Traditionally, the month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart and the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is celebrated on the Friday of the octave of Corpus Christi. In 2013, it falls on June 7th, which also happens to be the first Friday of the month, and as devotees of the Sacred Heart well know, gives an extra-special significance to the devotion this year.
Devotion rendered specifically to the wounded Heart of Jesus dates to the 11th and 12th centuries as practiced in the Benedictan and Cistercian monasteries. However, it is the Visitandine Sister, Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, who is the most significant source of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the form known and practiced today.
It was through a series of visions between 1673 and 1675, that Christ revealed to the saint that He wished her to spread devotion to His Sacred Heart. During His first apparition, Our Lord revealed His Sacred Heart, declaring, “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.” It was during His fourth apparition that Our Lord instructed Saint Margaret Mary in the devotion that was to become known as the Nine First Fridays and Holy Hour and was when He asked for a feast of reparation on the Friday of the octave of Corpus Christi. With the support of her community’s confessor, Saint Claude de la Colombiere, S.J., propagation for the new devotion was entrusted to the Visitation religious and the priests of the Society of Jesus.
Associated with the devotion to the Sacred Heart are 12 promises made by Jesus to Saint 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.” (EWTN)
Our Lord has promised that the home which venerates His Sacred Heart will be blessed. What better antidote to offer for the sacrilege and irreverence cast upon His Heart than to seek His blessing by lovingly enthroning His Most Sacred Heart in our home? Not only is enthroning the Sacred Heart a balm to offer the wounded Heart of Jesus, it also serves as a consolation for families for the increasingly difficult times in which we live.
The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus serves as a reminder that God is with us always and that Jesus wants to be part of our family as its dearest, closest friend. It serves as a visual reminder that we make the Sacred Heart the center of our lives, inviting Jesus to be right there in the middle of our family, sharing with Him life’s ups and downs. All we have to do is open our heart and home to Jesus and He will take care of the rest.
My family enthroned the Sacred Heart in our home, as my father especially had a deep devotion to the Sacred Heart. At the time, I was a child of about seven, but I clearly remember what a wonderfully festive day it was, starting with Holy Mass in the morning. My mother chose a lovely, delicate crocheted doily (made by my late paternal grandmother) and placed it in the center on the top of a cabinet in our den, as this was the central spot of daily life in our house. She then placed our beautiful statue of the Sacred Heart on the doily, with its lacy edges peeking out around the base of the statue. She arranged four white taper candles, two on either side of the statue, as well as a lovely bouquet of flowers from the garden just in front of the statue. She also included each of our individual rosaries.
Our priest came to conduct the enthronement and friends and neighbors were invited. Everyone gathered around the statue of the Sacred Heart, which at this point was waiting on another tabletop. Father began with the blessing of the statue, then, my dad stepped forward and set it in the place of honor – the enthronement. I remember prayers being said and Father speaking a few words. Then, everyone knelt as Father recited prayers – Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. My dad joined Father in reciting Act of Consecration by Family to the Sacred Heart, after which everyone joined in praying a Pater Noster and Ave Maria. Additional prayers followed including the Salve Regina and Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Father gave his final blessing and the enthronement was complete. Then all present joyfully celebrated the King of kings becoming the center of our home life. It was in this central spot that as a family we would pray our daily prayers, including the Holy Rosary for many years to come. Sadly, our lovely old Sacred Heart statue suffered irreparable damage in a 1971 earthquake; however, it was quickly replaced with another.
In the ensuing years, our home was indeed blessed and family life was happy, filled with love and peace. I give complete credit for those blessings to the fact that we lived in the company of Sacred Heart. Today, reflecting on the enthronement and these many subsequent years, I can see how Our Lord’s promises manifested in our lives, most importantly in the grace-filled and peaceful deaths with which both my parents were blessed.
I am so grateful that my parents, especially my dad, early on fostered and encouraged my own growing devotion to the Sacred Heart. Thanks Dad… I am confident your name was long ago written on His Heart just as He promised and that is exactly where you now rest.
Consider celebrating this beautiful old tradition of enthroning the Sacred Heart in your heart and home. Think of the blessings to be showered on your family when you live in the company of the Sacred Heart!
…and what better time to invite Him into your heart, your home, your life than during the month of June – the month of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus?