An Unusual Saint

July 9th is the feast day of St. Mark Ji Tianxiang, a Chinese layman who was murdered in 1900, along with dozens of other Catholics in his village, in the vicious persecution of Christians during the Boxer rebellion.  What’s unusual about St. Mark is that he was an opium addict. To be clear, he was an opium addict. Not had been an opium addict. He was an opium addict at the time of his death. Continue reading

Adjusting along the way

Back in the day, along with a group of friends, I used to camp and backpack in the wilderness of Virginia and West Virginia. Generally, it was just for a long weekend – maybe two or three days. We would carry everything in/out. I remember having fun, enjoying it all, but I always felt like I needed a day to recover. Perhaps it was the infrequency of carrying a load, the hiking, and all that goes with the adventure, but come Monday, there was always a stiffness about my neck, arms, shoulders, upper back and all the rest that is connected to those parts.  I could still feel the after effects of the pack’s burden.  “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” It sounded like the perfect scripture for the post-camping Monday mornings. Continue reading