Feast Day: 25 March
Put simply, a very last-minute saint. Saint Dismas is often known as the good thief who was crucified at the same time as Jesus back in 33AD. When the other thief mocked Jesus saying “Are You not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” Dismas answered, and rebuked him saying, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”
After this he turns to Jesus and says “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” and He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
Why Saint Dismas is important to me
A reflection from someone in our young Catholic community
What is so awesome in the story of Saint Dismas is that it shows that no matter how far you fall, Christ is always willing to bring you back into his love if you truly and honestly repent. Crucifixion was always reserved for the worst of the worst when it came to criminals, so it’s clear that this man would have been seen by many of the people around him probably as the equivalent of how many people nowadays see mass-murderers or terrorists. The fact he faces up to what he’s done, accepts how broken he’s become and then comes to Jesus for forgiveness is really inspiring and Jesus’ response is one that really fills you with a great joy as it shows that as painful and difficult as facing up to your own brokenness can be, when we bring this to God he will always fix us and bring us home to fulfilment.
Glorious Saint Dismas, you alone of all the great Penitent Saints were directly canonised by Christ Himself; you were assured of a place in Heaven with Him “this day” because of the sincere confession of your sins to Him in the tribunal of Calvary and your true sorrow for them as you hung beside Him in that open confessional; you who by the direct sword thrust of your love and repentance did open the Heart of Jesus in mercy and forgiveness even before the centurion’s spear tore it asunder; you whose face was closer to that of Jesus in His last agony, to offer Him a word of comfort, closer even than that of His Beloved Mother, Mary; you who knew so well how to pray, teach me the words to say to Him to gain pardon and the grace of perseverance; and you who are so close to Him now in Heaven, as you were during His last moments on earth, pray to Him for me that I shall never again desert Him, but that at the close of my life I may hear from Him the words He addressed to you: “This day thou shalt be with Me in Paradise.”