“…When the thief was coming…”
To know God is the highest form of knowledge, and it constitutes that blessedness for which we put ourselves in God’s service, so that we may know him and Jesus Christ, whom he sent. Jesus Christ cannot be known, however, except as he was hanging on the cross, when the thief on the cross beside him confessed his sins and exclaimed: “Remember me, Lord, when you come into your kingdom.”
We are thieves who try to steal ourselves from God and desire instead to turn to nothingness, even though we are not able to be nothing. We wish to hide from God’s sight, even though it has been written of him: “If I ascend into heaven,” and so on.
Thieves also kill, and they bury the corpse in the ground to conceal the murder. Likewise we too are murderers, since we kill our soul, which is far dearer than our body. We put earth over it by gazing longingly at earthly things to hide the fact that when we are occupied with earthly desires, we are actually dead. Nor can we come to our senses, so long as we delude ourselves by blaming what we do on the weakness of the flesh, or indulge ourselves by depending too much on God’s mercy. Putting aside our thievery, therefore, let us hang on the cross of Christ, confessing our wretchedness to him and, with full devotion of heart, begging his mercy.