The Serpent in my Path

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.

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  • Claire

    Thank you so much for this article, Peggy. It really hits home. I definitely feel that the devil likes to attack right after Confession.

  • AllisonC

    Thank you, Peggy. Your article truly hit home. I, too, have a problem with controlling my anger, and you have enabled me to take ahold of that chain to heaven as well.

  • kmbold

    Likewise, Claire. Peggy, those prunings can be hard to take, but you (and your husband) should bear much fruit, to the chagrin of the infernal serpent, you can bet.

  • Nice tie-in to the Gospel reading today!

  • Thank you, Peggy.