July 21

From the Prologue

These two young men left their homes and relatives: Simeon, his aged mother and John, his young wife. Both received the monastic tonsure at the hands of the Abbot Nicon in the Monastery of St. Gerasimus and withdrew into the wilderness where they lived an austere life of asceticism for many years. Through rigorous asceticism, they mortified their bodies so much that they resembled two withered trees. One day Simeon said to John that, according to God's command, he must depart from the wilderness and go among the people and there serve God. John gave him this counsel: "Guard our heart against all that you will see in the world. Whatever you touch with your hand, do not allow it to touch your heart. Whatever you eat with your mouth, let not your heart be satisfied. When your feet begin to walk, let there be peace within you. And whatever you do outwardly, let not your mind remain disturbed. Pray to God for me, that He does not separate us, one from the other, in the future life." St. Simeon accepted the counsel of his companion, kissed him and, after that, departed the wilderness and went among the people as a "fool for Christ," to teach men and to convert them to the Faith of Christ. He pretended insanity before men but his heart was the temple of the Holy Spirit and, in that temple, was unceasing prayer. He possessed abundant grace from God and was able to discern all the inner secrets of men, both near and far, healing men from evil spirits and other ailments. Dancing in the streets as one insane, he approached men and whispered their sins in their ears and called them to repentance. He even appeared to sinners in dreams, rebuked them for their sins and called them to repentance. Thus it was with Bali, a pagan actor, who openly mocked Christian shrines and to whom St. Simeon appeared in a dream, rebuked and warned him so that he repented and became a model Christian. A young fornicator went out of his mind because of sexual promiscuity. Seeing this insane young man, St. Simeon struck him across the face with his hand and said: "Do not commit fornication." At that moment the unclean demon departed from the young man and he became well.



The vision of Ezekiel, by God's will:

Wide, wide, immense field,

Overfilled, overfilled with the bones of the dead,

And a voice from heaven to Saint Ezekiel came:

Son of man, these bones do you see?

Living guests on earth were they at one time

At My table, I served them well

But very few of them worthily repaid Me.

Will they come alive, these dead bones?

The prophet became frightened, over to melancholy gave himself:

Lord, Lord, that You can know,

They must arise, if You command.

A rumble and shock and trembling then began,

The resurrection of the dead, the prophet, a miracle saw!

The bones rose up and bone next to bone lay

Then flesh, then sinews and the skin tightened,

At this miracle, the terrified prophet gazed

And glorified God with his heart and soul.

What the prophet of God discerned in the spirit

The resurrected Lord clearly showed.

When the Spirit wills, the dead will resurrect,

As in a new garment, all in a living body

And with Christ, the faithful will rejoice,

To reign eternally, in His kingdom.

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas