect for Good Friday, that we’ll be using with our preschoolers through teenagers, is available here.

A Palm Sunday Postscript

The Catholic All April booklet features the l o n g Bible reading of the passion (see the Good Friday section), so you and your family can peruse it at your leisure, if by some happenstance you are busy during Mass trying to avoid palm sword fights and/or tending to poked out eyes. It’s also got illustrated step-by-step instructions for how to make a palm cross when you get home.

I also just put the Holy Week Meal and Activity Planner on sale for only $1. So you can have your most organized Holy Week ever! 😁

I will direct you, for the rest of the days, to the many old posts I have on the subject of Holy Week!

Holy Week Declutter and Donate

Family Movies for Holy Week on Netflix and Amazon

Lent: The End Begins (Ideas and Printables for Holy Week and Easter)

The “You Can Still Do This” Guide to All Things Holy Week

And, finally, in case you missed the announcement yesterday, the Catholic All Year shop now offers posters and framed prints! Use the code GRANDOPENING for 10% off all printed products through Monday April 15th.