In the war between good and evil, the devil will seek to corrupt souls through riches, vanity and pride. This was the central theme of Pope Francis’ homily at a Mass with members of the Vatican Gendarmerie on Saturday morning.
The Mass commemorated the feast of the Archangel Michael, patron saint of the Vatican Gendarmerie, which was celebrated on September 29th.
The Pope began by reflecting on the first reading from the Book of Revelations, which details the war between the angels of God commanded by St. Michael against Satan. Although this speaks on the final battle, the Pope said that this war has been waged daily throughout history.
“It is waged in the heart of men and women, in the hearts of Christians and non-Christians,” he said. “It is the war between good and evil, where we must choose what we want, good or evil. But the method of war, the methods of war of these two enemies are totally opposite.”
Regarding the devil, the Pope said that Satan wages war by seducing “with demonic fascination” that leads one to believe everything. “He knows how to sell with this fascination, he sells well, but in the end he pays badly!” the Pope exclaimed.
This method of seduction is exemplified in the devil’s temptation of Jesus in the desert. These temptations comprise three steps, the first being through riches which ultimately leads to corruption. “Corruption is everywhere: many people sell their soul, sell their happiness, sell their life, sell everything for two cents. It is the first step: riches,” he said.
This first temptation, which leads to a sense of self-importance, precedes the second step: vanity. The final step is pride or the love of power which can make “one thinks one is God, and this is the great sin.”
“This is our struggle, and therefore today we ask the Lord that, through the intercession of the Archangel Michael, we are defended from the snares, the fascination, the seductions of this ancient serpent who is called Satan,” he said.
The Pope encouraged the members of the Gendarmerie to pray, through the intercession of their patron St. Michael, to defend them from every temptation of corruption. He said that like Jesus, the more humble their service, the more fruitful it will be. The Pope also encouraged them to follow Jesus’ example when the devil attempts to ensnare them.
“If we go to the account of the temptation of Jesus, we never find a word of his. Jesus does not answer with his own words; he answers with the words of Scripture, all three times. It is what he teaches us. One cannot dialogue with the devil, and this helps so much when temptation comes: I won’t speak with you; only the Word of the Lord,” he said.
“May the Lord help us in this struggle of every day, but not for ourselves; it is a struggle for service, because you are men and women of service: of service to society, of service to others, of service to make goodness grow in the world,” he concluded.
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On ZENIT’s website:
For the full text of the Pope’s homily, go to: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-homily-at-mass-with-vatican-gendarmerie