ROME — Pope Francis said Sunday that the devil tempts human beings with three “poisons,” namely attachments, distrust, and power, in order to separate us from God.
In his weekly Angelus message in Saint Peter’s Square, the pontiff reminded pilgrims that “devil” means “one who divides,” and that Satan always seeks to separate people from God.
Recalling Jesus’ temptations in the desert, the pope noted that the devil tries “to divide Jesus from the Father and to distract him from his mission of unity for us.”
Satan seeks to take advantage of the human condition of Jesus, who was weak after fasting for forty days, and tries to poison him with three types of venom to undermine his mission, Francis said.
“These poisons are attachment, distrust, and power,” he continued, and “we too live among these temptations, always.”
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“It is terrible, but that is just how it is, for us too: attachment to material things, distrust and the thirst for power are three widespread and dangerous temptations, which the devil uses to divide us from the Father and to make us no longer feel like brothers and sisters among ourselves, to lead us to solitude and desperation.”
“He wanted to do this to Jesus, he wants to do it to us: to lead us to desperation,” he added.
The pope went on to stress that Jesus defeats these temptations by “avoiding discussion with the devil and answering with the Word of God.”
“This is important: you cannot argue with the devil, you cannot converse with the devil! Jesus confronts him with the Word of God,” he declared.
Jesus “never enters into dialogue with the devil, he does not negotiate with him, but he repels his insinuations with the beneficent Words of the Scripture,” he stated.
One “cannot defeat him by negotiating with him, he is stronger than us,” he said. “We defeat the devil by countering him in faith with the divine Word.”