In a recent article in America Magazine, the writer, who teaches theology to seminarians and lay people alike, was commenting on what turns today’s students of theology on. He writes: “When they visit Maryknoll missionaries working with AIDS victims in Namibia or Jesuits working with gangs in Los Angeles, for example, the students describe this as the church ‘at its best.’ These are no-nonsense Catholics.”
In the years I was working in Peru, one of the fondest memories I have is when I was working with North American volunteers who committed to serve with the Jesuits for a year or two. I found that time and time again, even in the case of generous young people who were willing to live a goodly piece of their life in service, they would come feeling “iffy” at best about the Church and their Catholic faith. By the time they finished their commitment and had come across any number of missionary groups serving the most needy in Peru, they too had had an experience of what the Church really is. I think I can say that they discovered what it means to be a “no-nonsense Catholic.”
That phrase has been ringing in my ears ever since I read it. I think I want to be a “no-nonsense whatever I am.” I want to be a no-nonsense Jesuit; I want the schools of our Cristo Rey Network to be a no-nonsense Cristo Rey school. May we all be truly what we are!