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In the desert

· At the Angelus the Pope recalls that Lent is a time of spiritual conflict ·

Lent is “a time of spiritual conflict” which Christians must face in the desert. Pope Francis recalled this at the Angelus on 22 February, the first Sunday of Lent. He invited the faithful “to look at Jesus”, following his way and “listening to God's voice”. The Pope encouraged this duty through his gift of the pocket-size booklet entitled: “Safeguard your heart”, which was handed out in St Peter's Square by numerous volunteers including a group of homeless men and women. The booklet points to “several of Jesus' teachings and other essentials of our faith”, the Pope explained.

The Holy Father recalled the inner journey during Lent, referring to the passage from Mark's Gospel which tells of when Jesus was tempted in the desert. The passage “teaches us to say 'no' to worldliness, to 'idols', it teaches us to make courageous choices according to the Gospel and to strengthen solidarity between the brethren”. But in order to have this experience, he warned, it is necessary to come out the noise and confusion, “to enter the depths”, where “our destiny, life and death, is played out”. Live Lent, he said, as a “favourable time which leads us to gain more conscience of how the Holy Spirit, received in baptism, works and can work in us”.

Francis' spiritual exercises can also be read in this key. The exercises — which include the participation of the Pope's closest collaborators in the Roman Curia — began on Sunday afternoon in the House of the Divin Maestro in Ariccia and will conclude on Friday 27, February. Pray, the Pope said at the end of the Angelus, “ so that in the 'desert' that are the exercises, we can listen to Jesus' voice and correct the defects that we all have. May we also face the temptations which attack us everyday”. The daily mediations will be preached by the Carmelite Fr Bruno Secondin, who will propose a pastoral reading of the Prophet Elijah on the theme: “Servants and prophets of the Living God”.

The Pope's address in Italian at the Angelus

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St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 17, 2018

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