Forty days after Easter Jesus ascended into heaven; before this he instructed his apostles to go into the whole world and preach the Gospel.
The Christian Faith spread quickly because the apostles spoke with faith and knowledge of God; they imitated Jesus and spoke about him.
In every generation since the beginning a certain number of people seem to have been sent to enthuse everyone else and were given the gifts to do that.
One such person was St Dominic who founded a religious order called the Order of Preachers who are celebrating their 800th anniversary this year.
They are also called Dominicans after their founder, and were well known in this country before the ‘reformation’ as Blackfriars.
They took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and lived in monasteries.
Their training was long and very thorough; although they were highly educated in universities and thrived on study, discussion and debate in intellectual circles, they also had the ability to translate their learning into everyday language for normal people in their daily lives.
The speciality of the Dominicans was preaching and teaching, they went out from their monasteries to places where Christians had grown lax about their religious practice.
They gave inspiring talks and sermons which spoke to peoples’ hearts.
These sermons were the fruit of hours of study of the Scriptures and the doctrine of the Church as well as prayer. They followed the model of Jesus and the apostles; preaching can be effective if it comes from someone who has studied and absorbed God’s teachings and has grown in love for God because of that study and prayer.
One of the ways of praying which the Dominicans used and shared with the whole Church was the rosary.
A simple string of beads and basic prayers were used to pass on the important teachings of the Church.
The beads are simply to count prayers while the mind is free to meditate on the important events in the life of Jesus.
It is thanks to the Dominicans that we have the rosary today, which many people have used as a fruitful aid to prayer over the centuries.