VATICAN CITY, FEB. 17, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of John Paul II´s address before today´s Angelus at St. Peter´s Square. The address was in Italian.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. Last Wednesday we began our penitential Lenten journey with the rite of the imposition of ashes, a rite charged with symbolism, rooted in the biblical tradition, and very dear to popular devotion. The ashes remind us how fragile earthly life is and direct us to look at Christ who, with his death and resurrection, has rescued us from the slavery of sin and death. It is with such profound dispositions that we begin our journey toward Easter, keeping our hearts open to the Lord´s insistent appeal: “Repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).
2. Today, the First Sunday of Lent, the liturgy offers us the impressive Gospel page of the temptations of Jesus: “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1). The Redeemer´s mission begins, precisely, with his victory over the triple deception of the prince of evil.
“Begone, Satan!” (Ibid., 4:10). The Messiah´s resolute attitude is an example and an invitation for us to follow him with courageous determination. The devil, “ruler of this world” (John 12:31), continues his deceitful action even today. Every man, in addition to his own concupiscence and the evil example of others, is also tempted by the devil, especially when least aware of it. How many times he easily gives in to the false enticements of the flesh and the evil one, and then experiences bitter disappointments. One must remain vigilant to react promptly to every attack of temptation.
3. The Church, expert teacher of humanity and holiness, shows us ancient and ever new instruments for the daily combat against evil suggestions: They are prayer, the sacraments, penance, careful attention to the Word of God, vigilance and fasting.
Let us undertake the penitential Lenten journey with greater determination, to be prompt in defeating every seduction of Satan and arrive at Easter in the joy of the spirit (see Collect).
May Mary, Mother of Divine Mercy, accompany us. I wish to entrust to her in a special way the Spiritual Exercises that I will begin this evening in the Vatican, together with my collaborators of the Roman Curia. I ask all of you, dear Brothers and Sisters, to accompany us with your prayer, so that they will be fruitful days not only for those who participate, but for the whole Church.
[Translation by ZENIT]
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[At the end of the address, the Holy Father gave these words in English.]
I am pleased to greet the Schola Cantorum of the Cardinal Vaughn Memorial School in London. May your music, your studies and your lives always be directed to the praise of God and the growth of his Kingdom.