By Susan Gately - 31 October, 2014
Christian life is a continuous battle against the devil, the Pope said yesterday during his homily at Santa Marta residence.
The Pope was reflecting on the words of St Paul in his letter to the Ephesians where the apostle urged Christians to put on the full armour of God in order to resist Satan’s temptations.
“A Christian life has to be defended and it requires both strength and courage. It’s a continuous battle against the three main enemies of Christian life which are the devil, the world and the passions of the flesh,” he told the congregation at Santa Marta where he was saying his daily Mass.
No spiritual life, no Christian life is possible without resisting temptations, without putting on God’s armour which gives us strength and protects us, said Pope Francis.
“But in this generation, like so many others, people have been led to believe that the devil is a myth, a figure, an idea, the’ idea of evil’. But the devil exists and we must fight against him,” he said.
Speaking to CatholicIreland.net, Bishop Kevin Doran agreed with the Pope’s sentiments.
“There is a tendency for people to pooh pooh the devil. But when you look at the Gospel, in the ministry of Jesus, it is very clear that he sees and speaks of a personal spirit of evil.”
The Bishop of Elphin said that focus on the devil has been downplayed in recent years.
“There is more of a focus on the positive, on presenting the Holy Spirit, the spirit of love, and that is as it should be.”
“It is like teacher in a classroom – you don’t want to give all the attention to the misbehaving child. But the paradox is: if you believe in the spirit of God, there is no conflict to believe in a spirit of evil.”
Our confidence though, he said, is in the goodness of God.
In the Book of Revelation it shows that good will triumph over evil.
“The question for us as individuals is will we be part of it [the kingdom of God], and that is a matter of personal decision.”
In his homily yesterday, Pope Francis said that the devil was a “liar and the father of liars”.
“In order to fight him we must have truth on our side.”
The Pope stressed the importance of always having our faith in God, like a shield, when fighting this battle against the devil, who, he noted, doesn’t throw flowers at us but instead burning arrows.
“Life is a military endeavour. Christian life is a battle, a beautiful battle because when God emerges victorious in every step of our life, this gives us joy, a great happiness: the joy that the Lord is the victor within us, with his free gift of salvation.”
“But we’re all a bit lazy, aren’t we, in this battle and we allow ourselves to get carried away by our passions, by various temptations. That’s because we’re sinners, all of us! But don’t get discouraged. Have courage and strength because the Lord is with us,” the Pontiff concluded.