This Day Thou Shalt Be With Me In Paradise.
During the time of the Crucifixion of Jesus, the two thieves were left lying on the ground at some distance off; their arms were fastened to the crosses on which they were to be executed, and a few soldiers stood near on guard. The accusation which had been proved against them was that of having assassinated a Jewish woman who, with her children, was travelling from Jerusalem to Joppa. They were arrested, under the disguise of rich merchants, at a castle in which Pilate resided occasionally, when employed in exercising his troops, and they had been imprisoned for a long time before being brought to trial.
The thief placed on the left-hand side was much older than the other; a regular miscreant, who had corrupted the younger. They were commonaly called Dismas and Gesmas, and as I forget their real names I shall distinghish them by these terms, calling the good one Dismas, and the wicked one Gesmas. Both the one and the other belonged to a band of robbers who infested the frontiers of Egypt:
..........and it was in a cave inhabited by these robbers that the Holy Family took refuge when flying into Egypt, at the time of the massacre of the Innocents. The poor leprous child who was instantly cleansed by being dipped in the water which had been used for washing the infant Jesus, was no other than this Dismas, and the charity of his mother, in receiving and granting hospitality to the Holy Family, had been rewarded by the cure of her child; while this outward purification was an emblem of the inward purification which was afterwards accomplished in the soul of Dismas on Mount Calvary, through that Sacred Blood was then shed on the cross for our redemption. Dismas knew nothing at all about Jesus, but as his heart was not hardened, the sight of the extreme patience of our Lord moved him much.
The crosses of the two thieves were placed, the one to the right and the other to the left of Jesus. Nothing can be imagined more distressing than the appearance of the thieves on their crosses; they suffered terribly, and the one on the left hand side never ceased cursing and swearing.
I cast my eyes upon Jesus-----Jesus my Redeemer, -----the Redeemer of the world. I beheld Him motionless, and almost lifeless. I saw nothing distinctly, excepting my beloved Spouse hanging on the cross. I contemplated His disfigured countenance, His Head encircled with that terrible crown of thorns, which prevented His raising it even for a moment without the most intense suffering, His mouth parched and half open from exhaustion, and His hair and beard clotted with blood. His chest was torn with stripes and wounds, and His elbows dislocated, blood constantly trickled down from the gaping wounds in His hands and the flesh was so torn from His ribs that you might almost count them. His legs and thighs, as also His arms, were stretched out almost to dislocation, and the flesh and muscles so completely laid bare that every bond was visible, and His whole body covered with black, green, and reeking wounds. The blood which flowed from His wounds was at first red, but it became by degrees light and watery, and the whole appearance of His body was that of a corpse ready for interment. And yet, nothwithstanding the state of ignominy to which He was reduced, there still remained that inexpressible look of dignity and goodness which had ever filled all beholders with awe.
The complexion of our Lord was fair, like that Mary, and slightly tinted with red; but His exposure to the weather during the last three years had tanned Him considerably. His chest was wide, but not hairy like that of St. John the Baptist; His shoulders broad, and His arms and thights sinewy; His knees were strong and hardened, as is ususally the case with those who have either walked or knelt much, and His legs long, with very strong muscles; His feet were well formed, and His hands beautiful, the fingers being long and tapering, and although not delicate like those of a woman, still not resembling those of a man who had laboured hard. His neck was rather long, with a well-set and finaly proportioned head; His forehead large and high; His face oval; His hair, which was far from thick, was of a golden brown colour, parted in the middle and falling over His shoulders; His beard was not any great length, but pointed and divided under the chin.
When I contemplated Him on the Cross, His hair was almost all torn off, and what remained was matted and clotted with blood; His body was one wound, and every limb seemed as if dislocated.
I do not want to know the wisdom of the world;
I do not want to know on whose anvil snow-flakes are hammered or the hiding-place of darkness or from whose womb came the ice, or why the gold falls to the earth earthly, and fire climbs to the heavens heavenly;
I do not want to know literature and science, or the four-dimensional universe in which we live;
I do not want to know the length of the universe in terms of light years;
I do not want to know the breadth of the earth as it dances about the chariot of the sun;
I do not want to know the heights of the stars, chaste candles of the night;
I do not want to know the deptsh of the sea or the secrets of its water palace.
I want to be ignorant of all these things.
I want only to know the length, the breadth, the height and the depth of Thy redeeiming Love on the Cross, Sweet Saviour of Men.
I want to be ignorant of everything in the world------everthing but You, dear Jesus.
And then, by the strangest of strange paradoxes, I shall be wise! Amen.