When I happened on this quote from Pope Francis, it set in motion a chain of associations in my mind:
We have to go out and talk to people in the city whom we’ve seen on their balconies. We have to come out of our shell and tell them that Jesus lives … to say it with joy … even though it seems a little crazy sometimes.
Here are the quotable free-associations:
St. Teresa of Avila:
Truly it seems that now there are no more of those considered mad for being true lovers of Christ.
Isaiah the Prophet:
In the year the general sent by Sargon, king of Assyria, fought against Ashdod and captured it, the LORD gave a warning through Isaiah, the son of Amoz: Go and take off the sackcloth from your waist, and remove the sandals from your feet. This he did, walking naked and barefoot. Then the LORD said: Just as my servant Isaiah has gone naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and portent against Egypt and Ethiopia, so shall the king of Assyria lead away captives from Egypt, and exiles from Ethiopia, young and old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered the shame of Egypt. They shall be dismayed and ashamed because of Ethiopia, their hope, and because of Egypt, their boast. (Is. 20:1-5)
St. Rose of Lima, Peru:
Our Lord and Savior lifted up his voice and said with incomparable majesty: “Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase. Let men take care not to stray and be deceived. This is the only true stairway to paradise, and without the cross they can find no road to climb to heaven.”
When I heard these words, a strong force came upon me and seemed to place me in the middle of a street, so that I might say in a loud voice to people of every age, sex and status: “Hear, O people; hear, O nations. I am warning you about the commandment of Christ by using words that came from his own lips: We cannot obtain grace unless we suffer afflictions. We must heap trouble upon trouble to attain a deep participation in the divine nature, the glory of the sons of God and perfect happiness of soul.”
St. Francis Xavier:
Many, many people hereabouts are not becoming Christians for one reason only: there is nobody to make them Christians. Again and again I have thought of going round the universities of Europe, especially Paris, and everywhere crying out like a madman, riveting the attention of those with more learning than charity: “What a tragedy: how many souls are being shut out of heaven and falling into hell, thanks to you!”
I wish they would work as hard at this as they do at their books, and so settle their account with God for their learning and the talents entrusted to them.
St. Basil of Moscow, Fool-for-Christ:
During Lent, when the people were not eating meat, Basil approached Ivan the Terrible at dinner and slammed down a large piece of bloody meat on the table in front of Ivan. Ivan protested that he did not eat meat for it was Lent. Basil responded, “You eat and drink the blood and flesh of those you kill and torture…” Ivan, in an unexpected turn, did not punish Basil. Instead, he would be a pall-bearer at Basil’s eventual funeral.
Then the master of the house in a rage commanded his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ (Lk. 14:21)
1 Corinthians 4:10-13:
We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.
Lift the City: