Enthronement of your home to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Photo © SacredHeartApostolate.com
The enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus into the home has been an important Catholic tradition this past century. It is attested as a necessary practice in spiritual warfare as well for growth in holiness.
What is home enthronement?
The enthronement of Jesus in the home is a work of restoring society to Jesus beginning with the family. Jesus is accepted as King and Lord of the home. In doing so, we bring Him into every fiber of our lives. For the Christian family receiving the Eucharist and seeking closeness to Christ, the home becomes an extension of the Eucharistic tabernacle. The two tabernacles are spiritually united to the Heart of Jesus.
St. John Paul II explains “the family, by virtue of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony already participating in the mystery of the unity and love of Christ for the Church, is dedicated to Christ so that he might reign in the hearts of all its members”. However, a home enthronement is not just for traditional families. Single men and women, and single-parent families for whom the parent is in full reconciliation with the Church, may also enthrone their home. Those who are living outside of the married, clerical or religious state must live a chaste life in accord with the five precepts of the Church.
The importance of this, and its spiritual impact, cannot be overstated. Enthronement is a family covenant with the Lord and Savior and public statement of Christ’s reign over your family. A certificate of enthronement is signed by the priest and head of household. However, it is best if each family member also signs the covenant in their own hand. As digital signatures rapidly replace hand-written signatures, this personal attestation of oneself to Jesus’ reign is significant.
The enthronement of the print in the home then is a public proclamation of that covenant with your Lord Jesus Christ. Consider the impact of this upon all visitors to your home, particularly children. It plants seeds for the Holy Spirit to grow, and opens doors for conversations of the faith.
What does it involve?
Enthronement involves (1) preparing a space for the King in your heart and your home (2) a ceremony to bring Him your home under His reign, and (3) living as His people thereafter.
Preparing the home:
The significance of enthronement is that the home becomes a Eucharistic tabernacle joined in union with the living Eucharist received at the mass. Because of this, a place is established within the home for an altar to Christ. The central item on this altar is the Image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; often an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary is also enthroned with Him. The altar can be on a mantel, bookshelf, or special table. As a special, holy place in your home, you may wish to surround Jesus with pictures of family members living and deceased, special sacramentals, small statues, etc. Children might be encouraged to make small pictures or crafts as their own personal contribution to Jesus, their gift to Him.
Choosing the image of Christ:
It is important that the image be an authentic, traditional image of the Sacred Heart. This will have a crown of thorns around His heart, the flame of His Love coming from His heart, and a Cross above the Flame. Per St. John Paull II, “ecclesiastical tradition requires that images conform “to the letter of the Gospel message” (Director, #240[i]).
It should not be a caricature nor a modernistic or abstract interpretation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. That which the image represents is being venerated: Jesus. The saintly pope warned “The primary function of sacred images is not, however, to evince aesthetic pleasure but to dispose towards Mystery. Sometimes, the artistic aspects of an image can assume a disproportionate importance, seeing the image as an “artistic” theme, rather conveying a spiritual message.” (#243) Jesus is a real divine person in union with a true human nature. As attested to in the Gospels, He uses His Sacred humanity to impart His power into the world. The image used for enthronement must be honor this.
Preparing your heart:
Prayer: Perhaps the most important preparation is within your heart. Just as we have the Triduum leading to the Glory of the Easter Resurrection, there are a Triduum of prayers that precede the Enthronement of that same King in the home. A series of prepares over three days are completed together with all members of the household. Pray these slowly, in unison, and let their words sink into your heart. Ponder them as you go about your day, and ask God to enliven you with a deep understanding and fervent desire for Him to reign in your soul and home. The three days of prayers are offered by the Diocese of Bismarck along with other sources for your enthronement: https://www.bismarckdiocese.com/documents/Adult%20Faith%20Formatio/Enthronement_Preparation%20triduum.pdf
Attend mass & receive Confession: The week prior, but preferably the day of your ceremony, receive the sacrament of confession and attend mass for this intention. Offer your mass as an act of love and reparation to the Sacred Heart, and ask specific blessings upon your household and all who attend your ceremony.
This enthronement is an important step for you and your family. It is your desire to live life in Christ in a new, more profound manner. As such, you will want to celebrate with family and friends too! Invite guests, planning for the ceremony to be up 20-30 minutes in length depending upon the materials you choose. Share a meal thereafter and enjoy!
The ceremony itself is typically led by a priest but can be led by the head of household. It begins with an introduction explaining what the enthronement means to you. You might also want to add a traditional hymn to sing. Thereafter are specific prayers to take as given to us by our Holy Mother Church. You will want to follow those prayers and not improvise or write your own. The order is to bless the image and place it in on the altar; this is the formal enthronement. This is followed by the Apostles creed, readings from the Gospel of Luke, and consecration prayers. You may wish to finish with another traditional hymn of praise to Jesus and Mary.
Conduct the ceremony using any one of these recommended services:
- Sacred Heart Legion http://www.sacredheartlegion.com/prayers.htm
- Order an enthronement kit from the National Enthronement Center http://www.sscc-usa.org/pages/ministries/enthronement-of-the-sacred-heart/
- The Marian Catechists, founded by Servant of God John Hardon and under the guidance of His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, provide a book on this devotion with instructions https://mariancatechist.com/product/the-enthronement-of-the-sacred-heart-of-jesus/
- The Sacred Heart Apostolate provides information https://sacredheartapostolate.com/
- Or use the modified ceremony provided here.
Living under Jesus’ reign
Most importantly is to live consciously under the care of Jesus. Our God is not a dictator. He is Love itself: a protector, a provider, a companion in the work, a healer of suffering, a friend with which to celebrate. To aid in living this life with intention:
- Pray your consecration prayer daily, preferably as a family, in front of the altar.
- Offer any sufferings, no matter how small, to God for the conversion of souls.
- You may wish to renew your covenant annually on your consecration anniversary, the Sacred Heart of Jesus Feast Day, or other special occasions.
- Consider praying devotions such as the Rosary together as a family, attending First Friday mass with the intention of reparation for offenses against Jesus, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
- Maintain a state of grace by attending mass on all Sundays and holy days of obligation, receiving the sacrament of confession at least annually, and refraining from mortal sin.
Just as it is important to understand the meaning of enthronement, it is also important to realize what it isn’t: It’s not magic. Hanging a picture of Jesus in the home will not save a failing marriage nor cure addictions or disease. It is the desire in the hearts of the family members united to Jesus’ Sacred Heart that transforms the family over time—the desire to hand your heart to Jesus and ask Him daily to transform it. This permanent submission of your family to the Lordship of Jesus with sincere and contrite hearts will heal all sufferings and unite the family in peace amongst trials.
“As the family assembles night after night to honour the loving Heart of the Word made flesh, the Guardian Angels of that Christian home will hover over its members, and record in the Book of Life each successive act of honour, of love, and of reparation as it speeds heavenwards to reach the throne of the glorified Heart of Jesus.”
(Rev. M. D. Forrest, M.S.C., Catholicpamphlets.Net)
© Debra Black and the Face of Grace Project, all rights reserved. Permission granted to use this material with the following attribution: “Adapted from original courtesy of The Face of Grace Project https://thefaceofgraceproject.com/
[i] St. John Paul II (2001) Congregation for Divine Worship And The Discipline Of The Sacraments: Directory On Popular Piety and The Liturgy. Referenced in paragraph (para #) http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20020513_vers-direttorio_en.html
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