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Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VII: July. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

July 1

St. Simeon

[Surnamed Salus. 1]  HE was a native of Egypt, and born about the year 522. Having performed a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, he retired to a desert near the Red Sea, where he remained twenty-nine years in the constant practice of a most austere penitential life. Here he was constantly revolving in mind that we must love humiliations if we would be truly humble; that at least we should receive those which God sends us with resignation, and own them exceedingly less than the measure of our demerits; that it is even sometimes our advantage to seek them; that human prudence should not always be our guide in this regard; and that there are circumstances where we ought to follow the impulse of the Holy Spirit, though not unless we have an assurance of his inspiration. The servant of God, animated by an ardent desire to be contemptible among men, quitted the desert, and at Emesus succeeded to his wish; for by affecting the manners of those who want sense, he passed for a fool. He was then sixty years old, and lived six or seven years in that city, when it was destroyed by an earthquake in 588. His love for humility was not without reward, God having bestowed on him extraordinary graces, and even honoured him with the gift of miracles. The year of his death is unknown. Although we are not obliged in every instance to imitate St. Simeon, and that it would be rash even to attempt it without a special call; yet his example ought to make us blush, when we consider with what an ill-will we suffer the least thing that hurts our pride. See Evagrius, a contemporary writer, l. 4, c. 5; the life of this saint by Leontius, bishop of Napoli in Cyprus; that of St. John the Almoner; and the Bollandists, t. 1, Jul. p. 129.  1
Note 1. Salus in the Syriac signifies foolish. [back]