Here’s the saint’s calendar for March 25, 2019, and some versions, each focusing on individual saints, all wonderful; for they are the Church Triumphant.
The Catholic Church has many saints and reading about their lives has been a spiritual journey Catholics have been on since the publication of the Golden Legend, http://sourcebooks.web.fordham.edu/basis/goldenlegend/
From Butler’s Calendar of the Saints listing all of the saints of today. https://web.archive.org/web/20061015132052/http://www.catholic-forum.com/Saints/day0325.htm
St. Dismas, the patron saint of this apostolate, is memorialized today:
The following is from (pp. 108-111) David H. Lukenbill. (2011). The Lampstand Prison Ministry: Constructed on Catholic Social Teaching & the History of the Catholic Church. The Lampstand Foundation: Sacramento, California.
It is however, in the actions of the true criminal hero, St. Dismas, that the honor of the professional criminal was set. Dismas, the Good Thief, is portrayed as finding repentance hanging beside Christ on Calvary, but nothing in the scriptural record of that central moment in human history, as I read it, indicates that it was repentance he was expressing, but that he saw the truth.
Dismas recognized that the man hanging next to him was God. We do not know how he came to see this while so many others witnessing the crucifixion did not. It began perhaps on the Road to Egypt, where Dismas really saw love and innocence in the prototype family that he had perhaps dreamt of, but had not known.
In the act of saving the Holy Family from the robbing and violence characterizing his band of thieves, he acted benevolently for the same reason professional criminals today will not harm children, but will punish harshly—even unto death—those who do.
It was perhaps on the Road to Calvary, as the two thieves and Christ carried their crosses, as Dismas saw how others responded to Christ and him to them.
On the day of crucifixion Dismas saw the truth and remembered the episode on the Road to Egypt, and his words to Christ were: “Jesus, remember me, when you come in your kingly power.” (Luke 23:42)
Dismas might be saying: Remember that I have responded to you honorably, I have not pleaded for my life as Gestas—the other thief hanging on Golgotha—but have accepted my punishment honorably, for it is just. I have realized your innocence and know that while justice is being done with us, it is not being done to you, Jesus, “remember me.”
This is not an unusual response for a professional criminal even today, for among ourselves in the cells and on the streets, we will openly and proudly acknowledge who we are, without remorse, asking for no mercy, and though trying any and everything to escape the consequences, once captured by judge and jury, we will accept our punishment stoically if the opportunity to escape is finally closed.
One of the elements in the hierarchy of evil, something that if a professional criminal expresses he will do, will result in him losing the trust and respect of other criminals, is claiming to desire to live a law-abiding life.
Criminals would react to this as would non-criminals react if a peer expressed becoming a criminal as a desired way of life—although in some circles the expression would only be seen as suspect if the criminal life being sought was one that had little chance of profit or success, so influenced has much of the public become to the blandishments of Hollywood and Marxism where criminals are as often seen as romantic figures than as evil predators.
Dismas saw—in the man hanging beside him—a man/God who was truly walking the talk, and living the truth under the most horrific of circumstances, the Roman crucifixion of criminals.
The decision by Christ to take Dismas into Hell with him—on the way to Paradise—is, from the human perspective Christ still possessed, a good and sound idea, as to take a criminal guide into the deepest lair of criminals, much as priests today might ask a reformed criminal to accompany him to a prison ministry visit, both for a sense-of-safety and credibility.
It is perhaps incongruous to think of Our Lord feeling the need for a guide, but on the other hand, it is congruent with his trepidation expressed in Gethsemane, and even on Golgotha, for he was still a man, subject to the human frailties which he would, however, soon leave behind him.
There are mysteries here I do not understand, but I know each act and each word of the earthy ministry of Christy has eternal meaning and all the books that could be written are being written and they do fill the world, but we are still mystified.
Part of the mystery is why Dismas becomes Christ’s companion on the Road from Calvary to Paradise and in the process, becomes the first canonized saint of the Catholic Church, and in response to this central question, Bishop Sheen (1958) writes.
One would have thought a saint would have been the first soul purchased over the counter of Calvary by the red coins of redemption, but in the Divine plan it was a thief who was the escort of the King of kings into Paradise. If Our Lord had come merely as a teacher, the thief would never have asked for forgiveness. But since the thief’s request touched the reason of His coming to earth, namely, to save souls, the thief heard the immediate answer: “I promise thee, this day thou shalt be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43. (p. 395)
(pp. 108-111) David H. Lukenbill. (2011). The Lampstand Prison Ministry: Constructed on Catholic Social Teaching & the History of the Catholic Church. The Lampstand Foundation: Sacramento, California.
