We have to be prepared to defend ourselves and to combat him.
At the beginning of Lent each year, the liturgy brings us to the desert – where we see that Jesus is tempted by Satan.
“During the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert, the ‘duel’ between Jesus and the devil begins, which will end with the Passion and the Cross,” the pope said, in reflecting on Sunday’s liturgy before praying the midday Angelus on February 21.
The whole of Christ’s ministry is this struggle against “the Evil One in its many manifestations: healing from illnesses, exorcising the possessed, forgiving sins. It is a struggle.”
And, Pope Francis reflected, at some points it seems that the devil gets the upper hand. But in fact, “death was the last ‘desert’ to cross in order to finally defeat Satan and free us all from his power. And in this way Jesus won in the desert of death, so as to win in the Resurrection.”
The Holy Father said that this liturgy at the beginning of Lent is a reminder that the life of Christians, “in the footsteps of the Lord, is a battle against the spirit of evil.”
It shows us that Jesus willingly faced the Tempter, and defeated him; and at the same time it reminds us that the devil is granted the possibility of acting on us too, with his temptations. We must be aware of the presence of this astute enemy, who seeks our eternal condemnation, our failure, and prepare to defend ourselves against him and to combat him. The grace of God assures us, with faith, prayer and penance, of our victory over the enemy.
The pope then emphasized one of his frequent exhortations in regard to Satan: We must never dialogue with him!
In his life Jesus never had a dialogue with the devil, never. Either He banishes him from the possessed or He condemns him, or He reveals his malice, but never a dialogue. And in the desert it seems that there is a dialogue because the devil makes three proposals and Jesus responds. But Jesus does not respond with his words. He answers with the Word of God, with three passages of Scripture. And this, for all of us. When the seducer approaches, he begins to seduce us: “But think of this, do that…”, the temptation is to dialogue with him, as Eve did. Eve said: “But you can’t, because we…”, and entered into dialogue. And if we enter into dialogue with the devil we will be defeated. Keep this in your head and in your heart: you can never enter into dialogue with the devil, no dialogue is possible. Only the Word of God. Read more:5 Ways the Devil Attacks During Lent
Be not afraid
The pope said that the Spirit leads us to the desert during Lent, just as he led Jesus.
Francis encouraged, “Do not be afraid of the desert, seek out moments of more prayer, of silence, to enter into us. Do not be afraid. We are called to walk in God’s footsteps, renewing our Baptismal promises: renouncing Satan, and all his works and all his empty promises. The enemy is crouching there, beware. But never dialogue with him. Let us entrust ourselves to the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary.”