St. Dismas

Feast Day – March 25

With Easter Sunday this weekend, I thought that St. Dismas would be a good saint to learn about, even though his feast day was last week.

Although never officially canonized by the Church, this penitent thief was one of the two men crucified next to Christ on Golgotha.  St. Dismas was repentant of his sins, recognizing that he was a sinner, not worthy of forgiveness, yet begging for it.  After scolding the other thief for his callous words and mocking Christ, St. Dismas asked Christ to remember him when He came into His Kingdom.  Christ promised him while hanging on the cross that the thief would be with Him that day in Paradise.

St. Dismas had a baptism of desire (since no water was available) as he was on the cross next to Christ.  And Christ forgave his sins, even though he had lived a sinful life, welcomed into eternal salvation.

An unsubstantiated myth popular in the Middle Ages was that as the Holy Family was fleeing Herod’s soldiers, Dismas and his partner, the other thief, tried to rob them on the road to Egypt.  Dismas, regretting his actions, paid off his partner to leave the family without harming them.  It was then, according to the myth, that Baby Jesus predicted the two would be crucified with him in Jerusalem and that Dismas would repent and join Him in Heaven.

One Response to St. Dismas

  1. Jim Walter says:

    Here is another popular story about St. Dismas — There is an ancient tradition that during the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt, they paused to rest in a cave belonging to a thief and his family. The robber and his wife had an infant son who was the same age as the Infant Jesus. Sadly, the little baby had leprosy. The Blessed Mother took pity on the poor child and his mother. In gratitude for the shelter and food the robber’s family had provided, Mary performed a wonderful miracle.

    Our Lady told the mother to place her son in the bath water that had been used to wash the Christ Child. As soon as the robber’s son was bathed in the water, his sores were healed. His skin was completely restored and renewed.

    Many years passed and the two infant boys grew to manhood. While the Christ Child “grew in age, wisdom and grace,” the cured little boy grew into the trade of his father and became a thief. One fateful and terrible day, the two men met again. This time it was not in a cave, but on a hill. The leprous baby boy was now the thief who hung on the cross to the right side of Jesus and said, “Lord, remember me when You enter Your Kingdom.” His mother’s kind deed of long ago had won the thief the grace of faith and repentance. On Calvary, Dismas (the Good Thief) was assured salvation with Christ’s promise, “This day, thou shalt be with Me in paradise.”

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