Enthronement of the Sacred Heart
according to Father Mateo Crawley-Bœvey
Imprimi Potest: William J. CONDON, SS.CC, Provincial
Nihil Obstat: Vincent DAVIS, SS.CC, Censor Deputatus
Imprimatur: + Patrick A. O’BOYLE, Archbishop of Washington November 30, 1955
Promises of Our Lord to families who honour His Sacred Heart
1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
2. I will establish peace in their families.
3. I will bless every house in which the picture of My Heart shall be exposed and honoured.
4. I will console them in all their difficulties.
5. I will be their refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.
6. I will shed abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.
7. Sinners shall find in My Heart a fountain and boundless ocean of mercy.
8. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
9. Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection.
10. I will give to priests the power of touching the hardest hearts.
11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart never to be blotted out.
12. I promise you, in the excessive mercy of My Heart, that My all-powerful love will grant to all who communicate on the First Friday of the month for nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My displeasure nor without their Sacraments: My Divine Heart shall he their safe refuge in this last moment.
I WILL REIGN THROUGH MY HEART, DESPITE SATAN AND HIS AGENTS!
A letter of Pope Pius XII
To our Beloved Son Mateo Crawley-Boevey,
Priest of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
Beloved Son, Health and Apostolic Benediction.
Now that fifty years soon will have elapsed since that day on which, endowed with the sacerdotal dignity, you offered the Holy Sacrifice for the first time, We do not wish you to be deprived of the felicitations and good wishes of Our Paternal Heart. All the more so, since We have learned that you are presently confined to a hospital, not so much by reason of declining years, but rather because of serious infirmities, and thus are unable to labour with that zealous ardor which was your wont, for the Consecration of Catholic families to the Most Tender Heart of Jesus.
Nevertheless, what you are unable to do by apostolic labours, by apostolic journeys and preachings, you can accomplish undoubtedly by ardent prayers addressed to God, and by sufferings and afflictions cheerfully accepted in a spirit of reparation. That you are doing this with a humble and willing heart We do not doubt, and while We desire to console you in your present illness, yet We also express the wish in your behalf that your strength be restored as soon as possible and that once more you may be permitted to strive earnestly to obtain for this salutary enterprise an ever increasing success.
This undertaking corresponds to Our most cherished desires, as it did to those of Our Predecessors. We long for the return to the private life of men and the public life of peoples of the love of Jesus Christ, which springs from this Divine Heart. In this way alone will it be possible to console the many who are afflicted and in misery, to strengthen the many who are weak and wavering, to arouse effectively the many who are negligent and lukewarm, and finally to induce everyone to the fervent practice of that Christian virtue which gave to the primitive Church its greatest glory, that of sanctity and martyrdom.
Let the Divine Redeemer reign once more in civil society and in family life, by His Law and His Love, and then without any doubt will be rooted out entirely those vices which are the source of human unhappiness and human misery, then without any doubt discord will disappear; then justice – but true justice – will solidify the foundations of human society, and that true liberty “wherewith Christ has made us free” (Gal. IV,31), will enhance the dignity of citizens and will make them brothers.
However, there is one thing We desire in a special way – and which is moreover the principal goal in the Work which you have propagated so long and so diligently – namely, that Christian families consecrate themselves to the Sacred Heart “in such a way that His image being installed in the place of honour in the home, as on a throne, Christ the Lord is seen to reign truly within the Catholic family.” (Bened.XV Epis. Libenter tuas d.d. XXVII Apr. MCMXV; A.A.S.vol.II, p. 203). This consecration is not a useless and empty ceremony, but requires of everyone that their lives be in harmony with Christian precepts, that they burn with an ardent love for the Holy Eucharist, and that they share in the Heavenly Banquet as often as possible; and that they strive by humble prayers addressed to God, and by works of holy penance to provide by all means in their power not only for their own salvation but also for the salvation of others.
These, dear Son, are Our wishes and desires which it please Us to express to you on the occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of your priesthood which you are soon to celebrate, and the fulfilment of which We entrust to the Divine Goodness and Mercy. But in the meantime, as a proof of Our paternal good will and as a pledge of heavenly graces, We impart to you affectionately in the Lord, the Apostolic Blessing.
Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s, the second day of the month of July, in the year nineteen hundred and forty eight, the tenth of Our Pontificate.
PIUS XII, Pope
Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the home
There is one place where the special graces and blessings of the Sacred Heart are needed more than anywhere else. That place is the home.
No one knows this better than the priests who are trying to make the families in their parishes more thoroughly Catholic, or parents struggling to prevent the complete breakdown of Christian family life in their homes, or children worrying about parents who do not practice their religion.
First of all, let us consider the sacred character of the home and its importance in the eyes of our blessed Saviour.
When the Son of God became Man and began His work of saving the world and redeeming it from its sins, He did not at first establish His Church but, instead, founded a home. Before He appointed Peter the fisherman to be the head of His Church, He appointed Joseph the carpenter to be the head of His home.
What a lesson on the importance and grandeur of the home! Think of it – the Saviour of the world spent only 33 years on this earth, yet 30 of them were passed in the humble home at Nazareth. Jesus, infinitely wise, was giving an example for ages to come of the tremendous value of the family in the eyes of God.
Even after our Lord had said farewell to His happy home at Nazareth, He continued to stress by word and example the sacred character of marriage and to show His great love for the home and family life.
He raised matrimony to the dignity of a sacrament. He taught the indissolubility of the married state . He showed sympathy and affection for the members of the family by accepting invitations to visit them and dine with them.
His first public miracle took place in a home at Cana in Galilee on the occasion of the wedding feast of a young couple. He often stayed with Peter in his home and on one occasion restored his mother-in-law to perfect health. He Himself asked that He might stay with Zaccheus in his home. Frequently He visited the home of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary at Bethany. Often He accepted invitations to dine in the homes of the Pharisees despite their jealousy and hatred for Him. On one of these occasions, in the home of Simon, He forgave Mary Magdalene and gave us one of the greatest proofs of His merciful love.
The Sacred Heart and the home
If the divine Redeemer showed such great love for the home during His mortal life, we should expect Him to manifest the same solicitude and affection for the family when He asked St. Margaret Mary for devotion to His Sacred Heart. This, He said, was like a “new redemption,” meaning, of course, that the effects of the Redemption would be renewed through devotion to His Heart.
On several occasions the loving Saviour referred to the home and, in fact, made a specific request and several promises concerning the family. If He did not speak about the family more often at Paray-le-Monial, probably the reason is He presupposed people would know that when He talked about being honoured, loved, consoled, trusted, etc., this was to be done especially in the place where they spent most of their time, in the family circle.
For instance, when He made the promise that “since He is the source of all blessings, He will shower them in abundance in every place where a picture of His divine Heart shall be set up and honoured,” He certainly had the home in mind, for there follows immediately another promise concerned with the home, which specifies the kind of blessings He had in mind: “I will reunite families and will protect and help those who are in necessity and those who approach Me with confidence.”
On another occasion He promised, according to St.Margaret Mary, “that He takes such pleasure in being known, loved, and honoured by His creatures that He promises peace in their families, solace in their labours. He promised that He would reunite families that are divided. . . !”
Again He assured the saint that the most zealous promoters of this devotion “would be recompensed not only in their own persons but also in the persons of their parents and friends.”
It is true that countless families had obeyed our Lord’s request to venerate an image of the Sacred Heart . But this veneration was an incomplete fulfilment of His request that the image be “set up and honoured in public,” for, with some exceptions, the Sacred Heart was honoured in a private way, mostly in the bedroom and not in a public place in the home. Keeping the image of the Sacred Heart out of sight from visitors to the home seemed to symbolize the spirit of the times: the exclusion of our Lord and His teachings from the public and social lives of men.
It was reserved for Father Mateo to organize a true crusade to have all our Lord’s requests carried out in the home. Likewise it was to be his special mission to focus attention on the social significance of devotion to the Sacred Heart and to strive to re-establish the public rule of Christ over nations through the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the home.
Just what is the enthronement?
“The Enthronement is the official and social recognition of the sovereignty 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 that divine Heart in a conspicuous place in the home and by the Act of Consecration.”
From this definition it is at once evident that the Enthronement is not the mere blessing of a picture, nor a mere act of consecration, nor a mere outward and passing ceremony. The Enthronement is all that and a great deal more. By it the members of a family solemnly and officially proclaim and set up in their home the social kingship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Some persons have wrongly supposed that the whole movement of the Enthronement is based on the particular promise of the Sacred Heart to bless the homes where His picture is exposed and honoured; they imagine the work to be out to propagate and diffuse the image of the Sacred Heart in all homes so as to draw down upon them the promised blessing. Consequently these persons consider the Enthronement to be one of those numerous devotions of supererogation, which, no doubt, are all good in themselves, but which, by reason of their multiplicity and often encumbering practices, not rarely produce the contrary effect to that which was intended; they hamper and kill devotion instead of helping and increasing it.
The Enthronement cannot be ranked in the category of the devotions referred to; in fact, it cannot be called a devotion in the ordinary sense of the word. It preaches a life; it holds forth the fundamental principles of our religion and applies them to everyday life. It brings out the loving person of our Divine Lord and associates Him with every detail of home life. It insists not so much on devotion to the Sacred Heart as on the spirit of that devotion. Rather than burden our life with supplementary devotional practices, it transforms life itself, giving to everything we do the soul of divine love. If the Enthronement points to certain practices, for instance, Holy Communion on the First Friday, it takes care to accentuate the motive of love and reparation for which they were asked.
The Enthronement seeks to establish the effective reign of the Sacred Heart in the family and, through the family, in society. It has chosen for its watchword the words of our blessed Lord to St. Margaret Mary: “I will reign by My Sacred Heart.” Its program is the realization of this request which sums up all the desires and demands of the Sacred Heart.
Perhaps the Enthronement can be further explained by a few questions and answers, in the form of a “Catechism on the Enthronement.”
Q. What does the word “enthronement’ mean?
A. The word enthronement means to install on a throne, in recognition of a person’s authority.
Q. What do you mean by “the official and social recognition of the loving Kingship of the Heart of Jesus in a Christian family”?
A. In the ceremony of the Enthronement, the family is considered as the basic unit of society, the social cell, and also as the “nation in miniature”. As such it proclaims Jesus as its King and, as far as it can, as the King of the entire nation. That is why the father, the head of the family, installs the image in the place of honour. It is a public act inasmuch as it is done in a prominent place in the home and not in a private place, such as a bedroom.
Q. Why the installation of the image in the place of honour?
(1) To make reparation for the dethronement of Christ from the first place in everyday family life and in the public life of the nation;
(2) because as King and Friend of the family, Jesus has the right and the desire to be given the best place in the home;
(3) so that the family and visitors will be constantly reminded that Jesus is the King and Head of the home.
Q. Why enthrone the Sacred Heart in the home?
A. Because our Lord asked that His image be singularly honoured in the home. Moreover, it is the home, which is being undermined systematically by its enemies, by the exclusion of Christ from family life. Therefore He must be systematically brought back. Finally the family needs the extraordinary graces promised by the Sacred Heart to those who give Him the place of honour in the home.
Q. Is the Enthronement merely the carrying out of the one request of our Lord, namely, to honour the image of His Sacred Heart?
A. No. According to Father Mateo, the Enthronement “is simply the realization, not of one or the other of the requests made by our Saviour to St. Margaret Mary, but the complete and integral realization of all of them, calling forth the fulfilment of the splendid promises with which the King of Love has enriched them.”