From Butler’s Lives of the Saints, The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, “This great festival takes its name from the happy tidings brought by the angel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin, concerning the Incarnation of the Son of God. It commemorates the most important embassy that was ever known: an embassy sent by the King of kings, performed by one of the chief princes of His heavenly court; directed, not to the great ones of this earth, but to a poor, unknown virgin, who, being endowed with the most angelic purity of soul and body, being withal perfectly humble and devoted to God, was greater in His eyes than the mightiest monarch in the world. When the Son of God became man, He could have taken upon Him our nature without the cooperation of any creature; but He was pleased to be born of a woman.” http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/lots/lots100.htm
From Franciscan Media, Annunciation of the Lord, “The feast of the Annunciation, now recognized as a solemnity, was first celebrated in the fourth or fifth century. Its central focus is the Incarnation: God has become one of us. From all eternity God had decided that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity should become human. Now, as Luke 1:26-38 tells us, the decision is being realized. The God-Man embraces all humanity, indeed all creation, to bring it to God in one great act of love. Because human beings have rejected God, Jesus will accept a life of suffering and an agonizing death: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
“Mary has an important role to play in God’s plan. From all eternity, God destined her to be the mother of Jesus and closely related to him in the creation and redemption of the world. We could say that God’s decrees of creation and redemption are joined in the decree of Incarnation. Because Mary is God’s instrument in the Incarnation, she has a role to play with Jesus in creation and redemption.” https://www.franciscanmedia.org/annunciation-of-the-lord/
From a most lovely site, really a daily devotional site offering much more than just saint of the day, Anastpaul https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/
One of my personal favorites, Tradition in Action, St. Dismas, “According to Fr. Emmanuel d’Alzon, founder of the Assumptionists, the most beautiful history of St. Dismas was written by St. Anselm in a letter to his sisters meditating on the childhood of the Savior. If this history is at times doubted by modern men, it was nevertheless unanimously accepted during the time of the great Bishop of Canterbury.
“It was the time of the massacre of the Holy Innocents. St. Joseph, Our Lady, and the Divine Infant were fleeing from Herod. Leaving Bethlehem, the Holy Family entered the land of Egypt, which Sacred Scriptures calls the country of sin where God had withdrawn from His people, a country that only the sacrifice of Christ could redeem.
“On this flight into the country of the Devil, Jesus, Mary and Joseph entered a forest inhabited by brigands. Among them was Dismas, a murderer and a thief. However, in the depths of his soul lay some secret graces he had not refused.
“Hidden from sight, waiting for an unsuspecting victim, Dismas saw the approach of a man and a young woman carrying a Child. The three travelers had some baggage, perhaps some of the gifts of the Magi Kings reserved for this long trip. Dismas judged that this unprotected caravan would not offer resistance. The staff of St. Joseph caused him no fear, and he advanced to harm them.
“However, his eyes fell on the Child Jesus and he stopped, marveling at the glorious beauty and majesty of His countenance. Deeply touched, he protected the travelers instead of harming them, and hosted them in his cave. This was the means Divine Providence used to help the Holy Family, in this instance not with an Angel, but by means of a thief who for a moment was transformed into a good Angel.” https://traditioninaction.org/SOD/j238sd_Dismas_03_12.html
Here is what the 1962 Roman Missal says about The Annunciation, “This is the great Festival of the Incarnation, commemorating the announcement by the Archangel Gabriel to Our Lady that the Divine Son of God, the Word, would take human nature upon Him in her virginal womb. Its date is determined by that of Christmas Day, and as the day which marked the beginning of the Christmas dispensation it was for many centuries regarded as the first day of the civil year.
“On this day the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, uniting for evermore our human nature to the Divine nature. The Mystery of the Incarnation brings vividly before us the boundless condescension and humanity of God in stooping to our condition in order to be our Saviour. Equally it proclaims the glory and greatness of Mary, who was chosen to give to the Divine Word human flesh and human birth, and so to co-operate with God in the restoration of mankind. Hence her most glorious title of “Mother of God”, which explains all her glories, her sanctity and her honour.” (p. 1217) The Daily Missal and Liturgical Manual. (2004). To purchase this Missal for your library go to the publisher, Baronius Press: London: https://www.baroniuspress.com/book.php?wid=56&bid=4#tab=tab-1