Addressing nearly 15,000 attendees in St. Peter’s Square on the first Sunday of Lent, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel of Mark (1:12-15), which narrates Jesus’ temptation in the desert.

The Pope used this Scripture to describe Lent as a period for inner reflection and confrontation with one’s personal “wild beasts” — the disordered passions that threaten to consume our freedom if left unchecked.

The Pope described Lent as an opportunity to venture into our own spiritual wilderness, a time for quiet introspection and prayer, where we can face these inner challenges head-on. He emphasized the importance of recognizing and combating the vices that ensnare us, such as “the lust for wealth,” “the vanity of pleasure,” and “the craving for fame,” which he identified as forces that can lead to restlessness, solitude, and an unending need for validation.

However, Pope Francis also offered a message of hope and assistance in this spiritual journey, highlighting the presence of angels as God’s messengers of service and goodness. These divine inspirations, he said, are the antithesis of possessive passions, guiding us toward unity, peace, and a deeper connection with the Divine. “While temptations tear us apart, the good divine inspirations unify us in harmony: they quench the heart, infuse the taste of Christ, ‘the flavor of Heaven.'” 

Encouraging self-examination and reflection, the Pope urged the faithful to identify their personal “wild beasts” and to make space for God’s voice in their hearts, thereby preserving their goodness.

Let’s remember Pope Francis’s words about the power of this Lenten season—a time to confront our shadows with the help of divine grace, aiming for a rebirth of spirit in alignment with God’s will! 🙏

Editorial credit: Riccardo De Luca - Update /
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