Q. What are the principal requests made by the Sacred Heart?
A. To be acknowledged as a King who rules through love: “The adorable Heart of Jesus wishes:
(1) to establish His reign of love in all hearts” (St. Margaret Mary);
(2) to have the image of His Heart exposed and honoured in a special way in the home;
(3) to have everyone consecrate himself to His Heart;
(4) to make reparation;
(5) to live a life of love and confidence;
(6) to make His Heart better known and loved;
(7) to show greater devotion to the Eucharist;
(8) to celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart and the First Fridays.
Q. Does the Enthronement program include all of these requests?
A. Yes. Numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 are carried out in the ceremony itself, at least in intention and symbolically; numbers 5, 6, 7, and 8 are emphasized in the suggestions for the living of the spirit of the Enthronement.
From this it is easy to see why the Enthronement crusade is much more than an organized attempt to get a Sacred Heart picture or statue in every home. That is important, but Father Mateo insists there is much more to his work than this.
“Is the Enthronement nothing more than the image installed in the place of honour? No, there is more to it than that! Is it perhaps but a beautiful and simple consecration of the family to the Sacred Heart? The consecration is included indeed, but there is much more than that!
The Enthronement is the collective answer of the family to the request and at the same time a reply to those who cry out, “We will not have this Man reign over us!” When the family enthrones the Sacred Heart, they are saying in effect: “Lord, we want Thee to rule over our family, we adore Thee as our King of Love; we accept Thee as our loving Friend, always occupying the first place in our hearts and in our home. Thy kingdom come! Thou must reign, and Thou shalt reign in our home.”
This response of the family to the divine request gives the Sacred Heart an “excuse”, an occasion, as it were, to fulfil His marvelous promises. We might compare the Enthronement to a bi-lateral contract: the family promises and tries to carry out our Lord’s requests, and Jesus, in His turn, promises to keep His pledges; and the wonderful part of it is that He always does, even if He has to work a miracle of grace! And why not? Has He ever broken His word?
“To restore all things in the Sacred Heart, then, no better means could have been found than this providential work of the Enthronement. You do well, dear son, while taking up the cause of human society, to arouse and propagate above all things a Christian spirit in the home by setting up in each family the reign of love of Jesus Christ. And in doing this you are but obeying our divine Lord Himself, who promised to shower His blessings upon the homes wherein an image of His Heart should be exposed and honoured.” (Pope Benedict XV to Father Mateo.)
Nothing is lacking in this work, neither the solid foundation which makes it the best means to establish the reign of the Sacred Heart nor the indispensable external ritual, so important in making an impression on the senses of men, made up as they are of bodies and souls.
Rightly then, and without any exaggeration, St. Pius X could call this enterprise a “work of social salvation” (Acta Pontificia,May 25,1915, p.226 note); and Pope Benedict XV could write to Father Mateo, “Nothing is more suitable to the needs of the present day. . .”
How the King conquered
Before we go any further, it might be a good idea to give an example of a typical Enthronement ceremony and tell what it did in an American family that badly needed the help that the Divine Physician alone can give. I know the family in question and I was able to follow the conquest of its members by the King of Love and Mercy, step by step.
The middle-aged father and mother came to see me one night in Washington, a few years ago. As they began to speak, tears filled their eyes. Here is their story.
“Father, we’ve made a mess out of our family. We don’t know what to do or where to turn. But we were present at an Enthronement in a friend’s home not long ago, and we heard the priest speak about the blessings that come to homes where the Sacred Heart is enthroned. We thought, maybe, that’s what we need. But everything seems so hopeless …”
“Nothing is hopeless when it’s a question of the Sacred Heart,” I reassured them. “He can solve any problem; He is all-powerful. But you have to trust Him blindly. That’s the first condition He always demands before He works His miracles. Now tell me about your family.”
Then began a tale of woe. One of their four daughters had married a Catholic, but the second who had eloped with a non-Catholic had her two children baptized as Lutherans. Her husband was a drunkard and she was at the point of separating from him. The girl was embittered against the Church and was thinking of becoming a Lutheran herself. She openly opposed Catholicism.
The third daughter had married a non-Catholic and was lax in the performance of her duties. The fourth daughter had left home at the age of 16, encouraged by the second daughter. She refused to contact her parents.
“And, Father, worst of all, that second daughter just had a third baby, born on Mother’s Day. The child has a bad heart and is expected to live but a few days. Her mother refuses to have the baby baptized. She will have nothing to do with priests. Father, it’s terrible!”
As I listened, I prayed to the Holy Ghost for the right answer. I made an act of faith, trusting in the Sacred Heart’s promise to back up His priests when they encourage others to trust Him and honour the image of His Heart. I remembered His promise to “reunite families that are divided … to bring peace to families … to change tepidity into fervour… to give graces of sanctification and salvation to homes that singularly honour the image of His Heart.”
“Listen carefully to what I have to tell you,” I said to them. I’m going to give you the answer to this problem. And the answer is not my answer but that of our Lord, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. Whom does He love most? Those who have never offended Him or sinners? He Himself has given the answer: ‘It is not the healthy who need a physician, but they who are sick … for I have come to call sinners, not the just.’ Therefore, there can be no doubt about it, He loves your daughters very much. He wants to help them. But you have to help Him. You admit that you have kept Christ out of your family life by indifference and carelessness. Now make up for that by bringing Him back in with great solemnity . Enthrone Him in your home, and He will come in as the Divine Physician to heal your daughters who are sick.
