Gospel means “ Good News”. We only have to reflect on the words of Jesus to know how true this is. When Jesus said, “If you, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him” (Matt. 7:11), and “Whoever gives you a cup of cold water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward ” (Mk 9: 41). He taught us how good God is, how much he cares for us and loves us and how he looks for the good that we do in order to reward us. Over and over again Jesus spoke words like these to his disciples.
Centuries later in revelations to St. Margaret Mary, a Visitation nun in Paray-le-Monial, France, Jesus showed his Divine Heart as a furnace burning with love for all people and revealed how much he wanted people to appreciate and understand his great love. Just as he did in his earthly life, Jesus made promise. Like the promises in scripture, these promises are contingent on the beneficiaries’ obedience to God’s will. One of the promises was that people who remember his presence in their families; honor him by responding to his love, and display an image of his Sacred Heart in their homes would be blessed. Here it is well to recall that the purpose of devotion to the Sacred Heart is not primarily to obtain the blessings promised in private revelation but rather to grow in love of God and neighbor.
Two centuries later, a priest of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, who was very much influenced by the spirituality of his community, reflected on the love of the heart of Christ for all people and Jesus’ request for families to honor him. He was inspired to establish a plan to win the world for Christ family by family. The priest’s name was Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey. He was born in Peru and lived in Chile. The means he employed to win the world for Christ was called the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the Home.
The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the Home is both a recommitment to a Christian way of life and a simple ceremony or ritual which signifies this commitment. The family proclaims that God who is present everywhere in this universe is personally present in the home and among family members. This public profession of faith and adoration is made to God whose love and compassion are manifested in a special way in the pierced heart of Christ. It is ratified by placing an image of the heart of Christ in a place of honor in the home and by a covenant or act of consecration by which the family members make a collective commitment to live out their baptismal promises to the best of their ability. The covenant, or return of love to God, is lived in everyday life by love of neighbor – beginning with family members – and cooperation in bringing about the reign of God. The commitment to loving God and caring for one another is celebrated in the Eucharist.
The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the Home is a recommitment of the whole family to Christ and is a source of strength and blessing for the family. It reminds parents of God’s love and care for them, and calls them to assume their Christian responsibility for one another, their children and the wider community. It places a strong emphasis on Eucharistic spirituality and forms families to participate in liturgical prayer. With its emphasis on the social reign of the Sacred Heart it encourages family members to become a leaven in our society, bring the message of Christ’s love to others and work to bring about a just and peaceful world. The Enthronement may take place not only in two parent families, but also in single parent families and in the homes of single and elderly people who live alone.
The apostolate of the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the Home is entrusted to the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. With the participation of Diocesan Centers, Men of the Sacred Hearts, the Legion of Mary and the help of many zealous lay people, religious and priests, the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts in the United States is privileged to promotes this apostolate which brings about the sanctification of homes and many blessings for families. Information on the Enthronement and a catalog of available material may be obtained from the National Center of the Enthronement, Box 111, Fairhaven, MA 02719-0111.
Fr. Columban Crotty, SS.CC.