It occurred to me earlier that it was twenty-four years ago today that I received the Sacrament of Confirmation (almost immediately after which, I am sorry to say, I quit going to church for about six years).
Today is also (usually) the feast of the Annunciation, as well as the feast of St. Dismas, the Good Thief who repented and was promised Paradise that very day.
When I was in law school in Moscow, I boarded at the local Ursuline convent. The superior of that convent, Sr. Bernadette, had a devotion to St. Dismas, and swore that he had helped her out of many difficulties. One day, I was out on the road during a fog after a heavy snowfall. After turning onto one of Moscow's rather ill-plowed side streets, which turned out to be worse than it looked, my little Chevy LUV pickup got stuck in a snow drift. I couldn't move, I couldn't see, and this was before the ubiquity of cell phones, so I had no ready means of calling for help. I wondered how I was going to get out of this. Then I remembered what Sr. Bernadette always said about St. Dismas.
So I prayed to St. Dismas to help me out of the snow. Before the fog from my breath had dissolved away, a great big truck with tow equipment suddenly loomed up out of the snow just ahead of me. Without any ado, three people jumped out, hitched up my pickup, and towed it out of the snow drift. It was as though they had come on orders. Within a minute, they were gone and I was safely back on my way.
How's THAT for service? And chivalry?
Prayer to St. Dismas
Glorious Saint Dismas, you alone of all the great Penitent Saints were directly canonized by Christ Himself; you were assured of a place in Heaven with Him "this day" because of the sincere confession of your sins to Him in the tribunal of Calvary and your true sorrow for them as you hung beside Him in that open confessional; you who by the direct sword thrust of your love and repentance did open the Heart of Jesus in mercy and forgiveness even before the centurion's spear tore it asunder; you whose face was closer to that of Jesus in His last agony, to offer Him a word of comfort, closer even than that of His Beloved Mother, Mary; you who knew so well how to pray, teach me the words to say to Him to gain pardon and the grace of perseverance; and you who are so close to Him now in Heaven, as you were during His last moments on earth, pray to Him for me that I shall never again desert Him, but that at the close of my life I may hear from Him the words He addressed to you: "This day thou shalt be with Me in Paradise."