The Vatican

Pope asks to avoid "dialogue with the devil" in temptations

Francis invited in the Angelus of the first Sunday of Lent to "avoid arguing with the devil and respond by praying with the Word of God", with the example of Jesus, who in the face of temptations, "does not dialogue with the devil, does not negotiate with him, but rejects his insinuations with the beneficial Words of the Scriptures".

Francisco Otamendi-February 26, 2023-Reading time: 3 minutes
pope sunday lent

Photo: The Pope at the Angelus of the First Sunday of Lent ©Vatican Media

To overcome "attachment to things, distrust and thirst for power, three frequent and dangerous temptations that the devil uses to divide us from the Father and make us no longer feel that we are brothers and sisters to each other, to lead us to loneliness and despair," Pope Francis advised in the Angelus of the first Sunday of the first Sunday of Lent "avoid arguing with the devil and respond by praying with the Word of God."

Jesus "does not dialogue with the devil, he does not negotiate with him," the Pope said. "This is an invitation for us: do not argue with the devil! He is not defeated by dealing with him, but by opposing him in faith with the divine Word. In this way, Jesus teaches us to defend unity with God and among ourselves from the attacks of the one who divides. And we need unity!" 

The Gospel of this first Sunday of Lent presents Jesus in the desert tempted by the devil (cf. Mt 4:1-11). "Devil means 'he who divides'. His name tells us what he does: he divides. That is what he also proposes to do by tempting Jesus. Let us now see from whom he wants to divide him, and in what way," the Roman Pontiff said from the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace in St. Peter's Square.

From whom does the devil want to separate Jesus, he asked, and responded by giving as an example the unity of the divine Persons. "Shortly before Jesus is tempted, when he receives John's Baptism in the Jordan, the Father calls him 'my beloved Son' (Mt 3:17), and the Holy Spirit descends upon him in the form of a dove (cf. v. 16). The Gospel thus presents us with the three divine Persons united in love. Not only: Jesus himself will say that he came into the world to make us sharers in the unity that exists between him and the Father (cf. Jn 17:11). The devil, on the other hand, does the opposite: he enters the scene to divide Jesus from the Father and to remove him from his mission of unity for us". 

"Three potent poisons"

The Evil One then tries to instill in Jesus three "potent poisons" to paralyze his mission of unity, Francis continued. "These poisons are attachment to things, distrust and power: "Follow the criteria of the world, achieve everything on your own and you will be powerful! Terrible, isn't it?" 

"But Jesus overcomes temptations. How? By avoiding arguing with the devil and responding with the Word of God," the Pope said, as noted at the outset. "Let us try, it will help us in temptations, because, among the voices that agitate within us, the beneficial voice of the Word of God will resound." 

The Pope concluded by turning to the Virgin Mary. "May Mary, who has welcomed the Word of God and with her humility has defeated the pride of the one who divides, accompany us in the spiritual struggle of Lent," he encouraged.

Holy Land, Burkina Faso, migrants, Ukraine, Syrians, Turks, Turkey, etc.

After praying the Marian prayer of the Angelus and imparting the Blessing, the Pope referred to "painful news" from the Holy Land, "so many people killed, including children, a spiral of violence". Francis renewed his appeal for "dialogue to prevail over hatred and revenge", and "I pray to God for the Palestinians and the Israelis, that they may find the path of fraternity and peace, with the help of the international community", he added.

The Holy Father also expressed his strong concern for "the situation in Burkina Faso, where terrorist attacks continue", and invited to "pray for the people of that beloved country, so that the violence they have suffered will not make them lose faith in the path of democracy, justice and peace".

The Pope also mentioned with sorrow the shipwreck off the coast of Calabria, near Crotone (Italy), from which 40 dead have been recovered, many of them children. "I pray for each of them, for the missing, and for the other migrants and survivors." "May Our Lady sustain these brothers and sisters of ours," he prayed.

The Roman Pontiff asked that "we do not forget the tragedy of the war in Ukraine", nor "the pain of the Syrian and Turkish people because of the earthquake". Francis also recalled the 50th anniversary of the Italian organ donation association, which "promotes life through these donations", and the upcoming World Day for Rare Diseases, which will be the day after tomorrow. He encouraged the associations of the sick and their families, and asked that "especially for children, our closeness to make them feel the love and tenderness of God".

The authorFrancisco Otamendi

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