Thursday, August 07, 2008

St. Francis, and the Feast of St. Dominic

Tomorrow is the Feast of St. Dominic, founder of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans). The Church of St. Vincent Ferrer weblog has a beautiful post on the mutual respect and collaborative tradition between the Dominicans and Franciscans, and how this tradition is lived out on the respective feast days of St. Dominic and St. Francis:
Tradition has it that St. Dominic and St. Francis of Assisi met each other in Rome in 1215 while observing the deliberations of the Fourth Lateran Council. Because the Council Fathers were creating legislation governing new religious orders, the two founders were particularly interested in the outcome. According to one legend, Dominic and Francis met and fell immediately into mutual esteem for each other’s grace and charism. As a sign of their friendship in the Lord, they exchanged belts. Francis took Dominic’s leather belt, characteristic of a preaching canon, while Dominic took Francis’s rope cincture, the symbol of his poverty.

In honor of the friendship between Dominic and Francis, a noble tradition has developed among their disciples. Dominicans and Franciscans celebrate the feasts of their founders together. Franciscans join Dominicans on August 8, and Dominicans join Franciscans on October 4. At the Mass of St. Dominic, a Franciscan preaches, and at the Mass of St. Francis a Dominican delivers the homily.
I suspect this isn't universally observed, but it does remind us of the mutually enriching benefits offered by the spiritual traditions of various religious orders and their common fraternity in Jesus Christ.

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