August 8, 2008

Dominic Day

Dominic, born in Castile Spain, lived from 1170-1221, dying on this day, August 8. He lived about the same time as St Francis, and it is believed they met. I've already posted this summer about the beginnings of the Franciscan order and the Jesuits, and now we have a day of the year to learn about the Dominicans - the Order of Preachers.

In his travels, Dominic was exposed to a popular heresy which had captured the allegiance of church leaders, and therefore (a biblical word if there ever was one!), the common people. The name of the heresy was Albigensianism. They believed that all matter is evil (not the first to do so - it seems the 'isms' names just change), thus denying the Incarnation and the Lord's Supper. They led a very ascetic life and people were attracted to the seemingly sacrificial living.

Dominic requested permission of the pope to preach to heretics, pagans and ignorant Catholics, and it became his vocation. In 1216, the order was approved and training began in the universities that were emerging across Europe.

The standards of the Franciscans, with their embrace of absolute poverty, was popular at the time, but hard to live by most. Though the orders weren't SO different, Dominic's Order served as a more realistic example to follow. People felt they could live their life's work, speak in a language the laity could understand, and explain the Christian faith in practical terms.

The unfortunate piece in history is that many of the Medieval Inquisitioners were Dominicans. The Rosary's origins are attributed to Dominic.
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