Sunday, July 24, 2011
St. Dismas, the "Good Thief"
Both of these criminals were pleading for help; but while the other thief only wanted to be physically saved from death, St. Dismas knew he was going to die and was thinking of the true salvation that would come after death. St. Dismas believed that Jesus was the Son of God and the Savior of mankind, and for his faith, he was rewarded with this promise: "Today you will be with me in Paradise."
I never used to think of this "Good Thief" in terms of being a saint, of being someone I could pray to for help; but of course anyone who is in Heaven is a saint. And there is no doubt that this man, despite the sinful life he led before his conversion on a cross, is in Heaven--and we know this because the promise of sainthood came right from the mouth of the Son of God. Imagine that! Imagine being told by Jesus Himself that you were going straight to Heaven upon your death!
Here is a prayer to St. Dismas, the "Good Thief"; he was a flawed man who was an unlikely candidate for sainthood, and therefore he gives hope to us all as we struggle to reach that goal.
O good St. Dismas, who are in Heaven enjoying the beatific vision of God because of a contrite and humble heart and a kind and forgiving crucified Saviour whose parched lips uttered the assuring words of salvation on Calvary's Cross, "Verily I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in Paradise," plead my cause before the court of Heaven and present my spiritual and temporal requests to Our Blessed Lord, with the help of Our Sorrowful Mother and good St. Joseph.
(Here state your request.)
In return for these kind favors, O good St. Dismas, I promise to amend my own life, do penance, and to help spread your blessed devotion far and near, so that at the end of life's journey I may thank you, personally, in Heaven. Amen.