“Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the Devil.” These words from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians were at the center of Pope Francis’ homily today at Casa Santa Marta.
The Holy Father described Christian life as a “continuous battle” against three enemies: the devil, the world, and the desires of the flesh. Citing St. Paul’s words in the first reading, the Pope invited the faithful to put on the armor of God to resist temptation.
“No spiritual life,” he said, “no Christian life is possible without resisting temptations, without putting on God’s armor which gives us strength and protects us.”
The Pope also noted the incredulity regarding the devil’s existence in today’s world, where Satan is viewed as a myth or an idea of evil. “But the devil exists and we must fight against him. [St.] Paul tells us this, it’s not me saying it!” he exclaimed.
“The Word of God is telling us this. But we’re not all convinced of this. And then Paul describes God’s armor and which are the different types that make up this great armour of God. And he says: ‘So stand your ground, with truth as a belt around your waist.’ The truth is God’s armor.”
Describing life as a “military endeavour,” the 77-year-old Pontiff said that while Christian life is a battle, it is “a beautiful battle,” especially when in the end, God is victorious. However, he noted, there are moments when we let our guard down.
“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!” he said.
“But don’t get discouraged,” Pope Francis concluded. “Have courage and strength because the Lord is with us.”