Saint Simeon Salus lived with his mother until he was about 30 - so you stay-at-home-sons, don't be discouraged. He then went to the desert to live as a monk - when he was old - he left the monastery to live amongst the genuinely poor: the outcasts, amongst whom were the prostitutes and other low life. He actually lived along side prostitutes and the wicked people they attract - the indigent homeless, mentally ill, crippled, alcoholics, homosexuals - the dregs of any society. Some say he simply feigned madness, while others think he may have at times been truly out of his mind. One must remember that Christ was considered mad by his townsmen as well - these people who supposedly knew him, thought Jesus out of his mind at times. And yet Jesus, free of all sin - notably original sin and its effects - could not have been crazy... Though he indeed emptied himself and took the very last place, which even Simeon, for all his humiliating madness, nor the wretches amongst whom he lived, were able to snatch that very last place from Jesus, the Son of God.
The holy fool Simeon brought many people to repentance by his example and his roughened charity amongst the most disenfranchised of the city. Perhaps his greatest penance was the awareness of his own imperfection, weakness, inconstancy and sin which impelled him to take his place amongst the outcasts, sharing their shame, trusting in the mercy of Christ who suffers with all who are rejected and marginalized.
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