Vatican City (AsiaNews) – During the Angelus on this first Sunday of Lent, the 40 days preceding Easter, Benedict XVI explained the significance of this period as "a time of spiritual renewal," with a personal commitment so the "the world may improve is we start from each one of ourselves, changing, thanks to the grace of God, what is wrong in our lives".
In this the faithful should follow the example of Jesus who struggled "in first person against the Tempter, right to the Cross." "Christ - the Pope said - came into the world to free us from sin and the ambiguous lure of planning our lives devoid of God."
The pontiff referred to the temptations of Christ (recounted in today’s Gospel, Luke 4, 1-13): the first, which "takes its origin from hunger, ie from material need" and the second, with "the deception of power that Jesus unmasks and rejects "the third, in which “the Tempter offers Jesus to perform a spectacular miracle".
"Referring to the Sacred Scripture - explained the pope - He [Jesus] places the sole authentic criterion ahead of all human criteria: obedience to God's will. This too, is a key lesson for us: if we bear the Word of God in mind and heart, if it enters into our lives, then we can reject any kind of deception of the tempter. Also, the image of Christ, emerges from the episode, as the new Adam, the Son of God, humble and obedient to the Father, unlike Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden who had succumbed to the seductions of the spirit of evil".
"Lent - concluded Benedict XVI - is like a long 'retreat', during which we gather in reflection to meditate and listen to the voice of God, to overcome the temptations of the devil. A time of spiritual 'agonism' to experience with Jesus, not with pride and conceit, but using the weapons of faith, that is prayer, listening to the Word of God and repentance. In this way we can celebrate Easter in truth, ready to renew the promises of our Baptism. "
He then asked the Virgin Mary to "intercede especially for me and my collaborators of the Roman Curia, as we begin our Lenten Spiritual Exercises tonight."
In fact, from 18 tonight until 27 February, all the curia with the Pope will meet daily in the Redemptoris Mater chapel for the Lenten spiritual retreat, preached by Don Enrico dal Covolo, SBD, on the theme "Lessons of God and the Church in priestly vocation".