Paul L. Caron

Sunday, April 17, 2022

WSJ Op-Ed: What Saint Dismas Can Teach Us About Good Friday And Easter

Wall Street Journal Op-Ed:  For Lent, I’m Reading Up on the Christian Saints, by Mike Kerrigan (Hunton Andrews Kurth, Charlotte, NC):

During Lent, I have stepped up my reading about the lives of Christian saints. The exercise has been strangely dispiriting, not because their virtue isn’t heroic, but because it’s so heroic. This is especially true for the lives of the martyrs, those who died for their faith. ...

Would I show such courage in the face of persecution, compassion for my tormentors ...? [N]o. Their standard of holiness is otherworldly.

This is why the lesson of St. Dismas, better known as the Good Thief recorded in the Gospel of Luke, is so important to me. Dismas was the criminal who was crucified to the right of Jesus on Good Friday. Recognizing his own culpability at the end of a dissolute life, Dismas humbly asked Jesus to remember him in paradise. Jesus assured Dismas he would be with him that very day in heaven, making the lowly brigand the only mortal whose hallowed forwarding address was confirmed by the Bible. ...

I love this earthiest of saints. I think of him whenever I’ve stumbled spiritually, which is to say, often. The charges against Dismas were grim and the hour late, yet he neither presumed nor despaired. Rather, in hope he literally turned to God and received a pardon that reveals not the limits of divine justice but the depths of divine mercy.

Oscar Wilde, himself a deathbed convert to Catholicism, said every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. I like to think Wilde said this with St. Dismas in mind, along with the astonishing power of forgiveness.

Other Wall Street Journal op-eds by Mike Kerrigan:

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