Pope Francis said today during the homily of his morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta that we are the victim of temptations because the devil doesn’t want our holiness.
The subject of the Pope’s homily was Satan, as Francis affirmed that Satan continues to exist today and it’s naive to ignore him.
Francis also said that if we listen to the Gospel, we can fight against his temptations.
Francis acknowledged that the Christian life is one which involves constantly fighting against evil, just as this was true for Jesus’ life. The Pope underscored that, as Christians, we struggle against the devil and resisting his temptations.
He said, “We too are tempted. We too are the target of attacks by the devil because the spirit of evil does not want our holiness, he does not want our Christian witness, he does not want us to be disciples of Christ. And what does the Spirit of Evil do, through his temptations, to distance us from the path of Jesus? The temptation of the devil has three characteristics and we need to learn about them in order not to fall into the trap. What does Satan do to distance us from the path of Jesus?”
Francis then answered: “Firstly, his temptation begins gradually but grows and is always growing. Secondly, it grows and infects another person, it spreads to another and seeks to be part of the community. And in the end, in order to calm the soul, it justifies itself. It grows, it spreads and it justifies itself.”
The Pope said Jesus’s first temptation was “like a seduction.” He reflected on the devil telling Jesus to throw himself down from the temple to prove to the people that he was the Messiah. However, Jesus did not listen. So, the devil left, came back with others, and pressured Jesus again, but with greater persistence. The Pope highlighted how the greatness of the temptation had magnified.
Continuing with his theme, the Pontiff said, “we have a temptation: it grows and infects others.” He gave an example, saying “Let’s look at gossip: I’m a bit envious of this or that person and at first I’m just envious inside and I need to share it and go to another person and say: “But have you seen that person?’.. and this gossip tries to grow and infects another and another… This is the way gossip works and all of us have been tempted to gossip! Maybe not one of you, if you’re a saint , but I too have been tempted to gossip! It’s a daily temptation. And it begins in this way, discreetly, like a trickle of water. It grows by infecting others and in the end it justifies itself.”
Concluding his address, the Holy Father gave some advice to those present: “We are all tempted because the law of our spiritual life, our Christian life is a struggle: a struggle. That’s because the Prince of this world, Satan, doesn’t want our holiness, he doesn’t want us to follow Christ. Maybe some of you might say: ‘But Father, how old fashioned you are to speak about the devil in the 21st century!’ But look out, because the devil is present! The devil is here… even in the 21st century! And we mustn’t be naïve, right? We must learn from the Gospel how to fight against Satan.” (D.C.L.)