|Christ and the Good Thief - Titian|
Alas, dear Christ, the dragon is here again.
Alas, he is here: terror has seized me, and fear.
Alas, that I ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge.
Alas, that his envy led me to envy too.
I did not become like God; I was cast out of Paradise.
Temper, sword, awhile, the heat of your flames
and let me go again about the garden,
entering with Christ, a thief from another tree.
Who can help but love St. Dismas, the "good thief" who stole heaven with one simple, heartfelt sentence: Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.
I've always thought that the story of St. Dismas reflects the true depth and beauty of God's mercy. During times of trouble, I often repeat the words he spoke to Jesus to remind myself of the greatness of God's love for his people.
God bless all the "wicked saints" whose great witness to God's mercy reaches into the hearts of poor sinners everywhere. They are a reminder to us that we should never lose hope - that conversion is possible, even into the last moments of someone's life. We all have people in our lives who seem to have little to no interest in God and maybe some of us have lost hope that they can change, but this should never be the case. True conversion is always possible and our prayers can help.
I remind you, My daughter, that as often as you hear the clock strike the third hour, immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it; invoke its omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners; for at that moment mercy was opened wide for every soul. In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world - mercy triumphed over justice. (Jesus to St. Faustina, The Diary of St. M. Faustina Kowalska - 1572)