Saint Dismas has been described as ‘the saint who was canonised by Christ Himself’ from the cross! He is also referred to as ‘the Good Thief’ and ‘The Thief who stole Heaven’!
Can a thief be good? What do we really know about him?
There is only one brief mention of him in the Gospel of St. Luke Ch. 23, 39-43. He is one of the two thieves who were crucified together with Our Lord. While one thief was mocking Jesus for not being able to save them and himself, Dismas the other thief, acknowledged his own deserved punishment, while claiming that Jesus did not deserve the cruel death. He did not ask for a miracle to be saved from the painful death, but he beseeched Jesus, “… remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
It is possible that this could mean that Dismas must have been aware of Jesus as He went about Galilee and Judea, preaching about the Kingdom of God, healing the sick and raising the dead. His request was followed by an affirmation from Jesus, “Truly I say to you today you will be with me in Paradise.” Even in that last hour, with His last breath, enduring extreme pain, Jesus saw the repentance of Dismas, and He not only stretched his arms on the cross but He also stretched them in a last embrace of love and mercy for ‘the Repentant Thief.’