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Saint Servulus
  December 23th  

    In this holy man was exemplified what ourdivine Redeemer taught of Lazarus, the poor man full of sores who lay at the gate of the rich man's house. Servulus was a beggar, afflicted with the palsy from his infancy, so that he had never been able to stand, sit upright, lift his hand to his mouth, or turn himself from one side to another. His mother and brother carried him to the porch of St. Clement's church at Rome, where he lived on the alms of those that passed by, and whatever was left over he distributed among other needy persons. And for all that he was able to save enough to buy some books of Holy Scripture which, as he could not read himself, he got others to read to him; and he listened with such attention as to learn them by heart. Much time he passed singing hymns of praise and thanksgiving to God in spite of continual pain. After years thus spent he felt his end draw near, and in his last moments he asked the poor and pilgrims who had often shared his charity to sing mymns and psalms by his bed. Whilst he joined his voice with theirs he on a sudden cried out, "Do you hear the great and wonderful music in heaven?" When he had spoken these words he died, and his soul was carried by angels into everlasting bliss. The body of Servulus was buried in St. Clement's church, and his feast is annually celebrated in that church on the Coelian Hill outside of which he was wont to lay.

    St. Gregory the Great concludes the account he gives of Servulus, in a sermon to his people, by observing that the behaviour of this poor sick begger loudly condemns those who, when blessed with good health and fortune, neither do good works nor suffer the least cross with tolerable patience. He speaks of him as one who was well known both to himself and his hearers, and says that one of his monks, who was present at his death, used to speak of the fragrant smell which came from the dead beggar's body. Servulus was a true lover of God, not careful and troubled about his own life, but solicitous that God be honoured, and all that he could suffer for this end he looked upon as reward. By his constancy and fidelity he overcame the world and all bodily afflictions.

We know nothing about Servulus but what we learn from St. Gregory the Great. See his Dialogues, bk iv, ch. 14, and also one of his homilies, printed in Migne, PL., vol lxxvi, c. 1133.

Butler's Lives of The Saints, Herbert J. Thurston, S.J. and Donald Attwater