"For us, too, Lent is a time of spiritual 'training', of spiritual combat: we are called to face the Evil one through prayer, to be able, with God's help, to overcome him in our daily life," he continued.
Immediately after he is tempted, Jesus goes out of the desert to preach the Gospel, which demands conversion from all who hear it, the Holy Father said.
"(Jesus) proclaims, 'Repent, and believe in the Gospel!' - believe, that is, in this Good News that the kingdom of God is at hand. In our life we always have need of conversion - every day! - and the Church has us pray for this. In fact, we are never sufficiently oriented toward God, and we must continually direct our mind and our heart to Him."
Lent is the time to have the courage to reject anything that leads us away from God and repent, Francis noted, "but it is not a sad time!"
"It is a joyful and serious duty to strip ourselves of our selfishness, of our 'old man,' and to renew ourselves according to the grace of our Baptism," he said.
During Lent, we must listen to the call of Christ and be converted, recognizing that true happiness lies in God alone, Francis said.