June is the traditional month dedicated to the Sacred Heart, and the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the Friday following the Second Sunday after Pentecost. This year it falls on June 15. What better time to enthrone the Sacred Heart of Jesus as King of yourself, your home and your family?
“Our Lord himself has provided us with a most wonderful way to welcome him into our homes,” wrote Cardinal Burke to his flock in 2004, when he was archbishop of St. Louis.
Jesus was welcomed by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, to whom he appeared at her convent in Paray-le-Monial, France, from 1673 to 1675. He revealed his Sacred Heart to her, as depicted in statues and paintings. In one of the 12 promises (see sidebar below) he made to her for us, he said: “I will bless every place where an image of my Sacred Heart will be exposed and honored.”
When Jesus revealed his Sacred Heart, he also told St. Margaret Mary: “Behold this Heart which has so loved men that it spared nothing, even going so far as to exhaust and consume itself, to prove to them its love. And in return I receive from the greater part of men nothing but ingratitude, by the contempt, irreverence, sacrileges and coldness with which they treat me in this sacrament of love.”
The antidote to this ingratitude is devotion to the Sacred Heart. In 1907, Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary was inspired to establish the enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to win homes and the world for Christ. Pope St. Pius X himself commissioned the enthronement, saying: “To save the family is to save society. The work you are undertaking is a work of social salvation.”
“The enthronement of the Sacred Heart is a remedy for the times we’re living in, the remedy against this culture of death,” says Gloria Anson, founder and president of the Sacred Heart Apostolate, Inc., in Syracuse, N.Y., which grew out of, and is closely associated with, the National Enthronement Center of Father Crawley-Boevey’s Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Fairhaven, Mass. “And the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus helps us to call to mind that God is with us. And this is what families need to know today.”
As Cardinal Burke also wrote, the enthronement links “the tabernacle of our parish church to our home, inviting Our Lord to be our constant and most intimate companion. The enthronement is a way of life. It means that Christ is King of our hearts and we desire him to be present with us always.”
“That’s it in a nutshell,” agrees Donald St. Gelais, the manager of the National Enthronement Center. “Jesus wants to be there to be part of our family and be our best friend.” For the last 33 years, St. Gelais has been part of the Men of the Sacred Hearts, a group that conducts enthronements 52 weeks a year in homes of those who request it.
Families are changed by making the Sacred Heart the center of their homes. After years of separation, one family reconciled, according to St. Gelais. Other parents have gained better relationships with their children. “All you have to do,” St. Gelais says, “is open the doors of your home and your heart to Jesus, and he works miracles in our families.”
During a parish mission in Tallahassee, Fla., in 1999, Anson and Father William Gaffney, who is also from the Sacred Heart Apostolate, were invited to enthrone the Sacred Heart in the home of Kevin and Ann McGlynn and their five children. The family had always been close to the faith, but the enthronement helped the family’s faith grow.
The McGlynns enthroned the image of the Sacred Heart on the mantle in their living room. “Everyone understood Jesus was our King and friend, and we put our concerns in his hands,” says Ann. “The family came together in a strong way that became a bond for us.”
The image enthroned “is important because it’s a visual sign for where Christ fits in our house, and that’s the center of our house,” adds Kevin. “You come into the room, and it says where our family’s heart is. In a real and visible way, it brings Christ into the home, so it makes the home a domestic church. You acknowledge Christ as a friend and as King of the family.”
“It’s not the Eucharistic presence of Jesus like in a church, but a spiritual presence,” Ann says. “Jesus is right there, invited in family life and all the celebrations.”
Indeed, Cardinal Burke wrote, “The whole meaning of the devotion is to extend the grace of the Eucharist into the Christian home and from the Christian home to the whole world.”
“If there is reverence for Jesus in the home, that carries over to Jesus in the Eucharist,” observes Anson. She has seen people become daily communicants. Enthronement and consecration to the Sacred Heart go together hand-in-hand with consecration and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The Church purposely celebrates the feast of the Immaculate Heart the day after the feast of the Sacred Heart. “The heart that resembles that of Christ more than any other is without a doubt the Heart of Mary, his Immaculate Mother; and for this very reason, the liturgy holds them up together for our veneration,” said Pope Benedict XVI in a 2005 Angelus address.