Now here is what I’m going to ask you to do:
“First, the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart. Make it as beautiful as solemn as possible. Invite relatives and friends – especially your daughters and their husbands; if they don’t want to come, put their photographs around the Sacred Heart. Secondly, make reparation. The Enthronement ceremony is in itself an act of reparation, but there’s no sacrifice in having it. Make a personal sacrifice. I suggest daily Mass and Communion, and Night Adoration together in your home, at least once a month – every week if possible. And, finally, try to get other families to honour and love the Sacred Heart. And do all this with childlike confidence that the Sacred Heart somehow in His own way and in His own good time will reunite your family. At least take my word for it, if you find it hard to believe.”
The mother and father promised they would do all that had been suggested. On Trinity Sunday, May 23, 1948, they had the Enthronement. The daughters refused to come, but their pictures surrounded the Sacred Heart on His throne. The couple started making Night Adoration before the shrine of the Sacred Heart. They spoke to others about it.
Then things started to happen. The baby with the bad heart didn’t die as expected by the doctors. Several times she was rushed to the hospital. Finally death seemed a short time off. The night before, the grandmother pinned a Sacred Heart badge on the baby’s gown. Unexpectedly the baby’s mother, who had been so bitter, called a priest and had her child baptized. Within seconds the baby rallied, and she was brought home nine days later. This was on July 31. She died the following November 22.
The day after the baby’s baptism, there was note on the grandfather’s desk at work stating that the day before a Mass had been offered for those who had contributed to a certain cause in which he had been interested. A post-mortem operation was performed on the baby. The doctors insisted it was a miracle that the child had lived six months. Three days was the limit, generally. The grandfather concluded that the grace of this Mass moved the mother to have the baby baptized.
More things began to happen. On Christmas, 1948, the second daughter received Communion for the first time in eight years. Her Lutheran husband became a Catholic on July 15, 1950. In thanksgiving, they enthroned the Sacred Heart in their home with a large gathering present. The wife is now a daily communicant; her husband receives Communion frequently during the week. He is a member of a laymen’s retreat movement. The children are now in a parochial school, and the family Rosary and the renewal of the consecration to the Sacred Heart are a nightly occurrence. On the front lawn for all the neighbours to see is a beautiful marble statue of the Sacred Heart which was dedicated before a large crowd. Even the boys’ choir from the parish church added to the solemnity.
In the meantime, the other daughters had their marriages validated and have enthroned the Sacred Heart in their homes. All of them are spending much of their spare time calling on neighbours and friends telling them of the blessings that have come to their home through the Sacred Heart and urging them to enthrone Him in their own families.
I was invited to be present at the solemn renewal of the Enthronement in the home of the second daughter. As we drove up to the house, we saw the spotlighted Sacred Heart shrine on the lawn. The living room was jammed with friends and relatives. Happiness was in the air. I spotted the mother and father sitting on the sofa, taking in the happy scene. I couldn’t resist an impulse. Leaning over, I whispered, “I told you so!” Their only answer was to squeeze my hand as tears of joy welled in their eyes. Every one of their girls and husbands were there before them, at peace with God. Yes, Father was right, “The Sacred Heart has never broken His word!”
A typical enthronement ceremony
Have you ever witnessed the impressive ceremony of the Enthronement? If not, let me invite you to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Typical American, who are having the ceremony for the first time.
Mr. T.A. might have heard about it in any one of several ways – at a Holy Name meeting, by reading a magazine article, from a friend passing on the good news, through his student-son’s bringing the word from school, from the priest who preached about it in church, or through his wife. In any case, he is all for it, and tonight’s the big night.
Following the suggestions in the pamphlet, the T.A. family went to Mass and Holy Communion in the morning “for the reign of the Sacred Heart in their home” and as “an act of love and reparation to the Sacred Heart.” They also had a Mass offered for the same intention.
Relatives and friends have been invited, and one of the parish priests has promised to preside.
In the living room, over the fireplace, a “throne” has been prepared, beautifully decorated with flowers and candles. On the throne have been placed photographs of absent loved ones, living and dead. In another part of the room, the image of the Sacred Heart has been placed on a small table with holy water and two lighted candles. The room has already taken on the air of a “little church”.
When all the guests are present and the priest has donned his cassock and surplice and stole, one of the children is allowed to light the candles while another distributes copies of the “ceremonial” to each one present.
With the parents and children standing near, the priest begins the liturgical blessing of the image of the Sacred Heart. Then he invites the head of the house, accompanied by his wife and children, to take the statue and “escort the Sacred Heart to the place of honour in the home.” (Sometimes, while the little procession is taking place, those present sing “To Jesus’ Heart All Burning.”) Arriving at the throne, the Sacred Heart is installed in the place of honour. Then the Apostles’ Creed is recited by all as an act of faith in our Lord’s teachings and in reparation for those families who refuse to accept them or put them into practice.
At this point everyone is seated, while the priest addresses them on the significance of the Enthronement. As you sit back and take in the scene, you cannot help but realize how the Enthronement brings out the sacred character of the home: the home altar with the image of the Sacred Heart surrounded by flowers and candles; the priest vested in surplice and stole; the assembled “congregation” – all make you understand more clearly the oft-repeated words of priests and writers that the home is indeed a “domestic church”.
When the priest has finished, he invites the group to kneel while he and the head of the house recite the official Act of Consecration of the Family to the Sacred Heart. (A plenary indulgence and indulgence of seven years are attached to the recitation of this formula, composed by Father Ladislas, SS.CC, and adopted by the Church for general use.)
Then an Our Father and a Hail Mary are recited for the absent members of the family, living and dead, that all may share in the graces of this occasion. After this, everyone recites the act of thanksgiving composed by Father Mateo.
The next step is a prayer in honour of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Wherever a king is enthroned, there the queen reigns, too. Consequently, in the Enthronement ceremony the Queen of Love is not forgotten, and in honour of her Immaculate Heart the “Hail, Holy Queen” is recited by all. If so desired, at this point an act of consecration of the family to the Immaculate Heart of Mary may be recited and her image installed near that of the Sacred Heart. (As we will explain later, we do not enthrone the Immaculate Heart of Mary – this is an act of adoration reserved for the divine King alone.)
