“Jesus then said to the Twelve, ‘Do you also want to leave?’ Peter answered him, ‘Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life’” (John 6:67-68). These words are as relevant today as they were when first spoken, perhaps particularly so now, in light of recent events in the life of the Church.
Remember: Not only does Jesus have the words of eternal life, but he is the Word made flesh — and his most Sacred Heart is the very source of hope and the best respite for us in times of trial.
Cultivating a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the perfect medicine for the troubled culture in which we live. When one dedicates his or her life to the Sacred Heart through enthronement, a floodgate of grace is opened, allowing the words from the Book of Joshua (24:15) — “As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord” — to become more than an abstract ideal but a tacit reality at home.
What Is Enthronement?
As Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey, of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, explained in 1907, “The enthronement is the official and social recognition of the rule of the Sacred Heart of Jesus over the Christian family, a recognition affirmed, outwardly expressed and made permanent by the solemn installation of the image of the divine Heart in a conspicuous place in the home and by the Act of Consecration.”
The practice of enthronement welcomes Christ into one’s home as King, Brother and Friend, and in return, it provides individuals and families with extra graces to navigate the spiritual life and learn how to integrate Christ’s teachings into family life: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).
Father Stash Dailey, the spiritual director of Sacred Heart Columbus, shared in a recent letter to Sacred Heart “missionaries”: “In Egypt, when the Hebrews were under such great pain as that of slavery, the Lord asked for those who are faithful to cover their doorways with the blood of the lamb. In our age, when we are slaves to so much vice and sin, the Lord God asks us to bring his Heart into our homes. Blood on the doorway is no longer enough; we must have his Heart in our homes, in our very own bodies.”
To be clear, the fruits of this devotion are not realized by simply hanging a picture of the Sacred Heart on the wall.
Rather, it is a symbol of a commitment made to honor the Heart of Christ through living out an active sacramental life and by growing in relationship with Jesus. The Lord wants to walk with us in our ordinary moments and join us, much as he did with his earthy friends when he would visit Lazarus, Mary and Martha in Bethany.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart can have a profound impact on individuals and families.
While growing up, I watched two generations of my extended family live out this devotion in their own lives and use it as a road map for living. Personally, after enthroning the Sacred Heart of Jesus in my own home five years ago, my family and I have received many graces and have become increasingly aware of little “miracles” happening daily; and I am not alone in this experience.
Many who have enthroned their homes have reported instances of serious addiction being uncovered and treated, reconciliation between estranged family members, renewal of faith lost, and emotional and physical healing.
Today, there is a growing movement of clergy, religious and laity stepping forward to spread this devotion to the Sacred Heart as members of local chapters. The men and women who serve as missionaries on behalf of this devotion have experienced their own miracles and want to pass this flaming torch of hope to others through promoting enthronement to the Sacred Heart.
Chuck and JoAnn Wilson, the co-founders of Sacred Heart Columbus, believe enthronement is a way to allow God’s grace to enter people’s lives in a new way.
For the enthronement to the Sacred Heart, missionaries typically bring a statue of Our Lady of Fatima to the home while the family prepares for the enthronement.
Said JoAnn, “We bring Mary to remind them that they are preparing for the enthronement, and she always leads us to Jesus.” The missionaries also bring prayer manuals, rosaries and framed images of the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart, which the family members keep in their homes.
Chuck added, “Leading families through the enthronement to the Sacred Heart deepens our faith and reminds us of how much God loves each and every person. I believe this devotion will strengthen not only the family, but the entire Church at large, and is the hope of the Catholic Church.”
The first and largest of these missionary chapters of the Sacred Heart Enthronement Network is in Detroit, Michigan.
The Men of the Sacred Heart, established in 1964, currently has 149 missionaries.
“I am passionate about this devotion because I have witnessed firsthand how the enthronement strengthens the family in an anti-Catholic society and teaches families to pray,” said David Tay, the chapter’s executive director. Tay added, “We don’t only enthrone Jesus in homes, but schools, businesses, parishes and organizations.” The fruit of the labor of these missionaries is evident in the stories shared by those whose lives have been touched by greater devotion to the Sacred Heart.
Recently, the Griffith family decided to enthrone their home in Columbus, Ohio, and they believe it was a significant moment in the life of their family.
“The area where we selected for our enthronement came alive as soon as Our Lady of Fatima rested between the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary,” said Lou Griffith.
“It was enthralling to have our sons participate with us in our celebration. This has truly made our home complete.”
Emily Jaminet, a Catholic author, speaker, radio personality, wife
and mother of seven children,
is the executive director of
The Sacred Heart Enthronement Network and is online
She writes from Columbus, Ohio.
A Time-Tested Devotion
The Sacred Heart devotion is rooted in words Christ revealed to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a 17th-century Visitation nun who endured many difficult ordeals for the love of Jesus. She recounted that Christ asked for her heart and planted it on his heart. He also revealed his great sorrow over the sinfulness of his people and lack of love for God, saying, “Behold this heart, which has loved so much but has received nothing but coldness, indifference and ingratitude in return.”
After these encounters, Margaret Mary’s heart was set on fire for the love of the Sacred Heart, and she began working to spread a devotion to it. Her efforts laid the groundwork for the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which falls each year on the Friday following Pentecost.
Jesus offers all of us an opportunity to receive a “heart transplant” like the one he gave St. Margaret Mary and promises the following for those who venerate and honor his heart:
1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
2. I will give peace in their families.
3. I will console them in all their troubles.
4. They shall find in my Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.
5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
6. Sinners shall find in my Heart an infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
8. Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.
9. I will bless the homes in which the image of my Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored.
10. I will give priests the power to touch the most hardened of hearts.
11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart, and it shall never be effaced.
12. The all-powerful love of my Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, not without receiving their sacraments; my Heart shall be their assured refuge at the last hour.
— Emily Jaminet