Blessed John Paul II also put both together.
“Through Mary we go to Jesus. It’s that simple,” explains Father Gaffney. “She knows her Son better than we do. She’s his mother. She will lead us right into the Heart of Jesus.”
Joseph Pronechen is the Register’s staff writer.
For information and material, contact the National Enthronement Center: Call (508) 999-2680, email NECenter@juno.com or visit SSCC.org. The Sacred Heart Apostolate can be reached at (315) 492-6308 or SacredHeartApostolate.com.
Enthronement Steps The enthronement is not complicated, but requires some reverential preparation, with its three principal parts: study, prayer and practical arrangements.
• Contact the National Enthronement Center and the Sacred Heart Apostolate for materials such as the enthronement ceremonial booklet in different languages, enthronement kit, enthronement certificates, images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and books on the devotion. EWTN.com also has a host of devotional resources (see below).
• Pray and meditate on the suggested prayers, especially the three decades of the Rosary for the three-day preparation. There is a week’s preparation as well.
• Obtain an image of the Sacred Heart, whether a painting, print, statue or icon.
• Prepare the throne by choosing a central, prominent place in your home, with accompanying sacramentals, such as a Bible, rosary, flowers, candles, photos of family members who are present and absent and prayer intentions.
• Have a priest, deacon or the father/head of the household conduct the enthronement. Invite family, friends and neighbors to attend.
• Then celebrate the King coming into your home.
— Joseph Pronechen
Sacred Heart Enthronement Prayer
Father: Almighty and Eternal Father: We, the (fill in name) family (then each member of the family says his/her first name, beginning with the father), consecrate ourselves and our home to the Sacred Heart of your only begotten Son, who loves us with a tender and everlasting love. May we return this love as he comes into the midst of our family, to live and share our lives in a special way from this day on. We accept you, divine Heart of Jesus, as a living member of this family. Stay with us Lord. Sanctify our joys, and comfort us in all our sorrows. May your Holy Spirit inspire each of us so that we may continually be aware of your special presence among us, especially in one another. Help us, through this consecration, to have a deep and loving respect for one another, so that we may daily live this consecration in our family life. Let our love go beyond our home into this world, so that we may do our part to win other families to your Sacred Heart, thus helping to form a real community among the families of this parish and of the whole world.
All: Sacred Heart of Jesus, we love you. Sacred Heart of Jesus, thy Kingdom come! Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us. Glory to the Sacred Heart of Jesus forever and ever! Amen.
12 Promises of Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary for Souls Devoted to His Sacred Heart
1. “I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.”
2. “I will establish peace in their homes.”
3. “I will comfort them in all their afflictions.”
4. “I will be their secure refuge during life and, above all, in death.”
5. “I will bestow a large blessing upon all their undertakings.”
6. “Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and the infinite ocean of mercy.”
7. “Tepid souls shall grow fervent.”
8. “Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.”
9. “I will bless every place where a picture of my Heart shall be set up and honored.”
10. “I will give to priests the gifts of touching the most hardened hearts.”
11. “Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart, never to be effaced.”
12. “I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in my disgrace nor without receiving their sacraments; my divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.”
Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, to thee I consecrate and offer up my person and my life, my actions, trials and sufferings, that my entire being may henceforth only be employed in loving, honoring and glorifying thee. This is my irrevocable will, to belong entirely to thee and to do all for thy love, renouncing with my whole heart all that can displease thee. I take thee, O Sacred Heart, for the sole object of my love, the protection of my life, the pledge of my salvation, the remedy of my frailty and inconstancy, the reparation for all the defects of my life and my secure refuge at the hour of my death. Be thou, O Most Merciful Heart, my justification before God thy Father, and screen me from his anger, which I have so justly merited. I fear all from my own weakness and malice, but placing my entire confidence in thee, O Heart of love, I hope all from thine infinite goodness. Annihilate in me all that can displease or resist thee. Imprint thy pure love so deeply in my heart that I may never forget thee or be separated from thee. I beseech thee, through thine infinite goodness, grant that my name be engraved upon thy Heart; for in this I place all my happiness and all my glory, to live and to die as one of thy devoted servants. Amen.