Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "In the decisive moments of life, but, in hindsight, in every moment, we are at a crossroads: Do we want to follow our ego or God? Our individual interests or the true Good, what really is good? ".
There are perhaps 80 thousand people in St Peter's Square for Benedict XVI's penultimate Angelus. This afternoon, he begins his Lenten Spiritual exercises and there will be no public audiences until Saturday. In a certain way, he will be "hidden from world" which he himself has indicated as his future state. Of which he does not speak, only to say "pray for me and for the next pope," in Spanish and in the final salutation addressed to Italians and in particular to the City of Rome, whose mayor and Council are in this square with the banner of the city. "Thank you - he says - for having come in such great numbers! This too is a sign of affection and spiritual closeness that you are showing me in these days. I am deeply grateful," he repeated.
Previously, like every Sunday, the Pope spoke of the Gospel, Jesus' temptation in the desert, which each year is proclaimed at the beginning of Lent. "In this Year of Faith Lent is a favorable time to rediscover the faith in God as a criterion and foundation of our life and the life of the Church. This always involves a battle, a spiritual battle, because the spirit of evil naturally opposes our sanctification and seeks to make us deviate from the path of God. "
"As he began his public ministry - he explains - Jesus had to expose and reject the false image of Messiah that the tempter offered him. But these temptations are also false images of man, which throughout the ages undermine our conscience, disguised as convenient and effective, even good proposals ". "Their core is always to exploit God for their own ends, giving more importance to success or material goods. The tempter is subtle: he does not push us directly to evil, but to a false good, making believe that the true realities are power and what satisfies our basic needs. In this way, God becomes secondary, is reduced to a means, ultimately becomes unreal, He no longer matters and thus vanishes. Ultimately, in all temptations our faith is at stake, because God is at stake. In the decisive moments of life, but, in hindsight, in every moment, we are at a crossroads: Do we want to follow our ego or God? Our individual interests or the true Good, what really is good?" .
"Fasting - he added in
French - teaches us not to neglect the true spiritual nourishment, to resist
the temptations of indifference, selfishness and pride, money and power."
"As the Fathers of the Church teach us- he had commented earlier - temptations are part of the 'descent' of Jesus into our human condition, into the abyss of sin and its consequences. A" descent "that Jesus followed until the very end, until death on the cross and the underworld of extreme separation from God. In this way, He is the hand that God has tended to man, to the lost sheep, to bring him to safety. As Saint Augustine teaches us, Jesus took up the burden of temptations from us, to gift us victory. We therefore should not be afraid to also face the battle against the spirit of evil, the important thing is that we do it with Him, with him, the Victor ".