Pope urges us to be careful with temptation, because the farther we get from God, the harder life gets
Jesus doesn’t enter into a dialogue with the devil, and we shouldn’t either, Pope Francis insisted on March 1 before praying the midday Angelus.
Reflecting on the Gospel for the first Sunday of Lent, which recounts how the devil tempted Jesus, the pope noted that Our Lord’s responses teach us something about how to react to temptation.
Jesus doesn’t dialogue with the devil. Jesus responds to the devil with the Word of God, not with his word. In temptations, many times we begin a dialogue with the temptation, to dialogue with the devil. “Yeah, but I can do this … and then I’ll go to confession, and then this and then that …” We should never speak with the devil. Jesus does two things with the devil: he casts him out, or as in this case, he responds with the Word of God. Be careful. Never dialogue with temptation, never dialogue with the devil.
The pope noted how the devil is as active today as ever, “mixing his tempting proposals with the many voices that try to hush our consciences.”
Pope Francis reflected on how many messages invite people to “allow themselves to be tempted” in order to “experience the euphoria of transgression.”
The experience of Jesus, though, “teaches us that temptation is the attempt to take a path that is different than the path of God.”
“Just do this, there’s no problem with it, and God will forgive you later on. Just have a day of fun…,” the pope mimicked, explaining that these are the voices that invite us on paths other than God’s:
paths that give us the sensation of self-sufficiency, of enjoying life as if it’s an end in itself. But all of this is illusory. Soon we realize that the farther we get from God, the more powerless and abandoned we feel in facing the great challenges of existence.
The pope concluded with a prayer that Our Lady, “who crushed the head of the serpent,” would help us in this time of Lent to “be vigilant in facing temptation, to not submit ourselves to any of this world’s idols, to follow Jesus in the fight against evil, and then we will also be victorious like Jesus.”