In his homily at Mass on Thursday Pope Francis called on Christians to go to battle against Satan, who he said is no myth and really exists.
At Santa Marta, in the chapel of the papal residence, the Pope stressed that Christians must wage war against the devil, and put on the armor of truth in order to resist the devil and his principalities.
This Pope has not been one to shy away from speaking of the devil. On October 10, the Pope’s homily focused on protecting one’s heart from the temptations of the devil, and last weekend he delivered a message of encouragement to a meeting of The International Association of Exorcists:
“Those who perform this particular ministry, in conjunction with the bishops must work with love and kindness from the Church towards those who suffer because of the Evil One.”
Today Pope Francis made clear that he wasn’t talking about a metaphorical devil.
Vatican Radio reported he told the assembled, “But in this generation, like so many others, people have been led to believe that the devil is a myth, a figure, an idea, the idea of evil. But the devil exists and we must fight against him.”
He continued, “Paul tells us this, it’s not me saying it! The Word of God is telling us this. But we’re not all convinced of this. And then Paul describes God’s armor and the different types that make up this great armor of God. And he says: ‘So stand your ground, with truth a belt around your waist.’ The truth is God’s armor.”
The Pope said a Christian life “has to be defended and it requires both strength and courage. It’s a continuous battle against the three main enemies of Christian life which are the devil, the world and the passions of the flesh.”
“From whom do I have to defend myself? What must I do? Pauls tells us to put on God’s full armour, meaning that God acts as a defence, helping us to resist Satan’s temptations. Is this clear? No spiritual life, no Christian life is possible without resisting temptations, without putting on God’s armour which gives us strength and protects us.”
The devil, Pope Francis said, “is a liar and the father of liars and in order to fight him we must have truth on our side.” He noted the importance of having faith in God when fighting the devil who he said doesn’t throw flowers at us but “burning arrows.”
“Life is a military endeavour. Christian life is a battle, a beautiful battle, because when God emerges victorious in every step of our life, this gives us joy, a great happiness: the joy that the Lord is the victor within us, with his free gift of salvation. But we’re all a bit lazy, aren’t we, in this battle and we allow ourselves to get carried away by our passions, by various temptations. That’s because we’re sinners, all of us! But don’t get discouraged. Have courage and strength because the Lord is with us.”