THE Church teaches us that the souls of the just who have left this world soiled with the stain of venial sin remain for a time in a place of expiation, where they suffer such punishment as may be due to their offences. It is a matter of faith that these suffering souls are relieved by the intercession of the Saints in heaven and by the prayers of the faithful upon earth. To pray for the dead is, then, both an act of charity and of piety. We read in Holy Scripture: "It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins." And when Our Lord inspired St. Odilo, Abbot of Cluny, towards the close of the tenth century, to establish in his Order a general commemoration of all the faithful departed, it was soon adopted by the whole Western Church, and has been continued unceasingly to our day. Let us, then, ever bear in mind the dead and offer up our prayers for them. By showing this mercy to the suffering souls in purgatory, we shall be particularly entitled to be treated with mercy at our departure from this world, and to share more abundantly in the general suffrages of the Church, continually offered for all who have slept in Christ.
November 2.--ST. MALACHI, Bishop.
DURING his childhood Malachi would often separate himself from his companions to converse in prayer with God. At the age of twenty-five he was ordained priest; his devotion and zeal led to his being consecrated Bishop of Connor, and shortly afterwards he was made Archbishop of his native city, Armagh. This see having by a longstanding abuse been held as an heirloom in one family, it required on the part of the Saint no little tact and firmness to allay the dissensions caused by his election. One day, while St. Malachi was burying the dead, he was laughed at by his sister. When she died, he said many Masses for her. Some time afterwards, in a vision, he saw her, dressed in mourning, standing in a churchyard, and saying that she had not tasted food for thirty days. Remembering that it was just thirty days since he last offered the Adorable Sacrifice for her, he began again to do so, and was rewarded by other visions, in the last of which he saw her within the church, clothed in white, near the altar, and surrounded by bright spirits. He twice made a pilgrimage to Rome, to consult Christ's Vicar, the first time returning as Papal Legate, amid the joy of his people, with the pall for Armagh; but the second time bound for a happier home. He was taken ill at Clairvaux. He died, aged fifty-four, where he fain would have lived, in St. Bernard's monastery, on the 2d of November, 1148.
Reflection.--Our Lord said to St. Gertrude, "God accepts every soul you set free, as if you had redeemed him from captivity, and will reward you in a fitting time for the benefit you have conferred."