ROME — Pope Francis warned against “dialogue with the devil” Sunday, urging Christians to find their defense against Satan in the Word of God.
In his weekly Angelus address, the pontiff reflected on the readings of the day, which feature Jesus Christ being tempted by the devil in the desert prior to beginning his public ministry. The Christian season of Lent, a 40-day preparation for Holy Week and Easter, commemorates Christ’s 40-day fast in the desert.
Jesus, who was tempted by the devil, “accompanies us, every one of us, in our temptations,” the pope declared. “The desert symbolizes the fight against the seductions of evil, to learn to choose true freedom.”
“Jesus lives the experience of the desert just before beginning his public mission,” Francis stated. “It is precisely through this spiritual combat that he decisively affirms what type of Messiah he intends to be.”
The devil’s offer is a “seductive proposal,” he said, “but it leads you to the enslavement of the heart: it makes us obsessed with the desire to have, it reduces everything to the possession of things, power, fame. This is the core of the temptations.”
Jesus, however, “opposes the attractions of evil in a winning way” by “responding to temptations with the Word of God,” the pope continued.
For all of us, these temptations “accompany us on the journey of life,” he asserted, so we must “be vigilant, because they often present themselves under an apparent form of good.”
The devil “often arrives ‘with sweet eyes,’ ‘with an angelic face’; he even knows how to disguise himself with sacred, apparently religious motives!” Francis added.
And yet Jesus “does not converse with the devil: he never conversed with the devil,” he noted, but responds instead “with the Word of God, never with his own word.”
“Brothers and sisters, never enter into dialogue with the devil: he is more cunning than we are. Never!” Francis urged. “Cling to the Word of God like Jesus, and at most answer always with the Word of God. And on this path, we will never go wrong.”
Christians must avoid justifications for wrongdoing, accepting “no compromises with evil!” the pope insisted.
“No dialogue with the devil! We must not enter into dialogue with temptation, we must not fall into that slumber of the conscience that makes us say: ‘But after all, it’s not serious, everyone does it’!” he said.