Pope at Angelus: Lent is a time of battle against evil
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said Lent is a time where we struggle against the temptations of Satan and worldliness. His words came at his Sunday Angelus address at the end of which he announced the distribution of 50,000 free copies of a pocket-sized booklet called “Safeguard your Heart” containing reflections on Jesus’ teachings. Many of those distributing the booklets to the pilgrims present in St Peter’s Square were homeless people.
In his Angelus address the Pope recalled how Jesus went into the solitude of the wilderness for 40 days where he successfully overcame temptations in “a hand-to-hand combat” with Satan. And through his victory over Satan, he said, “we have all triumphed but we need to protect this victory in our daily lives.”
He went on to explain how in the wilderness we can listen to God’s voice and that of the tempter. And we listen to God’s voice through his words and that why it’s important to read the Holy Scriptures because otherwise we’re unable to resist the lure of the evil one. The Pope said it was for this reason that he wanted to renew his advice to the faithful to read the Gospel every day and reflect on its meaning, even for just 10 minutes and carry around a copy in one’s pocket or bag every day. The Lenten wilderness, he continued, “helps us to say ‘no’ to worldliness, to “idols”, it helps us to make courageous choices in line with the Gospel and to strengthen our solidarity with our brothers and sisters.”
He concluded by reminding those present that he and other members of the Roman Curia would be beginning their spiritual retreat later on Sunday. Pray for us, he urged, so that in this “wilderness” of the spiritual exercises “we can hear Jesus’ voice and also correct the many defects that we all have and thereby overcome the temptations that attack us every day.”
In his address following the recitation of the Angelus, Pope Francis announced a personal initiative of his which was the distribution of 50,000 free copies of a small booklet to those present in St Peter’s Square. Holding up the pocket-sized booklet which is entitled “Safeguard your Heart,” the Pope explained that it contains several key “teachings of Jesus and the essential tenets of our faith.” These included, he said, “the seven sacraments, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the 10 commandments, the virtues and works of charity.”
Pope Francis said a group of volunteers, including many homeless people, were distributing it to the pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square. He urged everybody to take a copy of the booklet and carry it around with them to help in their conversion and spiritual growth which always comes from the heart. It’s there, he stressed, that we play out the daily choice “between good and evil, between worldliness and the Gospel, between indifference and sharing.” “Humanity needs justice, peace and love and we can have this only by returning with our hearts towards God who is the source of all this.”