Thought for the Day – 7 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Devotion to the dead and the belief in a place of expiation and purification after death, can be traced back, not only to the early days of the Church but, even to the dawn of the human race.
Although Luther denied the existence of Purgatory, he was compelled to acknowledge the existence of this ancient and universal belief, sanctioned by Tradition, by faith and by human reason.
This belief was already present among pagan people, as is attested by the better-known writers of antiquity such as Homer, Sophocles, Plato and Virgil and, by ancient funeral inscriptions.
Evidence of the belief among the Jews, is found in Sacred Scripture, where it is related that, after he had conquered the worshippers of Jamnia, Judas Machabaeus, collected twelve thousand drachmas of silver, in order to have sacrifices offered for the dead.
It is a holy and wholesome thought, adds the text, to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins (2 Macc 12:46).
This is a very consoling doctrine.
It is comforting to know, that one day we shall find a way of purifying ourselves of all trace of sin and imperfection and, that meanwhile, we can be spiritually united with our departed loved ones and can help them by our prayers.”