Domestic Liturgy: 8th May (Celebration of our Founder’s call)


The 8th of May is an important day for the Missionary Society of St Paul. On this day in 1898 Joseph de Piro – founder of our missionary community – was blessed with the gift of faithfulness and courage to respond to God’s call in his life. The fruit of Joseph’s discernment is made manifest today in our own vocations, communities and ministries. Our baptism has given us a new life, the life of God’s beloved sons and daughters. The vocation of every one of God’s children is to discern every day how we can live a life that manifests who we are. This domestic liturgy is meant to bring us together in prayer and reflection. We hope this space might be an opportunity to renew in the Spirit our personal vocation.

Introductory Prayer

Heavenly Father, we praise you for the gift of Mary, Mother of Your Son, whom you have called to collaborate with you so that your plan for all of creation might come to fruition. Give us we pray the gift of the Holy Spirit so that like Mary we might cherish in our hearts the memory of your Love for us, in faithfulness desire to do your will, manifesting that you are a loving Father, through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Psalm 84

Listen to this psalm by clicking the play button.

How lovely is Your dwelling place
O, Lord, mighty God, Lord of all.

Even the lowly sparrow finds a home for her brood,
and the swallow, a nest for herself
where she may lay her young
in Your altars, my King and my God.

How lovely is Your dwelling place…

Blessed are they whose dwelling is Your own, Lord of peace.
Blest are they refreshed by springs and by rain
when dryness daunts and scathes.
Behold my Shield, my King and my God.

How lovely is Your dwelling place…

I would forsake a thousand other days anywhere
if I could spend one day in Your courts,
belong to You alone.
My strength are You alone,
my Glory, my King and my God.

How lovely is Your dwelling place…


A reading from the Gospel according to Luke (Luke 2:15-19)

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Spiritual reading

Having made the experience of forgiveness which is the authentic encounter with God, the person holds unto the Lord by keeping memory of this foundational experience. It is a memory of love that pervades all the dimensions of the human person: one’s intelligence, emotions, will, intuitions, and even the senses. This memory, which is the cherishing of a good taste is the spirit of discernment. Like a healthy sense of taste that is able to distinguish between good and bad food, the spiritual sense of taste that has a memory of the personal encounter with the Lord, will be able to distinguish between what is in harmony and what is incongruent with that experience. Gradually, a person who has tasted the goodness of the Lord will be able to focus his/her energy on what is important, what has real weight and consequence. 

The spiritual life requires a certain sobriety and simplicity so that the treasure we have received is not stolen from us by the excessive worries of secondary things. This sobriety allows us to cherish the memory of the Love that has saved us and brought us back to life. This Love has a face – that of Christ – and for it to be cherished it needs access to as many of our dimensions as possible. Only this love will allow us to go beyond our fragmented vision where things seem detached, events seem random, and a general sense of confusion reigns in our life. 

The person who has not yet had a concrete experience of God’s love which he can cherish concretely in his memory will always struggle to integrate the various dimensions of life: family, work, relationships etc. By the force of our will we might strive to live according to some moral ideals, but in the end we get tired of doing so. We are easily tantalised to follow every wind both in the most simple day to day decisions and also in the great choices that sometimes we are confronted with. This is similar to one who is always hungry and is therefore ready to eat anything that is put before him. 

The intelligence and attention of the heart of such a person are attracted to the Face of the Son. Such a person might seem to be guided by a dry asceticism but at heart he is simply choosing “the better part” which he has tasted. It is not we who have loved God first, He took the initiative. Our spiritual life is a grateful response guided by the Holy Spirit, where the choices we make are not just renunciations to one thing or another, but a creative response that can only come from God’s beloved children. 

From Marko Ivan Rupnik, “Discernment”

Jesus prefers those who wish to remain hidden. When He chose me to be one of his ministers, He found me among sinners.

Joseph De Piro

Questions for reflection

  • In the Gospel we find Mary being a witness to a story so great and at the same time so mysterious that was beyond her immediate comprehension. What story in your life is unfolding right at the moment that might possibly be the Lord’s blessing in disguise? 
  • In a spirit of gratitude Mary recognises that the Lord had chosen her not because of something she did but because she was looked upon with love. What are you most grateful at the moment? What reality in your life represents a memorial of the Lord’s faithfulness?
  • How has God’s love manifested itself most clearly in my life so far? When has His forgiveness shown itself concretely, pulling me out of my darkness and into new life? 
  • Our enemy always tries to distort or rob our memory of the Lord’s love for us. What are those areas in my life which I struggle with because my old self kicks in? What are the moments when I become lethargic and passive, overcome by negativity or hopelessness? 
  • An authentic discernment always leads to choices that treasure and bring to fruition the gift of God’s love. What concrete decisions can I make so that my life better reflects the identity I received in baptism, that of being a child of God? 

Intercessory prayers

  • Heavenly Father, we pray for the gift of your Spirit, that our memory of your love might allow us to become more sensitive to the story of salvation You are writing in our life. Let us pray
  • Give us Lord a listening heart so that pondering your Word we might desire to fight the good fight of the faith, that by your help we may remain faithful to your call. Let us pray
  • Lord we offer you our families and communities, that you might also allow to us to discern together your will for us. Give us the gift of communion so that we might be guided by a sense of care for each other, following your Son together as missionary disciples. Let us pray.
  • Lord we offer you those people we know who are currently faced with important or difficult decisions to take. Renew in them the memory of your love so that the concrete decisions they take may lead them to choose the path that leads to life. Let us pray

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, we praise you because in your mercy and providence you looked upon Jospeh de Piro choosing him to work in your vineyard. We also praise you that you have called us to be missionary disciples of your Son. Give us your Holy Spirit that we may have a listening heart to faithfully discern your will for us, treasuring and pondering in our hearts the mysterious ways in which you are at work in our life. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen