Pope Francis has exhorted people to fight the temptations of Satan using the Word of God in his Sunday Angelus message for March 9th, which he delivered to the assembled crowds on the first Sunday of Lent in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. Francis centered his thoughts in the message on the Gospel passage for the day on Jesus’ temptation in the desert by Satan. “Note well: how does Jesus respond? He doesn’t dialogue with Satan, like Eve had done in earthly paradise. Jesus knows well that with Satan, one cannot dialogue, because he’s very cunning. For this reason, Jesus, rather than dialoguing like Eve did, chooses to take refuge in the word of God, and responds with the force of this word,” the Pope pointed out. “Let us remind ourselves of this in moments of temptation, in our own temptations: no discussions with Satan, but simply defense with the word of God, and that will save us,” taught the Pope, urging greater biblical literacy.
When Satan came to Jesus to tempt him, he did so with three distinct kinds of temptations, forms of tempting which we should be very familiar with, Francis explained. “Economic well-being, indicated by the possibility of transforming stones into bread,” the Pontiff explained, followed by promises of a miraculous or “spectacular” kind of lifestyle, as evidenced by the devil’s notion that Jesus should hurl himself down from the highest point in the city of Jerusalem and then be saved by the angels from death. Satan’s most alluring temptation was a “shortcut to power and domination,” the Pope said, if Jesus would only fall down and worship the Prince of this World. “Jesus clearly rejects all these temptations and reiterates his determination to follow the way established by the Father, without any compromise with sin,” the Pope pointed out, and he does so using the Word of God through quoting Sacred Scripture. Christ would later demonstrate his total fidelity to the plan of the Father by emptying himself and submitting to death on the cross, his final run-in with the Devil, explained Francis.
“Let us renew the promises of our Baptism,” he encouraged. “Let us renounce Satan and all his works and seductions - because he is a seducer - in order to walk the paths of God and arrive at Easter in the joy of the Holy Spirit,” declared the Pope. After reciting the Angelus with the crowd, the Pontiff asked for them to pray for himself and members of the Roman Curia, who have begun their annual Lenten spiritual exercises, and will be continuing them all through this week.