He was born in nine hundred and forty nine in Asia Minor. As a young man, he moved to Constantinople to embark on a career in the civil service but, during his studies, he was shown a work called The Spiritual Law by Mark the Monk which completely changed his life. It contained the phrase: "If you seek spritual healing, be aware of your conscience. Do everything it tells you and you will find what is useful to you". From that day on, he made it his way of life always to listen to his conscience. He became a monk and his life and writings, collected afterwards by a disciple, reflect Symeon’s deep understanding of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in the life of all the baptized. Symeon teaches us that Christian life is an intimate and personal communion with God. True knowledge of God comes, not from books, but from an interior purification through conversion of the heart. For Symeon, union with Christ is not something extraordinary, but the fruit of the baptism common to all Christians. Inspired by Symeon’s life, let us pay greater attention to our spiritual life, seeking the guidance we need to grow in the love of God.
I am pleased to welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims here this morning, including the priests and brothers of the Society of Mary gathered in Rome for their chapter, and the various schools and university groups present. Upon you all, I willingly invoke God’s abundant graces.