Saturday, February 23, 2013

Benedict: "The time of testing is here"

As Pope Benedict's pontificate runs out, his words now take on a special meaning. At his recent Angelus message he said:

“The Tempter is devious: he does not push us towards evil directly, but toward a false good, making us believe that the real things that matter are power and whatever satisfies our primary needs."

In the first volume of his work on Jesus, Benedict writes about Satan tempting Jesus. The Pope points out that in the second temptation, when Satan urged Jesus to throw himself down because certainly God would not let him get hurt, the devil quoted Psalm 91: "For to his angels he has given command about you, that they guard you in all your ways."

The Pope commented that Satan presents himself here as a Scripture scholar, so the temptation is like a debate between two theologians. Then Benedict mentions a short story by the Russian writer Soloviev called "The Anti-Christ." In it, the anti-Christ is precisely that: a theologian and Scripture scholar. He even gets an honorary doctorate from the University of Tubingen. The Pope then reflects that certain types of scholarship have done great damage to faith.

What an example that is of Benedict's point at the Angelus, that the devil directs us toward a false good. Theology and Scripture study are certainly good things, but even they can be put into the service of the devil. Which is why we need to implore the grace of the Holy Spirit to know the truth and not be misled by the errors of the day. Pope Benedict has spent his life as priest, bishop, and Pope teaching the truth of the Catholic faith, the truth that brings freedom.

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