Thinking of Dismas
(continuation of Posting Six)
   O the love of Jesus for His little ones!  Even as I write this I am struck by my incapacity to understand the very words I am writing, as though Jesus were telling me that His children need some rational bridge, so to speak, to come to an understanding of this Charity.  So now I will try to explain it a little, for myself and for you.  But I would want you to understand that this explanation is like the preheating of the wood before it bursts into flame, as John of the Cross explains—that there is a danger that we may take the warmth of the explanation in place of the Living Flame of Jesus’ Love, His Love Which is One thing with His Wisdom.  So try to understand this explanation, but at the same time be careful to despise whatever you can understand.
 
As it seems to me, we who do truly want to love Jesus are prevented from loving Him as we should, mostly by the awareness of our faults, the lack of the right disposition to love Him.  And so we go to Him filled with misgivings — without realizing that in going to Him with this disposition we are in reality insulting Him and making ourselves unable to receive the Love which He would pour into our soul.  It is as if we had said, “Yes, Jesus, I do love You, and I do believe in Your Love for me.  But I know how great my sins are, how great my corruption, and I know that You are all Holy and Pure, and therefore I know that it is impossible for You to love me. No, I do not blame you, I know You would love me more if You could, but it is I who prevent You.”
 
O do you see how wrong this is, and how much it wounds the Heart of Jesus?  Do you see how, in the name of piety, we are secretly seeking to glory in ourselves, and how in this way we resist the poverty of spirit which alone can receive everything from Him?  Yes, we think always in time, and of what we have accumulated, or have not accumulated, but Jesus says to us, “Give Me this moment, only this moment: give Me that one act of love which Dismas gave Me.  Do you not see?  It is your act of abandoning yourself to My Love, to the Power of My Love, which alone glorifies Me and the Father in Me.  The meaning of your life is not that you are accumulating virtues, but that you are preparing for that one act of dying, of dying in My Love and for My Love, and now, each moment is such a death, where you have nothing, nothing, nothing, where only My Love exists.”
 
I must stop now, but I hope this will be a new beginning for you.  Please pray and ponder this very, very much.  There is only one thing which, I think, I should add:  As I was writing this I turned for a moment to Teresita’s Novissima Verba, and this is what I read: “ . . . Some persons might think that it is only because I have been preserved from mortal sin that I have such great confidence in God.  Make it quite clear, Mother, to all, that even if I had committed every possible crime, my confidence would vanish as a drop of water cast into a fiery furnace.”  Yes, I thought, the fiery furnace of the Love of Jesus: who can understand it?  Beg Him to give you this understanding of His Love, even as He is loving you now, as you are loving Him, that He has reduced all your sins to nothingness for all eternity, that He not only wants to forgive your sins, but that He wants, more than anything else, at this very moment, to be loved by you as you can love Him only in the knowledge that your sins do not exist.  And just now, as I was writing, I thought, “Yes, I can believe that about my past sins, Jesus, but even now I am aware of evil dispositions within myself which make it inconceivable to me that I could abandon myself to Your Love.”
 
And then it was as if Jesus spoke to me and said, “Read, then, about Dismas!”  And then I wondered, because I did not remember, was it true, then, that Dismas too cursed Jesus before he turned to Him in love?  So I opened to Matthew (27:41-44) and read: “In like manner also the chief priests, with the scribes and ancients, mocking, said: ‘He saved others; Himself He cannot save.  If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. . .’  And the selfsame thing the thieves also that were crucified with Him reproached Him with.”  And only then, after he, with the scribes and Pharisees, had mocked Jesus, does Dismas rebuke the other thief and acknowledge the innocence of Jesus.  Having had the moment before the disposition of the bad thief, the disposition of the murderers of Jesus, Dismas now turns to Jesus to acknowledge Him as his King and to beg His Grace!
 
O the depth of the Mercy of God!  Do you see now, then, how Jesus wants to be glorified?  As Dismas saw himself on the cross, condemned for his sins, and in the throes of his agony moved to curse Jesus, just in this state at one moment Dismas cries out in the next, “Lord, remember me when Thou shalt come into Thy Kingdom.”  This is how Jesus wants to be loved, and glorified by you, crucified as you are by your sins (He crucified with you), seeing nothing but evil and corruption in yourself, moved in yourself only to curse God and die (Job 2:9), with just this disposition, therefore, cry out to your Jesus, “Lord, remember me when Thou shalt come into Thy Kingdom,” only now say “Lord, remember me now that You are in Your Kingdom.”  And then, as Jesus said to Dismas “This day thou shalt be with Me in Paradise”, so you will hear Jesus say to you, in the depths of your own hopelessness in yourself, not “This day thou shalt be in paradise, “ but “My beloved little child, thou art My paradise, as I am thine!”
 
( back to First Part )