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Renew strength through Lenten discipline, Pope urges faithful

February 27, 2012

At his midday audience on February 26, Pope Benedict XVI said that Lent is “a time to renew and strengthen our relationship with God.”

Commenting on St. Mark’s description of Christ’s temptation in the desert, the Pope said that the Gospel account “teaches us that man is never free from temptation, but we can become stronger than any enemy.” Citing the words of St. Leo the Great, he observed that Jesus “willingly suffered the attack of the tempter to defend us with his help and to teach us by his example."

The key to that success, the Holy Father said, is to rely on God’s help. “The temptation has always been present in human history to remove God, to order our lives and the world on our own, relying solely on our own abilities,” he said. The devil entices Jesus toward that some folly, the Pope said; and Jesus rejects the temptation.

The discipline of Lent helps the faithful to gather their spiritual resources, the Pope said. He pointed out that when the Gospel recounts that Jesus prayed in the desert, the term ‘desert’ brings up different meanings. On one hand it is a place of “abandonment and loneliness.” On the other, “it may also indicate a place of refuge and shelter, as it was for the people of Israel who escaped from slavery in Egypt.”


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