Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pope Benedict's Lenten Message, Part 3

In order to undertake more seriously our journey towards Easter and prepare ourselves to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord – the most joyous and solemn feast of the entire liturgical year – what could be more appropriate than allowing ourselves to be guided by the Word of God? For this reason, the Church, in the Gospel texts of the Sundays of Lent, leads us to a particularly intense encounter with the Lord, calling us to retrace the steps of Christian initiation: for catechumens, in preparation for receiving the Sacrament of rebirth; for the baptized, in light of the new and decisive steps to be taken in the sequela Christi and a fuller giving of oneself to him.

The First Sunday of the Lenten journey reveals our condition as human beings here on earth. The victorious battle against temptation, the starting point of Jesus’ mission, is an invitation to become aware of our own fragility in order to accept the Grace that frees from sin and infuses new strength in Christ – the way, the truth and the life (cf. Ordo Initiationis Christianae Adultorum, n. 25). It is a powerful reminder that Christian faith implies, following the example of Jesus and in union with him, a battle “against the ruling forces who are masters of the darkness in this world” (Eph 6: 12), in which the devil is at work and never tires – even today – of tempting whoever wishes to draw close to the Lord: Christ emerges victorious to open also our hearts to hope and guide us in overcoming the seductions of evil.
The greatest trick at Satan's disposal is the ability to convince human beings that he does not exist. Ignorant priests and pew-sitters proclaim that Satan is not real, that belief in the Devil went out with the Second Vatican Council.

Dear Reader, may you, an otherwise intelligent human being, not be so ignorant as to think Satan does not exist. Battle with Satan was part of the journey of God Incarnate; battle with Satan is part of your life as a follower of God Incarnate, too. May your Lenten journey of bring you ever closer to Christ, into whose victory over Satan, sin, and death you were incorporated at Baptism.

~Friar Rex

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