Friday morning after Mass the telephone rang in the parish house. It was a call from a farmer, whose mother was critically ill. Would the pastor kindly come and administer the last sacraments to the dying? He wanted to call for the pastor with his own car, but somehow it was out of order and he couldn't locate the trouble. He had been trying to start it for over an hour, but in vain. It simply would not start. So he asked the pastor to come with his own auto, or to hire a taxi at the farmer's expense.
Within a quarter of an hour the pastor was on his way to help the sick woman, carrying the Blessed Sacrament with him. After dispensing the last sacraments, Father Steiger was again on the road towards Earling. The road was familiar to him, for he had gone that way hundreds of times, by night and by day, and he knew every bump and stone along the way. He drove very carefully not only because the auto was new, but also because he was mindful of the devil's threats to trick him whenever the opportunity was ripe.
He prayed to his Guardian Angel and to St. Joseph, his Patron Saint, for a safe journey home. Suddenly as he was driving along, a dark black cloud appeared before him. It came just as he was about to pass a bridge over a deep ravine. Great God, it seemed as if his eyes were blindfolded! The next moment there was a crash, a smash-up which dumfounded him. He found himself in a mess of ruins. The auto had crashed into the railing of the bridge with an indescribable force although he had jerked the car into low gear. The auto, now a complete wreck, was hanging on the iron trellis threatening every moment to drop into the deep abyss below. The noise of the crash was so loud that a farmer ploughing a field some distance away heard the noise and became greatly alarmed. Full of anxiety he hastened to the scene of the accident, "Good God, it's the pastor's car! Father, Father, what has happened? Are you hurt?" The pastor, scared to death, slowly crawled out from underneath the debris. Even the steering wheel was crushed to pieces. His legs would hardly hold him up. The wonder of it was that the rod of the steering wheel had not pierced his breast as frequently happens in such accidents. The farmer hastened home at once and soon reappeared with his own car. Leaving the wrecked car behind, he took the pastor, still shaking and in a deathlike pallor, into his own car and hurried directly to the nearest doctor to ascertain if there were any internal injuries. No, he was not seriously injured. The doctor discovered some external scars and a state of nervous excitement, but there was no sign of any internal injury. Thank God for that!
Leaving the doctor's office, they drove straight to the parish house at Earling. There was no one at home, for they had all gone over to the covent to witness the exorcism. So the pastor also went there. He had hardly entered the room when he was greeted with a roaring laughter full of vengeance and bitter spleen: "hahaha -- hahaha!" as if the devil were about to burst into a fit of malicious joy at besting him. "Today he pulled in his proud neck and was outpointed! I certainly showed him up today. What about your new auto, that dandy car which was smashed to smithereens? It served you right!"
The others looked wonderingly at the pastor. He was still pale but nothing ailed him otherwise.
"Reverend Pastor, is the devil speaking the truth?" they asked.
"Yes, what he says is true. My auto is a complete wreck. But he was not able to harm me personally."
A quick reply came from the devil: "Our aim was to get you, but somehow our plans were thwarted. It was your powerful Patron Saint who prevented us from harming you."
News of this accident soon spread abroad and the people in deep sympathy with their beloved pastor, collected enough money to buy him a new car, so that the devil would receive no satisfaction from his pranks. Again and again the devil gleefully reminded the pastor of this incident and warned him to "be ready for a whole lot more of fun."
The devil also betrayed himself by saying that he is often the cause of similar accidents in order to bring people to quicker ruin. In this way he can get his revenge and give vent to his anger because lawsuits frequently result as a consequence, which, in turn, are responsible for much hatred and misunderstanding among people.
The reader may make his own conclusions and resolutions regarding this. It cannot be so readily denied that the enemy of mankind actually plays a great part in such accidents. Is he not a "man-killer from the very beginning?" Hence a timely warning to those who use the auto for evil purposes, who decorate it with all sorts of nonsense and who even display figures alluringly immoral. The Church has provided a special blessing under the protection of St. Christopher against evil and disastrous influences. Therefore, it is customary to put one of these blessed medals or medallions in cars for safety's sake. St. Paul calls attention to the fact that the very air is filled with evil spirits.