St. Dismas was a Terrorist

“With him they crucified two revolutionaries, one on his right and one on his left.” (Mk 15:27).

I do not know how anyone who has meditated dutifully on the passion of our Dear Lord, and certainly anyone who has been blessed with the gift of holy tears (which St. Teresa of Avila says is one of the most important spiritual gifts we can receive), can ever approve of torturing another person in the same manner as our Lord.

“But they’re terrorists,” people reply.

Our Lord allowed Himself to be crucified in place of one terrorist, Barabbas (of whose later conversions there are pious stories), and was crucified in between two terrorists.

And it was one of these two terrorists, the man known to tradition as St. Dismas, who gave us one of the most basic prayers of Christian tradition: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Lk 23:42).

To which simple act of faith, after a lifetime of sin, Our Lord replied, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Lk 23:43).

If the United States were truly the Christian nation that Republicans claim it is, then we would not be treating anyone this way. And our approach to Islamist terrorists would not be to torture them but to reach out to them with the Gospel. I say, lock them in a room and make them watch EWTN 24/7, and send exorcists in to deal with them.

But when I read the defenses of waterboarding and other forms of torture online, I hear the cackle of the crowds who abused Our Lord. I hear the taunts of every schoolyard bully. When faced with any kind of challenge to their views, the neocons and Warhawks immediately turn bullies. Rather than offering any kind of intellectual defense of their indefensible positions, they merely attack, calling for gang violence against those who disagree with them, engaging in name-calling. In a recent discussion, where I quoted the Sermon on the Mount, the reaction was not to even try to explain how they could be Christian and support such actions but merely to attack me for quoting Scripture!

It scares me. I used to hold as a standard that conservatives, even on areas I disagreed with them, did not resort to the kind of Satanic malice one finds among liberals. Go to Huffington Post or RH Reality Check or Democratic Underground, and cussing and violence and ad hominem attacks are course of the day. Go to most conservative sites–until the past couple years–and you would see mostly reasoned discourse.

Now, when a new coalition is all so important, when faithful Christians should realize that the Republican Party has failed us, we are divided by the very issue which, after Abortion, ought to unite us.

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Jesus forgave us from the Cross for committing the worst atrocity of history against Him, yet we think that an atrocity against our country–an atrocity our government knew about in advance and failed to prevent–justifies hatred and malice towards our “enemies.”

“Lord, I thank you that I am not like this terrorist,” said the Pharissee. . . .

“Lord Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Master, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!”

Look down upon me, Good and Gentle Jesus,
while I place my heart before You
and ask You to fill it
with a deep and lively
faith, hope, charity
And true penance for all my sins.
Help me never to sin again.
I contemplate Your Five Most Precious Wounds
Having before my eyes
that which the Holy Prophet David
Spoke long ago concerning Yourself:
“They have pierced my hands and my feet;
They have numbered all my bones.”

Oh, My Jesus, release all my affections and draw them upwards.
Let my crucified heart sink forever into itself into the mysterious wound left by the entrance of the lance.

I kiss the wounds in your sacred Head,
with sorrow deep and true;
May every thought of mine this day
Be an act of love for You.

I kiss the wounds in Your sacred Hands,
With sorrow deep and true;
May every touch of my hands this day
Be an act of love for You.

I kiss the wounds in Your sacred Feet,
With sorrow deep and true;
May every step I take this day,
Be an act of love for You.

I kiss the wound in Your sacred Side,
With sorrow deep and true;
May every beat of my heart this day,
Be an act of love for You.

Amen.

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One response to “St. Dismas was a Terrorist

  1. And the pagan Roman Response to the terrorism of the Zealots (the Apostle Simon the Zealot was also a “revolutionary” of this type) shows us the utter futility of “limited warfare against terrorism”- the only way they stopped it by force was by razing Jerusalem, salting the earth, and dispersing the Jews into slavery.

    And even then, given the recent actions of Israel, they only delayed it 1900 years or so.

    You can’t stop terrorism by force. You can protect your own people by refusing to deal with terrorists and limiting their ability to get resources.

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