Rambling on the Holy Trinity and Snakes

[author’s note: from our time of preparation and deployment to Iraq.]

May 30, 2010

During our Army training around Fort Hood, we found that central Texas has a lot of snakes. Don’t get me wrong, the area around Grand Island does as well, just not as many poisonous snakes. Here we find rattlesnakes, cotton mouths, copperheads, just to name a few. We were told when we arrived to leave the local fauna alone, in other words, don’t pick up snakes. Who has to be told not to pick up snakes? OK, boys are one group that needs to have this knowledge. The rest of us, girls, women, men and anyone with a brain in their head know that you DO NOT PICK UP SNAKES. In fact most people have a healthy sense of fear when they encounter a legless reptilian. Screaming, running, fainting and/or jumping are all understandable reactions to our slithering friends. Snakes don’t particularly bother me, but I won’t go out of my way to see one and I certainly wouldn’t touch one—you could get grey hair from touching a snake (frog’s cause warts, snakes cause grey hair—trust me).

The other day, in the evening twilight, I was walking with one of our Catholic Soldiers who is a little older than I. He lives in Utah and has a definite fear of snakes. In fact the only reason he walks with anybody is in case of snake; he throws his partner in front of the snake while he makes a safe getaway. He tried walking once by himself and was ambushed by what he called “a sneaky snake.” The experience left him with chest pains and the urge for company while walking. I tried to assure him that snakes are a part of God’s creation, a part of nature. He was convinced that Adam and Eve would have been better off without a snake, and so would the world today.

As we begin the summer season with this Feast of the Holy Trinity, we are reminded that it is the creative power of God that holds all creation in existence. The love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit created nature and holds it in existence from moment to moment. For our part we must recognize that nature is of divine origin and avoid two extremes. One is to neglect nature and be wasteful of resources. Environmentalism has a definite part in our lives, protecting the gifts God has given us. At the same time we must not overvalue nature as a god or source of all life; it is not, only God is. Nature is temporary; our true home is with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who is above nature and above our limitations.

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