After the ceremony which is concluded with the recitation of ejaculatory prayers, the blessing of the priest, and the signing of the certificate of the Enthronement by all the members of the family and the presiding priest, follows a little family party.
As a further example of what we mean by “living” the Enthronement, let us quote the words of Pope Pius XII. It has been the custom of Pope Pius XII to receive newly wedded couples in private audience and to give them priceless words of encouragement and advice. On many occasions, the Sovereign Pontiff has urged them to enthrone the Sacred Heart in their homes and to live the Enthronement. For example, on June 5, 1940, he said: “It is fitting then, dear Christian husbands and wives, brethren of Jesus, that the image of His Heart ‘which has so loved men’ be exposed and honoured in your homes, like that of the nearest and most loved relation who pours out the treasures of His blessings upon you, your children, and your undertakings. ‘Exposed and honoured,’ that is to say, this image should not only watch over your hours of rest in private chamber but it should be loyally honoured by being hung above the entrance, or in the dining room, or parlour, or in some other frequently used place. ‘Everyone therefore that shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven’ (Matt.10:32).
‘Honoured’ means that at least now and then an attentive hand will place before the precious little statue or modest image of the Sacred Heart a few flowers, or a lighted candle, or even keep a lamp burning there, and that the family will gather round it each evening for a united act of homage, a humble expression of contrition, and a request for a few blessings.
“In a word, the Sacred Heart is duly honoured in a home when He is acknowledged as the King of Love by each and every one … when the Sacred Heart reigns in a family, and surely He has the right to reign everywhere. It is necessary that an atmosphere of faith and piety envelop everyone and everything in that blessed household … In the consecrated family, parents and children feel themselves under the eye of God and are friendly with Him; they are therefore observant of His Commandments and the precepts of His Church. Before the image of the King of heaven, become their earthly Friend and constant Guest, they fearlessly and meritoriously meet all the labours of their daily duties.
“May it be so with you, my dear sons and daughters! Living united with Jesus even in this life, you shall only leave this earth to contemplate eternally the bright and beatific reality of that divine Heart in heaven.”
(Address entitled: The Reign of the Sacred Heart in the Christian Family” – The Holy Father Speaks to Newlyweds, Washington, D.C., p.27-28.)
Living with Jesus
Countless families have grasped one of the basic ideas of the Enthronement: living with Jesus, the loving King, Friend, and Guest of the family, and sharing all family joys and sorrows with Him. For instance, I know a family that never has a birthday party without first laying the presents at the feet of their King and renewing their act of consecration to His Divine Heart. Then they have their party with Jesus as their Guest.
Other families renew their act of consecration on wedding anniversaries, baptismal days, First Communion, and special days. Some have renewed their Enthronement on the occasion of the death of a member of the family. One of these cases occurred in Milwaukee. The father, a devout Catholic, had always insisted that as his children got married, the first thing they were to do in their new home was to enthrone the Sacred Heart. Usually he gave them a Sacred Heart picture as a wedding present. Frequently he told his wife that when he died, before his body left the home the family were to gather around the coffin and renew the Enthronement. So it happened. Despite the grief, the members of the bereaved family gathered around the mortal remains of their father and, as on the day of their Enthronement, before an image of the Sacred Heart surrounded with lighted candles they renewed their consecration to the King and Friend of their home. How significant the words of the consecration sounded at that moment: “Lastly, when the hour of separation will sound and death will plunge our home into mourning, then shall we all and every one of us be resigned to Thy eternal decrees and seek, consolation in the thought that we shall all one day be reunited in heaven, where we shall sing the praises of Thy Sacred Heart for all eternity.”
This family was one of many that have experienced the verification of the promise of the Sacred Heart: “I will be their secure refuge during life and especially at the hour of their death.”
The enthronement, work of merciful love
From the foregoing examples and those contained in the following chapter, it is evident the Enthronement is a powerful means of obtaining the mercy of the Sacred Heart. This is not to be wondered at. The promise of the Sacred Heart that “sinners will find in My Heart a boundless ocean of mercy” is an echo of the gospel message, “I have come for sinners.”
The Enthronement brings into the home the Good Shepherd seeking the lost sheep, the Divine Physician eager to heal the sick, the loving Father embracing and forgiving the prodigal son.
Thus the Enthronement is not a reward for being good, limited to devout and pious Catholic families. Rather it is an effective means of changing tepidity into fervour, indifference into love in families that have been strangers to these virtues.
In this respect, the Enthronement can be compared to the reception of Holy Communion. You do not have to be a saint to receive Communion, but you receive Communion to become a saint. A family enthrones the Sacred Heart in the home not because they are superior to others or outstanding in virtue, but in order to know and love and serve Him better than they have been doing in the past.
Naturally there are certain minimum conditions that must be fulfilled by families who want to have the Enthronement. They must avoid scandal and likewise prevent abuses. What then are the conditions for having the ceremony of the Enthronement?
Three conditions for the enthronement
1. That the marriage be a valid one.
A Catholic couple married outside the Church by a minister or a justice of the peace may not have the Enthronement until the marriage has been rectified by a priest.
2. That at least one of the parents be a practicing Catholic.
Thus if the father is a lapsed Catholic or a non-Catholic, the Enthronement may take place if the mother is a Catholic who practices her faith.
3. The family must have the general intention of doing God’s will.
This means they may be obliged to fulfil certain specific conditions such as giving up a sinful practice before they can have the Enthronement. Of course, to avoid scandal the priest will be the judge as to the proper procedure in these cases.
In the eventuality the Enthronement may not be had, nothing prevents the family from honouring an image of the Sacred Heart in their home or praying to the Sacred Heart. Often this will result in the reception of graces that will effect a change in the spiritual status of the family.
