By Junno Arocho Esteves | Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christians should follow the example of Jesus in the desert by never trying to dialogue with the devil when tempted, Pope Francis said.
“Jesus does two things with the devil: he drives him away or, as in this case, responds with the word of God. Beware: never dialogue with temptation, never dialogue with the devil,” the pope said March 1 during his Sunday Angelus address.
Before praying the Angelus prayer with pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square, the pope reflected on the Sunday Gospel reading from Matthew, which recounted the devil’s temptation of Jesus in the desert after Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights.
In responding to the sinister propositions with “the word of God and not his own word,” Jesus teaches the proper way to confront the devil, who often adds his voice to “the many voices that try to tame one’s conscience,” the pope said.
“When tempted we often begin to dialogue with the temptation, to dialogue with the devil: ‘Yes, but I can do this, then I’ll confess,’ then this and that,” he explained.
Enticements, he added, usually come with an invitation to “let us be tempted to experience the thrill of transgression” and present an alternative to the path laid out by God.
“But all this is deceptive,” Pope Francis said. “Very soon we realize that the further away we go from God, the more defenseless and helpless we feel in the face of the great problems of existence.”
The pope prayed that Mary would help Christians be vigilant against temptation during the Lenten season, help them not “submit to any idol of this world” and help them follow Jesus in the fight against evil, so they, too, would succeed as victors like Jesus.