The Blessings of Mary
Taken from A GARLAND FOR OUR LADY
Irish Ursulines, 1920 with IMPRIMATUR
The Good Thief, Dismas
The Roman Martyrology, on the 25th of March, makes mention of the Good Thief, who, according to tradition, is called Dismas, in the following words:
"At Jerusalem, on this day, is the Feast of the Good Thief, who acknowledged Christ on the Cross, and from Him deserved to hear the words: 'This day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.' The sudden change and conversion (for Dismas from a sinner became a penitent and Saint) has been rightly attributed to the prayers of our Blessed Lady. Mary, say the holy Fathers, had obtained the soul of the malefactor, as a recompense of her sorrows, and the price of her compassion. Saint Peter Damien assures us, that Mary prayed for the thief who was on the right side of the Cross, on which side she also stood, and exhorted him to hope in Jesus, and to do penance. Saint Anselm, in a treatise on the youth of Jesus, relates the following pathetic incident about the early years of Saint Dismas, which we will give to our readers as a pious legend: -----
" 'Dismas was living in a forest on the confines of Egypt, when Mary went thither with the Child Jesus, to escape the rage of Herod. He was a highwayman, and the son of the chief of a band of robbers. One day, as he lay in ambush, he saw a man, a young woman, and a little Child approaching, from whom he rightly expected no opposition. Therefore, he went towards them, with his comrades, with the intention to ill-treat them. But he was at once so charmed with the supernatural beauty and grace which shone on the countenance of Jesus, that instead of doing them harm, he gave them hospitality in the cave which he inhabited, and made ready for them everything of which they stood in need. Mary was grateful for the tenderness and care which the robber bestowed on her Beloved Son, and warmly thanking him, she assured him that he would be rewarded before his death. This promise was fulfilled later, when Dismas was crucified with the Saviour of the World, and obtained the grace of repentance in his last hour, openly confessing Jesus Christ's Divinity. When the Apostles had fled, he had the happiness to receive the first fruits of the Redeemer's Sacrifice, and soon after, entered the Heavenly Kingdom with his Saviour.'
"Saint Dismas is considered as the Patron of penitents, and is especially invoked for the conversion of hardened and obstinate sinners, and always with a favorable result. The Catholic Church has indeed sanctioned the veneration given to this Saint, by instituting a special Feast, with a most beautiful Office, in his honour, as also, a proper Mass. This Feast is allowed in many Dioceses and religious Orders."