February 3, 2010. Dear Brothers and Sisters, today I wish to speak of the great contribution made by Saint Dominic to the renewal of the Church in the Middle Ages.
As a priest of the Spanish diocese of Osma, he was sent on missions throughout Europe, which drew his attention to the need for sound and zealous preachers to bring the Gospel to the people. He was entrusted with the task of refuting the heresy of the Albigensians, who denied the incarnation of Christ, the resurrection of the body and the value of marriage and the sacraments. Embracing a life of poverty, Dominic dedicated himself to the task of preaching the Gospel, and with a band of followers he established the Order of Preachers, also known as Dominican Friars.
Adapting the rule of Saint Augustine to the needs of the apostolic life, Dominic placed emphasis on theological study, prayer and community life for his friars. Thus fortified, they would be sent out on missions as itinerant, mendicant preachers. Hence the Dominican motto, contemplata aliis tradere – to hand on to others the fruits of contemplation. One important way in which the Dominicans did this was by promoting the prayer of the rosary, a beautiful means of contemplating, through the eyes of Mary, the truth revealed in the mysteries of the life, death and Resurrection of her son.
I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Audience, especially those from England, Nigeria and the United States. My greetings also go to the students present, including those from Loyola University Chicago, Rome Campus. Upon all of you I willingly invoke God’s abundant blessings.