It was a perfect spring day, and I had labored intensely all morning on my chores and responsibilities, knowing that the reward for my efforts would be a long ride on my mountain bike. I changed into my biking clothes, filled water bottles, located the bike pump, pumped up my tires and donned my helmet and gloves. As I swung a leg over the top tube and settled down into the saddle, I was in for an unpleasant surprise. My knees nearly knocked into my chin because my husband had lowered the seat so our 12 year-old son could ride the bike last weekend. Unfortunately, neither of the men in my life had thought it important to return the saddle to its original position.
I hopped off the bike and loosened the bolt that held the seat post in place. I twisted, pulled, yanked and tugged for 15 minutes without avail. The seat wouldn’t budge, and I was hopping mad.
Then I did something I shouldn’t have done. I called my husband at work to chew him out. He patiently listened as I explained my dilemma, my voice rising with every sentence. He apologized and offered to fix the bike when he got home. Still not content, I continued to berate him until he had the wisdom to end the conversation. Like a toddler with a temper tantrum, I kicked a tree that I had leaned the bike against. Instantly, the anger left me as I realized how foolish I was to get upset at something so trivial. I called my husband back to apologize, but his phone was turned off. I left a contrite message, and went back inside to change into running clothes.
Turning on my ipod, I selected the recording of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary to accompany my run. I settled into a moderate pace, soothed by the rhythm of the familiar repeated prayers. As I meditated on the First Sorrowful Mystery, The Agony in the Garden, I rounded a curve on the paved trail and was startled to see a long black snake slither across my path. Mesmerized, I slowed to a jog and watched it disappear into the tall grass. I recalled a scene from the movie, The Passion of The Christ, where Jesus encounters a snake in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Realization suddenly struck me as it must have struck St. Peter when the rooster crowed. Satan was mocking me, knowing that I had yet again succumbed to the temper I had struggled my entire life to control. It had been a mere two days since I had wiped my soul clean at the Confessional. My shoulders sagged, my spirits sank.
The repeated Hail Marys in my earbuds brought me out of my reverie. Of course! I recalled the words of Pope Pius XI, “The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin…” In fact, I had offered the Rosary I was currently praying for help in keeping my temper in check. I stood up taller, and picked up my pace with renewed determination.
Satan would not win the battle for my soul as long as I continued my devotion to the Rosary. Mary, my teacher in her “School of the Rosary,” was the archenemy of the devil. She is a powerful ally in my struggle against evil– the woman of Genesis 3:15 who crushes the head of the serpent.
I knew that the serpent would return, again and again. As a fallen daughter of Adam and Eve, I must do battle with the enemy of my ancient ancestors. Blessedly I am armed with a simple string of beads, a heavenly chain to pull down graces from above at any time I should need them.