Fulfilling all Our Lord’s requests
It now remains to show how the Enthronement “is the complete realization of all the requests made by the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary,” and therefore most apt to bring about the fulfilment of the marvellous promises of the Sacred Heart.
1. He wishes to enkindle die flame of love in a world grown cold by the burning love of His Heart. “What the work seeks to set up in every home is nothing but the pure, simple, and frank devotion to the Sacred Heart” (Cardinal Billot).
2. Through this devotion, Jesus wants to bring about the reign of His Sacred Heart. “I will reign through My Heart.” “The Enthronement is the solemn, social recognition of this reign” (Father Mateo).
“He wishes to enter the homes of princes and kings with pomp and magnificence” (St. Margaret Mary). The Enthronement has taken place in the palaces of kings and princes (Luxembourg, Spain, Austria); entire countries have enthroned the Sacred Heart (Spain, Colombia, and others) and this has resulted from the widespread practice of enthroning the Sacred Heart in the homes of these nations.
3. He asks that the image of His Heart be exposed and singularly honoured. This is one of the essential characteristics of the Enthronement.
4. He wishes the consecration of individuals, families, and nations to His Heart. This is why we add the consecration to the Enthronement.
5. He asks for the Feast of the Sacred Heart as a day of Eucharistic reparation. From the very beginning, Father Mateo has strongly urged the solemn celebration of this feast on Friday, not only in church but also in the family circle – and this on Friday, the day our Lord specified.
6. He asks for special Eucharistic practices. The Enthronement encourages and helps families to make the First Fridays, Communions of reparation, and Holy Hours.
7. He asks that His friends become apostles of the Sacred Heart, to extend His reign. As a result of the Enthronement crusade there is hardly a point on the globe where the Social Reign of the Sacred Heart is not being promoted and proclaimed.
Therefore, it is safe to conclude with Father Mateo that “the Enthronement is the realization of all the requests made by our Saviour to St. Margaret Mary, calling forth the fulfilment of the splendid promises with which the King of Love has enriched them” (Jesus the King of Love, p.3).
Ceremonials for the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the home
Before the Ceremony
Prepare for the Enthronement:
1. Learn what it is and how important it is.
2. Set a date for the Enthronement in agreement with the pastor. It is desirable to have a priest preside at the ceremony, but it is not essential to gain the indulgences. For serious reasons, the father or someone else may preside and lead the prayers. In any case, please consult your parish priest.
3. If possible have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered that morning for the reign of the Sacred Heart in your home and as an act of love and reparation to the Sacred Heart. The entire family should try to receive Communion in this Mass or another Mass.
4. Obtain as beautiful a picture or statue of the Sacred Heart as possible. If you already have a picture or statue, use that one.
5. Below the place of honour reserved for the statue or picture, prepare a “throne” or “altar”, that is, a table (or perhaps the mantelpiece), covered with a white cloth, beautifully decorated with flowers and candles. The picture or statue should be placed on a small table near this “throne” before the ceremony.
6. Invite your relatives and friends to be present; thus you will already begin to be an “apostle of the Sacred Heart”. Have a family party after the ceremony, with a special treat for children who – even the smallest – should, of course, be present at the ceremony.
7. Make this day one of the outstanding events of the family life – one long to be remembered. The greater the solemnity, the better.
Note: Even though your home has been consecrated to the Sacred Heart, you may still have the Enthronement, as the two are not the same.
1. All gather around the image of the Sacred Heart; father, mother, and children nearest to the priest.
2. The priest, in surplice and white stole, blesses the image. (If the priest is not present, have the image blessed beforehand.)
The Blessing of the Picture or Statue
V. Adjutorium nostrum in V. Our help is in the name of nomine Domini. the Lord.
R. Qui fecit coelum et terram. R. Who hath made heaven and earth.
V. Dominus vobiscum. V. The Lord be with you.
R. Et cum spiritu tuo. R. And with thy spirit.
Oremus. Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui Sanctorum tuorum imagines pingi non reprobas, ut quoties illas ocuiis corporis intuemur, toties eorum actus et sanctitatem ad imitandum memoriae ocuiis meditemur, hanc quaesumus, imaginem in honorem et memoriam Sacratissimi Cordis Unigeniti Filii tui Domini Nostri Jesu Christi adaptatam bene + dicere et sancti + ficare digneris; et praesta ut quicumque coram ilia, Cor Sacratissimum Unigeniti Filii tui suppliciter colere et honorare studuerit, illius meritis et obtentu a te gratiam in praesenti, et aeternam gloriam obtineat in futurum. Per Christum Dominum nostrum Amen.
(Let us pray. Almighty and everlasting God, who dost approve the painting and sculpturing of the images of Thy saints, so that as often as we gaze upon them we are reminded to imitate their deeds and sanctity, vouchsafe, we implore Thee, to bless and sanctify this image made in honour and in memory of the most Sacred Heart of Thy only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ; and grant, that whosoever, in its presence will suppliantly worship and honour the most Sacred Heart of Thy only-begotten Son, may obtain through His merits and intercession grace in this life and everlasting glory in the world to come. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.)
(The priest here sprinkles the image with holy water.)
3. Then the father (or in his absence, the mother or some other member of the family) enthrones the image of the Sacred Heart in the place of honour. This is the symbolic act of Enthronement.
4. All stand while the Apostles’ Creed is recited as an act of faith on the part of the family.
5. Everyone is seated while the priest addresses a few words to those present, reminding the members of the family of what the Sacred Heart expects from families which have acknowledged Him as King; recalling the magnificent promises of the Sacred Heart; urging the family to live its Enthronement and frequently to renew the act of consecration which they are about to make.
6. All kneel while the priest and the father (or the father alone, or his representative) recite the official Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart.
Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart
(Recited by the priest and the father together, or the father alone – or his representative – if the priest is absent. This formula is required for the indulgences and may not be changed.)
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, / who didst make known to St. Margaret Mary Thine ardent desire to reign over Christian families, / behold us assembled here today / to proclaim Thine absolute dominion over our home.
Henceforth we purpose to lead a life like unto Thine / so that amongst us may flourish the virtues / for which Thou didst promise peace on earth, / and for this end / we will banish from our midst / the spirit of the world which Thou dost abhor so much.
Thou wilt reign over our understanding / by the simplicity of our faith. Thou wilt reign over our hearts / by an ardent love for Thee; / and may the flame of this love / be ever kept burning in our hearts / by the frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist.
Deign, O Divine Heart, / to preside over our meetings, / to bless our undertakings both spiritual and temporal, / to banish all worry and care, / to sanctify our joys / and soothe our sorrows. / If any of us / should ever have the misfortune to grieve Thy Sacred Heart, / remind him of Thy goodness and mercy / toward the repentant sinner.
Lastly / when the hour of separation will sound / and death will plunge our home into mourning, / then shall we all and every one of us / be resigned to Thy eternal decrees, / and seek consolation in the thought / that we shall one day be reunited in heaven, / where we shall sing the praises and blessings of Thy Sacred Heart / for all eternity.
May the Immaculate Heart of Mary / and the glorious Patriarch St. Joseph / offer Thee this our consecration / and remind us of the same / all the days of our life.
Glory to the Divine Heart of Jesus, / our King and our Father!
7. The priest here asks those present to say one Our Father and Hail Mary for all the absent members, both living and dead, so that all may share in the graces of the Enthronement.
8. All recite with the priest (or head of the family) the following:
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Glory be to Thee, / O Sacred Heart of Jesus, / for the infinite mercy / Thou hast bestowed / upon the privileged members of this family. / Thou hast chosen it / from thousands of others, / as a recipient of Thy love / and a sanctuary of reparation / wherein Thy most loving Heart / shall find consolation / for the ingratitude of men. / How great, O Lord Jesus, / is the confusion / of this portion of Thy faithful flock / as we accept the unmerited honour / of seeing Thee preside over our family! / Silently we adore Thee, overjoyed to see Thee sharing / under the same roof / the toils, cares, and joys/of Thy innocent children! / It is true/we are not worthy / that Thou shouldst enter our humble abode, / but Thou hast already reassured us, / when Thou didst reveal Thy Sacred Heart to us, / teaching us to find in the wound of Thy Sacred Side / the source of grace and life everlasting. / In this loving and trusting spirit / we give ourselves to Thee, / Thou who art unchanging Life. / Remain with us, Most Sacred Heart, / for we feel an irresistible desire / to love Thee and make Thee loved.
May our home be for Thee / a haven as sweet as that of Bethany, / where Thou canst find rest / in the midst of loving friends, / who like Mary / have chosen the better part / in the loving intimacy of Thy Heart! / May this home be for Thee, / O beloved Saviour, / a humble but hospitable refuge / during the exile / imposed on Thee by Thine enemies.
Come then, Lord Jesus, come, / for here as at Nazareth, / we have a tender love / for the Virgin Mary / Thy sweet Mother / whom Thou hast given us to be our Mother. / Come, / to fill with Thy sweet presence the vacancies / which misfortune and death / have wrought in our midst.
O most faithful Friend, / hadst Thou been here / in the midst of sorrow, / our tears would have been less bitter; / the comforting balm of peace / would then have soothed these hidden wounds, / which are known to Thee alone. / Come, for even now perhaps, / there is drawing near for us / the twilight of tribulation, / and the decline of the passing days / of our youth and our illusions. / Stay with us, / for already it is late, / and a perverted world / seeks to envelop us / in the darkness of its denials / while we wish to adhere to Thee / who alone art the Way / the Truth / and the Life. / Repeat for us those words / Thou didst utter of old: / “This day I must abide in this home.”
Yes, dear Lord, / take up Thy abode with us, / so that we may live in Thy love / and in Thy presence, / we who proclaim Thee as our King / and wish no other! / May Thy triumphant Heart, O Jesus, / be forever loved, / blessed, / and glorified / in this home! / Thy Kingdom come! Amen.
9. (All stand) To thank the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the grace of the Enthronement, and to proclaim this loving Mother as the Queen of the home, all recite the Hail, Holy Queen. If so desired, an Act of Consecration to the Heart of Mary may be added, and her image may be installed near the Sacred Heart.
10. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus: Have mercy on us! (3 times)
Immaculate Heart of Mary: Pray for us.
St. Joseph: Pray for us.
St. Margaret Mary: Pray for us.
(All) Glory to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus forever and ever! Amen.
11. The priest gives his blessing: Benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, descendat super vos et maneat semper. Amen. - May the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, descend upon you and remain forever. Amen.
12. Then the members of the family and the priest sign the certificate of the Enthronement, which should be framed and hung near the image of the Sacred Heart or kept in the family archives.
13. Then are announced the following indulgences to be gained by the members of the family (Raccolta 1943, page 536):
1. A plenary indulgence under the usual conditions, on the day of die Enthronement.
2. An indulgence of seven years for all the members of the family who, at least contrite of heart, assist at the ceremony of the Enthronement in their home.
3. An indulgence of three years – once a year, on the day they renew their official act of consecration before the likeness of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
4. A plenary indulgence on the same day under the usual conditions.
5. Note: The CEREMONY of the Enthronement is only the beginning: The following practices of devotion will help you LIVE the Enthrone-ment.
This is the TRUE reign of the Sacred Heart in your family.
Suggested Practices of Devotion
1. Frequent and even daily attendance at Mass by at least one member of the family, and Communion of reparation. Recite the “Mass of St. John” during the day.
