Most people do not realize that in the Dominican calendar of saints, today is a big deal. It is the day we commemorate Saint Francis. So high do we hold the example and life of Saint Francis, that we call him, as we do Saint Dominic, our Holy Father.
The reason is quite clear, and today’s gospel tells it well. Both Saint Francis and Saint Dominic understood in their day the importance of a very profound witness to a new way of life, a witness that would be compelling to people because of the choice to live their poverty. For Francis, this was done to avoid the trap of riches. For Dominic, this was done to make the preaching central.
For both of them, it was a call to be sent. This powerful example is present to us in this day by Pope Francis, who chose the name of Francis. His choice of this name did not surprise me as much as the awareness that no one else had chosen this name before him. The example of Saint Francis was so clear that his canonization was by acclamation shortly after his death, so profound was life of holiness.