Tag Archives: Timber Rattler

Of snakes and souvenirs

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There is a couple of miles high up in the mountains in which it is as likely as not to see a Timber Rattler, alive or dead, on the curvy simple road that is made of loose gravel sprayed with oil.

Locals have a penchant for running over snakes and turtles and anything else they can steer into perhaps without wrecking their vehicles in order to do so. As often as not, if it is a snake, especially a rattler, they’ll cut the head off, and the rattle, for souvenirs.

Jesus has His own souvenirs after His own encounter with the snake mentioned in Genesis 3:15. Jesus’ souvenirs are in the form of five wounds in hands and feet and in His side, His Heart. But Jesus otherwise doesn’t parade around a snake head or tail.

What a strange lot we are. But God loved the world so much that…

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Why some exorcisms fail

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The other night, coming back from the day-off, very near the hermitage, I once again encountered a magnificent Timber Rattler. Screech! Sassy the Subaru’s brakes work most excellently. Out on to the road I popped with telephone camera in hand. I kept about eight feet away as he was ready to spring into action. I took a couple of pictures, and then a car came. I put Sassy into gear and carefully, deliberately, exaggeratedly drove around our snake friend, hoping the crowd in the car behind me would take note of the nice snake and drive around this wonder of nature. Instead, they very slowly and deliberately drove over him, thinking they had accomplished something.

And this is exactly why some exorcisms fail: because of pride, because of attacking Satan directly under one’s own (lack of) wherewithal, in one’s own name, not in the Holy Name of Jesus, but still thinking one has accomplished something.

This is a mind-game with Satan on his own terms, on his own turf. He will be happy to make one think that he has been thrown out, only to come back in a more insidious way. Jesus Himself speaks of this kind of stupidity. This is a seven-fold failure, a perfect fail.

We must go about our entire lives not with self-absorbed mind-games, not with self-referential ways and means, not with the darkness and blindness of pride, but instead through grace received in humility, we are to walk in the presence of Jesus, who is Himself our Savior:

  • NOT an exorcism: “I cast you out, Satan, in my own name!”
  • TRULY an exorcism: “I cast you out, Satan, in the Holy Name of Jesus!”

There’s a huge difference. It’s the same with authority, which one must have:

  • NOT an exorcism: “I cast you out, Satan, in my own name and under my own authority because I don’t care what Jesus’ Church has to say about it!”
  • TRULY an exorcism: “I cast you out, Satan, in the Holy Name of Jesus and with the express mandate to do so as given by my bishop!”

Again, the exorcist who works under his own authority may seem to have great success baiting him into thinking that he is right to buck the authority Jesus Himself gave to His own Church. The disobedient exorcist may think he is himself most charitable, a martyr of charity. No. Satan will come back in more insidious ways, destroying peoples’ lives all the more effectively.

The upshot in our own lives: We are not to attack Satan directly. We are not to attack sin directly. Yes, we are to make a firm purpose of amendment, avoid occasions of sin, get out of an occasion of sin should we find ourselves in such, all the normal, traditional things. Yep.

BUT! But we are NOT to make it all about us, about how powerful and great we are, because we not that. Instead, we are to call on Saint Michael, on our guardian angels, and do this with humility. We are to be humbly thankful to Jesus for coming into this fallen world to grab us and bring us to heaven, because, wow, it’s so obvious we need saving and it’s He that is our Savior, NOT us. The person who says: “I’m doing well now!” is the person who will fall almost immediately. We cast out Satan and sin by Jesus drawing us into friendship with Himself, by being in humble reverence, thankful, in friendship, before Jesus, confident of His love for us, of His immediate care for us.

Jesus said that we cannot, will not enter the kingdom of heaven if we are not like little children before our heavenly Father. Little kids don’t count on themselves to be saved. They look with confidence to others, and in the cases above, to Jesus. Jesus saves us from Satan. Jesus leads us into a true life of prayer, to walk in His presence, even in the most trying of circumstances. Thank you Jesus.

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Crotalus Horridus Timber Rattler

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“You brood of vipers!” – Saint John the Baptist

I came upon this guy near the hermitage on the “day-off” yesterday. Not quite four feet long [correction: 50.5 inches] but really quite hefty. He’s been eating very well. I’m guessing a few pounds. Quite the set of fangs. Quite the rattler, from which you can tell he’s only a youngster:

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Timber Rattlers, everywhere in this area of the Blue Mountains, can also be almost totally black, but this guy had only a black tail. The rest was the usual spectacular golden color and black markings:

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Meanwhile, getting back to the rectory late at night, another suspicious pattern, but actually just a baby black snake faking being a Timber Rattler. This is just a section of the body. He’s been ripped apart before I got back from the “day-off.” Poor thing.

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Shadow-Dog pooped a Timber Rattler

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Ho-hum. Looking out the kitchen window this morning I see that Shadow-dog just pooped out a full size Timber Rattlesnake. Markings. Fat body. Relatively short tail. Ultra-fat head with fangs. Wikipedia says that “Potentially, this is one of North America’s most dangerous snakes, due to its long fangs, impressive size, and high venom yield.” They warn with lots of antics, but I think that only makes Shadow-dog’s adrenaline pump all the more. Sorry that this next photo didn’t focus, but this is the decapitated head:

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Out of focus or not, that’s good enough for me. All very poopy.

Not to worry. I looked it up. Dogs eating venomous snakes for breakfast doesn’t hurt them in the least. :-) Shadow-dog was simply content with a good snack.

It’s been raining and raining and raining after snowing and snowing and snowing. The back yard is a bit of a mess. I’m planning on extending the fence and planting lots of grass seed. Meanwhile, don’t feel sorry for wet and muddy Shadow-dog. He has a warm dry shelter out of the weather tucked far back under the non-mud-cement-patio corrugated roof. Also, he comes in for most of the night. You just have to know that a GSD loves water and mud. He’s been expanding his mud holes with water in them just for fun. I don’t mind. I did that as a kid. Why not?

Anyway, a thought came to mind. You can see how there is zero shelter, zero hiding places for a snake, particular a Timber Rattler which stays in, well, you know, the timber, the forest. We’re in the middle of a city. How is it that that Rattler would insist on being inside that fence line slithering immediately right into the jaws of Shadow-dog, who, by the way, wouldn’t be hidden. It just doesn’t make sense. Ain’t gonna happen if you ask me. The snake, on its own, would zip away. Poor snake. Maybe he was thrown in while I was on my day off. If that’s the case, the result is the following:

  • One proud and brave Shadow-dog.
  • One now impressed but scared snake-handler.

Analogy:

  • Just when people think they “have you”, you come out stronger for it, more character, a broader foundation of experience from which to proceed, with Jesus, of course. Hah.
  • Just when the devil thinks he “has you”, you come out stronger for it, more character, a broader foundation of experience from which to proceed, with Jesus, of course. Hah.
  • Just when your fallen human nature thinks it has won, you come out stronger for it, more character, a broader foundation of experience from which to proceed, with Jesus, of course. Hah.

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