2. Observance of the First Friday of each month. (Holy Mass, Communion of reparation [at least spiritual communion if no traditional mass near your home], renewal of act of consecration before enthroned image.)
3. Daily family Rosary before the enthroned image of the Sacred Heart, with renewal of the short act of consecration.
4. Celebration of the Feast of the Sacred Heart by the entire family: attendance at Mass, Communion for the extension of the reign of the Sacred Heart through the Enthronement; family gathering and celebration at home, with renewal of Enthronement; special party for the children.
5. Observe the month of June, the month of the Sacred Heart; keep flowers before the “throne”. Mass and Communion as often as possible.
6. Assist at Holy Hour in church (if there is a true traditional church or chapel near your home. If not: the holy hour can be made at home).
7. Night Adoration in the home. Any hour between 9 and 6, by any one or all the members of the family at least once a month.
8. Celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on the 22nd of August. Mass, Communion, consecration of family to the Immaculate Heart.
9. Make the five First Saturdays in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and for the conversion of Russia; holy Mass and Communion of reparation (at least spiritual communion if no traditional mass near yur home); five decades of the Rosary plus a fifteen-minute meditation on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary. The Rosary and meditation may be carried out at any hour on the First Saturday, a sermon in church will satisfy the obligation of the meditation.
10. Practice devotion to the Holy Ghost. Recite “Chaplet of the Holy Ghost.”
Special occasions on which the family should renew the Act of Consecration
(Prayer of Thanksgiving may be added)
1. Feast of Sacred Heart; Christ the King.
2. Anniversary of the Enthronement
3. Anniversary of parents and children.
4. At births; after baptism in the church; consecrate the children to the Sacred Heart before the “throne” in the home.
5. At First Communion: Prepare the children before the image of the Sacred Heart in the home. When they return from church, let the children renew the act of consecration made for them by parents at birth.
6. Before a departure from home: To join the armed services, enter a convent or seminary, before marriage, etc.
7. On the return of an absent member of family.
8. On days of great family joys, in times of sorrow, sickness, and death.
Note: There is no more appropriate way for a young couple to begin their married life than to enthrone the Sacred Heart in their new home.
ACTS BY WHICH TO UNITE ONESELF TO THE HEART OF JESUS PRAYING IN THE GARDEN OF OLIVES
Heart of Jesus, praying for those who are at this hour sinning against Thee, I unite myself to Thee.
Heart of Jesus, praying for all tried and tempted souls, I unite myself to Thee.
Heart of Jesus, praying for all Thy holy pontiffs and priests until the end of time, that their “faith may not fail,” I unite myself to Thee.
Heart of Jesus, praying for every afflicted and sorrow-stricken soul, and enduring their sorrows in Thyself, I unite myself to Thee.
Heart of Jesus, uttering Thy loving fiat to every grief Thou shouldst bear for man’s salvation, I unite myself to Thee.
By the fear Thou didst will to endure for us, sanctify our fears of suffering, of death, and of judgment, O Sacred Heart.
By Thy sadness even unto death, – have pity on the souls who are now bowed down with sorrow, and give them grace to say in union with Thee: “My Father, if this chalice may not pass from Me, Thy will, not Mine, be done.”
By Thy thrice-repeated prayer, O Heart of Jesus, give us grace to persevere in prayer amidst our sorrows and temptations.
O Jesus, whose Heart was sick unto death at the vision of the sins which would be committed until the end of time, make known to us all the malice of sin and give us an ever-increasing horror of it for Thy sake.
O Jesus, sweating blood in Thy mortal anguish; may we resist even unto the shedding of our blood rather than ever willfully sin against Thee.
O sorrow of the Heart of Jesus in Gethsemane, I will never forget Thee.
O prayer of the Heart of Jesus in Gethsemane, I will never forget Thee.
O agony of the Heart of Jesus in Gethsemane, I will never forget Thee.
O sweat of blood of Jesus, in Gethsemane, I will never forget Thee. For Thy boundless sorrows, O Heart of Jesus, I desire to console Thee.
For the shame Thou didst feel at the sins of the world which were laid upon Thee, O Jesus, I desire to console Thee.
For the cruel betrayal of Judas which closed this hour of agony, O Heart of my Jesus, I desire to console Thee.
For all the outrages Thou didst receive during this night of Thy Passion, and for the renewal of them now by so many souls through-out the world, O my Jesus, I desire to console Thee.
TO JESUS’ HEART, ALL BURNING
To Jesus’Heart all burning
With fervent love for men,
My heart with fondest yearning
Shall raise the joyful strain.
While ages course along
Blest be with loudest song,
The Sacred Heart of Jesus
By ev’ry heart and tongue,
The Sacred Heart of Jesus
By ev’ry heart and tongue.
O Heart for me on fire
With love no man can speak,
My yet untold desire,
God gives me for Thy sake. Refrain.
Too true I have forsaken
Thy flock by wilful sin,
Yet now let me be taken
Back to Thy fold again. Refrain.
Thy praises we sing.
Who reignest in splendour
With Jesus our King.
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria !
Ave, Ave, Ave Maria !
In Heaven the Blessed,
Thy glory proclaim,
On earth we, thy cildren
Invoke thy fair name. Refrain.
Thy name is our power,
Thy virtues our light,
Thy love is our comfort,
Thy pleading our might. Refrain.
We pray for our Mother
The Church upon earth ;
And bless dearest Lady,
The land of our birth. Refrain.
HAIL, HOLY QUEEN
Hail, Holy Queen enthroned above,
O Maria, Hail Mother of Mercy and of love, O Maria.
Triumph all ye Cherubim,
Sing with us ye Seraphim,
Heav’n and earth
Resound the hymn :
Salve, Salve, Salve Regina.
Our life, our sweetness here below,
Our hope in sorrow and in woe, Ô Maria. (Refrain).