Pope says Lent is spiritual battle
By Estefania Aguirre
Pope Benedict XVI. Credit: Mazur, http://www.catholicchurch.org.uk.
Pope Benedict XVI. Credit: Mazur, http://www.catholicchurch.org.uk.

.- Pope Benedict XVI used his second to last Angelus to tell thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square that Lent is a “spiritual battle.”

Lent, he said, “always involves a battle, a spiritual battle, because the spirit of evil naturally opposes our sanctification and seeks to divert us from the way of God.”
Pope Benedict has just 11 days left as head of the Catholic Church until his almost unprecedented resignation takes effect Feb. 28. Over 35,000 people have officially registered with the Pontifical Household to bid him farewell.
The Pope, speaking from the window of the Apostolic Palace, explained that the Lenten “spiritual battle” is the reason why the Gospel of the first Sunday of Lent relates each year to Jesus’ temptations in the desert.

He reflected on the Sunday gospel, which tells how Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil after having received the Holy Spirit in his baptism at the Jordan river.
“Upon starting his public ministry, Jesus had to expose and reject the false images of the Messiah that the tempter proposed,” said the Pope.
“But these temptations are false images of man and during all times undermine the conscience, disguised and proposed as affordable, effective and even good,” he added.
Pope Benedict said the evangelists Matthew and Luke reveal three temptations of Jesus, but differ only in the order in which they present them.
He said the core of these temptations is always to exploit God for some lowly ends, giving more importance to success or to material goods.
“The tempter is sneaky: he does not go directly to evil, but to a false good, making one believe that the true reality is power and that this meets one’s basic needs,” said the pontiff.
“God becomes secondary in this way, (he) ultimately becomes unreal because he no longer matters and thus vanishes,” he added. 
Pope Benedict said that faith is what is ultimately at stake in temptations because God is at stake.
“But in hindsight we are at crossroads -- do we want to follow the ‘I’ or God? The individual interest or the real good and what is really good?” said the Pope.

“As the Fathers of the Church teach us, temptations are part of the ‘descent’ of Jesus in our human condition and in the abyss of sin as well as of its consequences,” he said.
He explained that Jesus is “the hand that God has tended to man, the lost sheep, to bring him back to safety.”
But the pontiff said we do not have to fear facing the fight against the spirit of evil since “Jesus took our temptations to give us his victory.”
“The important thing is that we do this with him, with the Victor,” said the Pope.

Pope Benedict said Lent is a time of “conversion and penance” and a “favorable time to rediscover faith in God as the criterion of our life and the life of the Church.”

“The Church, which is mother and teacher, calls all her members to be renewed in the spirit, to re-orientate closely to God, denying pride and selfishness in order to live in love,” he said.

He then greeted the pilgrims in different languages. He told the Italian pilgrims their attendance in such large numbers is “a sign of affection and spiritual closeness that I have been shown these days.”
Sunday Pope Benedict was scheduled to take part in spiritual exercises with members of the Curia at 6 p.m. local time in the Apostolic Palace.
The retreat will finish on Feb. 23. For this reason, he has no appointments scheduled this week and he will not hold his weekly general audience on Feb. 20.

Tags: Pope, Angelus, Pope Benedict XVI

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 18, 2014

Friday of the Passion of the Lord (Good Friday)

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Is 52:13-53:12
Second Reading:: Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel:: Jn 18:1-19:42

Homily of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: