Sunday, July 09, 2017

Saint Day for an Addict Who Kept Showing Up

He was an opium addict who couldn’t receive the sacraments. But he’s a martyr and a saint.

St. Mark Ji Tianxiang was an opium addict. He died an addict. But he didn't die from his addiction. He died a martyr. He was a respected doctor who treated himself with opium and then got hooked. He went to confession, but couldn't stay clean. He kept trying but was eventually forbidden from taking the sacrament since he obviously wasn't serious or he would have been able to remain sober. (No one knew of the disease in those days. It was a shameful, moral failing.)

When the Boxer rebellion occurred in 1900 he ended up imprisoned with his family as many other Christians were. He begged his executioner to allow him to be killed last so none of his family would die alone. And yes, he was finally released from his addiction.

On the website Aleteia, Meg Hunter-Kilmer wrote:
St. Mark Ji Tianxiang is a beautiful witness to the grace of God constantly at work in the most hidden ways, to God’s ability to make great saints of the most unlikely among us, and to the grace poured out on those who remain faithful when it seems even the Church herself is driving them away.

On July 9, the feast of St. Mark Ji Tianxiang, let’s ask his intercession for all addicts and for all those who are unable to receive the sacraments, that they may have the courage to be faithful to the Church and that they may always grow in their love for and trust in the Lord.

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