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Dismas

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Holycard

An image of Saint Dismas. The text says, "Saint Dismas, pray for us" in Spanish.

SDysmas

Saint Dismas: "My Lord, remember me when you came into your Kingdom". Image taken from a 2010 Passion Play.

Saint Dismas is the traditional name given to the "good thief" (criminal) who was crucified at the side of Jesus Christ. According to tradition, he was crucified on the right side of Jesus. Dismas stood up for Jesus when He was insulted by the other criminal (traditionally known as Gestas) and asked that Jesus remember him when he went into His kingdom. Christ promised Dismas passage to paradise based on his faith.[1][2][3] Some Christian believers see Dismas as an opportunist since his repentance took place in his last hours and only on seeing that Jesus was not going to save him from his sufferings on the cross. He was going to die without remission and he was living his last moments. However, this man could also see that Jesus was not a malefactor like him and that Jesus was his single hope not to be condemned after his death. Certainly, Dismas had nails through both hands, so that he could not help himself; and a nail through each foot, so that he could not walk away; he could not lift a hand or a foot toward his salvation, and yet Jesus offered him salvation. Jesus' words had to make Dismas' last few hours of agonizing temporal pain, much lighter.

The experience of Dismas shows the unlimited power of forgiveness by God for those who request it. It is a reminder of the saving grace of God for those who have faith and repent. Perhaps Dismas' sufferings on the cross were enough to expiate his sins or perhaps Christ was trying to show us how merciful He is to those who accept Him as Lord and Saviour.

Dismas oBomLadrao

Full of hope and unlike Gestas, Dismas' face displays serenity and internal peace. He knows that in spite that he is a malefactor and his sufferings are well deserved, Jesus has promised him Paradise.

Dismas' crucifixion was in fact a great grace for him, because due to his pain he began to think and believe things that never before occurred to him, and thus he became a Saint. Pain and suffering in our lives are also great graces which bring us close to Christ.

Catholic tradition

In Catholic tradition Dismas is believed to have had a previous meeting with our Lord on the Holy Family's flight to Egypt. It is said that Dismas was very sick and the Blessed Virgin bathed him in the same water as the Holy Child
Dismas, good thief

Book Mark depicting Saint Dismas on the cross

and Dismas was healed. This story may be a foreshadowing of how Jesus would heal Dismas' soul before his death so that he could enjoy eternal life.
PrisonersPatron

Saint Dismas, patron saint of repented malefactors (Holy Card).

Dismas is the patron saint for those condemned to death, captives and repentant malefactors. His feast day is March 25, though it gains him no particular recognition as the important feast of the Annunciation falls upon the same day. Religious paintings show us Dismas crucified with ropes or nails, his face turned peacefully towards Jesus.

A relic held at the Church of Santa Croce in Rome is by tradition a portion of the cross on which Dismas was crucified.

Dismas is one of the Penitent Saints.

References

  1. Matthew 27:38-44 (KJV)
  2. Mark 15:27-32 (KJV)
  3. Luke 23:39-43 (KJV)

St. Dismas, http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=114

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