“Jesus does not converse with the devil: he never conversed with the devil,” the pontiff stressed. “Either he banished him, when he healed the possessed, or in this case, when he has to respond, he does so with the Word of God, never with his own word.”
The faithful, he said, should do likewise.
“Brothers and sisters, never enter into dialogue with the devil: he is more cunning than we are,” he warned. “Cling to the Word of God like Jesus.”
He told the faithful to “be vigilant” against the devil who can appear “with sweet eyes” and “with an angelic face.”
“How often we heard, ‘I have done strange things, but I have helped the poor’; ‘I have taken advantage of my role — as a politician, a governor, a priest, a bishop — but also for good’; ‘I have given in to my instincts, but in the end, I did no harm to anyone’, these justifications,” he listed. “We must not fall into that slumber of the conscience that makes us say: ‘But after all, it's not serious, everyone does it!’”
Even with Jesus, he said, the devil wanted him “to believe that his proposals were useful to prove that he was really the Son of God.”
At the same time, Pope Francis reminded listeners, “do not be afraid,” and proposed, “may this time of Lent also be a time of the desert for us.”
“Let us take time for silence and prayer — just a little, it will do us good — in these spaces let us stop and look at what is stirring in our hearts, our inner truth, that which we know cannot be justified,” he explained. “Let us find inner clarity, placing ourselves before the Word of God in prayer, so that a positive fight against the evil that enslaves us, a fight for freedom, may take place within us.”
He also encouraged the faithful to ask the Blessed Virgin Mary “to accompany us in the Lenten desert and to help us on our way of conversion.”
Former Washington, D. C., correspondent Katie Yoder covered pro-life issues, the U.S. Catholic bishops, public policy, and Congress for Catholic News Agency. She previously worked for Townhall.com, National Review, and the Media Research Center.