The Feast of St. Malachi

The memorial of St. Malachi is Dec. 18.

Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255-1319)
Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255-1319) (photo: Screenshot)

“Return to me, that I may return to you, says the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:7)

While very little is known of the personal lives of many of the prophets, probably St. Malachi the one the least is known about. Even his name is an uncertainty, for the name Malachi means “my messenger,” and the prophet may have simply used this as a pen name. Malachi is the last of the prophets, the twelfth of the Minor Prophets, and his book is the last in the Old Testament.

Malachi prophesied sometime after the prophet Haggai. Many Jews had returned from Babylonia, and their destroyed Temple was reconstructed. So, Malachi’s prophetic time frame was sometime after 515 BC. Malachi was troubled over the attitudes of the people of the restored nation. He noticed that despite having been released from exile and having already rebuilt their Temple, many were distressingly negligent with their religious devotions.

Marriage was a particularly troubling problem. Many of the returned Jews married foreigners and then adopted idolatrous customs. Several divorced casually, causing family and religious distress. Malachi’s words were especially harsh toward the priests of the Temple, who had become slothful in their reverence. They evidently became more concerned about their personal desires than about the glory of God. Their offerings were deceptive, and they showed partiality in their dealings. Through the guidance of God, Malachi bravely spoke out, imploring the Jews to resist such complacency. Rather, he encouraged them to strive for a genuine spirituality, to live their lives for God.

In his last chapter, Malachi mentions a “messenger”―identified in a later verse as Elijah―who would be sent to prepare the hearts of the Jewish people for the day of the Lord. The archangel Gabriel explains:

“He [John the Baptist] will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.” —Luke 1:17

Malachi’s prophecies clearly show a man with a heart close to God and a deep care for the souls of his fellow countrymen.


Nine Days With St. Malachi

The memorial of St. Malachi is Dec. 18. If you would like to get to know this Prophet-Saint a little better, read one passage a day below for nine days. See if any verses snag your heart—what do they mean to you, and how might they apply to your life? If you know of any religious leaders who seem to have become a bit lukewarm, ask St. Malachi to pray for them! 

  • Day 1) Malachi 1:1
  • Day 2) Malachi 1:8–9
  • Day 3) Malachi 2:1–2
  • Day 4) Malachi 2:7–8
  • Day 5) Malachi 2:11
  • Day 6) Malachi 2:14–16
  • Day 7) Malachi 3:1, 23
  • Day 8) Luke 1:17
  • Day 9) Malachi 3:7, 10