On the first Sunday of Lent, Pope Francis gave an Angelus address where he discussed the three dangerous temptations that the devil uses to separate people from God and from each other.
He called them “widespread and dangerous,” and highlighted three poisons the devil uses to attack and divide Christian communities: attachment to material things, mistrust, and the thirst for power.
Pope Francis shared advice from the Gospel of Matthew for how to overcome these temptations. He pointed out that when the devil tempted Jesus after 40 days of fasting in the desert, Jesus responded by using the Word of God to avoid discussion with the devil. He explained that by opposing the devil in faith with the Divine Word, Jesus was able to resist his temptations.
To counteract the three temptations of attachment to material things, mistrust, and the thirst for power, Jesus quotes three phrases from Scripture that speak of freedom from goods, trust, and service to God. The pope noted that in this way, Jesus teaches us to defend unity with God and among ourselves from the attacks of the divider.
The pope also encouraged people to turn to the Word of God in their spiritual struggles and in times of temptation. He suggested that people seek out a verse of the Word of God that responds to their vice or recurring temptation. By reciting it and praying it, they can trust in the grace of Christ to overcome their vice.
After praying the Angelus, he called for prayer for the Holy Land, Burkina Faso, Ukraine, Syria and Turkey. He also urged people to seek dialogue and peaceful solutions to conflicts in the Holy Land and called on the international community to support the Palestinians and Israelis in finding the path of fraternity and peace.
Lastly, the pope expressed his sadness for the loss of life in the migrant boat shipwreck on the coast of southern Italy. He prayed for the victims, survivors, and the missing migrants and thanked those who provided relief and shelter. He asked that Our Lady support these brothers and sisters of ours.