For a parent, there is nothing more humbling than understanding that God has entrusted us with the care of his precious little ones. Nothing in life makes us realize the enormity of our responsibility as well as the reality of our inability as when our newborn is first placed in our arms. It is the most incredible moment and also the scariest moment.
On our wedding day, the priest asks us if we agree to receive children lovingly from God. Of course, we respond with an enthusiastic “yes” but at the time,we don’t really have any idea what we have agreed to. When we become parents, we finally understand what it means to protect our family from physical, emotional, and spiritual harm and how immense is the call to be a domestic church.
By the grace of God, my husband and I have tried to establish a home that is God-centered; a place where our family can come to know and love our Faith so that we can be equipped to discern right from wrong and be ready to take our place in the world.
In our human frailty, we are limited in our ability to protect and prepare our children for their future but regardless of our shortcomings, we knew that we needed to do more. Gird our family for battle. We decided to enthrone the Sacred Heart of Jesus in our family.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart was first communicated by Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque around the year 1672. He promised that families who honour His Sacred Heart will be restored to Him and He will bless and sanctify them. Families who put our Lord first will be strengthened against the worldly forces that seek to destroy them. Every home that exposes and honours the image of His Sacred Heart will be abundant in blessings and salvation will be given to all who continue in their devotion. Those who work for the salvation of souls will be successful if they do the work with a great devotion to the Sacred Heart. Anyone who spreads devotion to His Sacred Heart shall, as He promised St. Margaret Mary, “have their names written in[His] Heart never to be blotted out.” Those who receive Holy Communion worthily for nine consecutive First Fridays will be “grant[ed] the grace of final repentance” and “they shall not die under Its displeasure nor without receiving the sacraments, for [His] Divine Heart will become their secure refuge at that last moment.” Communities who honour Him will be blessed with “the sweet unction of His burning charity” and “He will turn away from them all the strokes of divine justice, in order to restore them to grace when they have fallen from it.”
My husband and I couldn’t ask for anything more for our family so on a recent Saturday evening, with the help of a friend who is a priest, we gathered together at home for the ceremony. Kneeling around our living-room coffee table which had been turned into an altar for the ceremony, we placed a new statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus surrounded by a bouquet of roses and candles. Father and my husband led us in the prayers of reparation, consecration and thanksgiving.
The ceremony and the prayers are beautiful. Here’s an example:
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…
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’…
Jesus told Mother Rafols of the mother house of the Sacred Heart in Saragoza, Spain, that His Sacred Heart is hurt when souls who are consecrated to Him forget, offend and despise Him. God forbid that our family should treat the Lord in that way and so as part of our evening prayer, we pray the short Renewal of the Consecration of the Family.
Enthroning the Sacred Heart is not a guarantee that evil and temptation will not attempt to destroy our family. That would be unrealistic but our hope and confidence lies in the assurance of graces obtained from the Sacred Heart of Jesus; the graces that will give our family what we need to live out our Catholic Faith in a secular world.
June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. If you haven’t already done so, I invite you to enthrone the Sacred Heart of Jesus in your home. You will have the assurance of knowing that, by God’s grace, you have helped to strengthen and protect your family in their walk with God.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, protect our families.