St. Simeon Salus, the Holy Fool

It is recounted in the history of the Fathers of the Desert that a hermit named Simeon had remained for many years in solitude when he got the idea of returning to the world. But he asked God that men should never know his intentions during his lifetime. God granted him this grace and he went into the world. He used to pretend to be a fool, and he delivered the possessed from the Devil and he cured the sick. He used to go into the houses of women of evil life and make them swear that they would love him alone, and then he would give them all the money he had. Everyone looked upon him just as a hermit who had become eccentric. They saw him every day, this old man of more than seventy years of age, playing with the children in the streets. At other times he plunged himself into the midst of the public dances, moving around with the crowd while he spoke to them and telling them clearly what wrong they were really doing. But they only looked upon what he said as coming from a fool and simply despised him. At other times he climbed onto the stage and threw stones at all those who were down below. When he saw people who were possessed of the devil he fell in with them and imitated the possessed as if he also were one of them. He was to be seen hurrying into the inns and mixing with the drunkards. In the markets he rolled around on the ground and did a thousand other things which were very extravagant and extraordinary. Everyone condemned and scorned him. Some looked upon him as a fool. Others thought him a libertine and a bad character who deserved only to be locked up. And yet, my dear children, despite all this, he was actually a saint who sought only scorn to win souls to God, even though everyone judged him to be bad. This shows us that although the very actions of our neighbor appear bad to us, we must not, ourselves, judge them to be bad. Often, we judge things to be bad while in the sight of God they are not so.... Yes, my dear children, anyone who has charity does not see the faults of his neighbor.... Whoever possesses charity is sure that Heaven is for him!

(from the Book “The Sermons of The Cure of Ars”, TAN Books 2013, Page 221)

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