Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the Home
 Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur: 1962


What Does "Enthronement" Mean?

The ENTHRONEMENT of the Sacred Heart means [in the words of Father Mateo] the Official and Social recognition of the loving Kingship of the Heart of Jesus in the Christian family. The family shows this recognition by giving the image of the Sacred Heart a place of honor in the home and dedicating itself to Him by an act of consecration. In this way the family is brought under the benign influence of the Divine Heart, which asserts itself in all the events of family life.

The Enthronement is like a recognition of the living presence of Our Lord in the home, where His Divine Heart, as King of Love, is the Center, attracting all the members of the family. It is more than a mere veneration of the image of the Sacred Heart or a transient consecration. It is a "way of life," a permanent state of devotedness and love, full of grace and joy.

The Enthronement is likewise a complete realization of all the desires of the Sacred Heart revealed to Saint Margaret Mary. Enthroned in a family which is wholly imbued with Divine charity, Jesus lives with its members as with His very own, directing and supernaturalizing their intimate home life. The home becomes His sanctuary .He is its King and Friend, reigning over it by love, receiving ardent love and tender reparation from His devoted subjects, bestowing in return untold graces, and filling each heart with peace and happiness.

By the act of Enthronement of the Sacred Heart, the family fulfills at the same time a duty of justice toward our Divine Savior. For He is in very deed its King, its Lord and Master by virtue of His Divine nature and His work of Redemption. It fulfills, moreover, the further duty, which devolves upon every truly Christian family, of rendering solemn reparation to the King of Love, by proclaiming the Divine rights of the Sacred Heart ---- rights which in our present age are so shamefully ignored by a godless, perverted world.

The keynote of the Enthronement is Our Lord's desire to reign over mankind as King of Love. Jesus desires to reign by love and to communicate this love, as He did at Nazareth and Bethany. At Nazareth He was the King of Love in His own home; at Bethany He reigned as King of Love in a devoted family, the prototype of all Christian families of later ages, over which He desires to rule supreme as King of Love and Mercy. By the Enthronement and a subsequent life of devotedness, the family recognizes and proclaims in a special way this Kingship of Jesus Christ, so utterly ignored by the world.

What more royal mark of homage, in truth, could a Catholic family render to the Sacred Heart than to enthrone Him as King of the home? In so doing, the members testify their complete submission to Him and their unchanging devotedness, which they intend to prove by sacrifices and marks of tender affection.
What a consoling thought is this for the members of a family: Our Lord has deigned to enter our home! He is with us, full of love and kindness; in Him we can take refuge in all our needs. He has made our home His dwelling. His powerful blessing rests upon our family and upon each one of us!

The Enthronement Must Be "Lived"

However, as already intimated, there is question not merely of an exterior sign, beautiful though it be, nor of a mere act of homage, however solemn. The Enthronement must not be a mere external formality, a pious momentary impulse; nor must it be accepted and made in the spirit of a kind compliance with the solicitations of a friend. No, it is and must remain a serious act, performed after mature reflection, by virtue of which Our Lord Jesus Christ is willingly and lovingly acknowledged as the true Head and Ruler of the family.

The outward ceremony must betoken the interior spirit, the beginning of a life of faith and love. In other words, the Enthronement must be LIVED. It must imply the family's intention to live in close union with the Heart of Jesus and in accordance with His desires, a truly Christian life, worthy of their chosen and honored King.

The Act of Consecration itself may be looked upon as a transitory act. But the Enthronement is a fixed condition, a state, by virtue of which the spirit of the holy Gospel becomes the guide, the rule and the soul of the home where the Sacred Heart of Jesus reigns supreme.

Jesus must be invited to participate in all family affairs; He must be asked to sanctify all the details of the home life by His blessed presence. He must really preside everywhere; everything must be done "beneath His eye" and according to His desires. With Him the family shares its joys and sorrows, good or evil fortune, and in sharing them, gives Him glory and deepens the joy or lessens the pain that life inevitably brings.

Living nobly because Jesus so willed is the real proof of our love for Him, To remain unchanged in our love for God, whether the light of His smile surrounds us or the shadow of His hand lies heavy upon us, is magnanimous friendship. It is this friendship that is brought about by the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the home, when it is lived as it is intended to be lived. By the Enthronement and under the influence of the Sacred Heart, each member of the family learns intimacy with Jesus. In all the events of life, the individual as well as the family as a group turns with confidence and love to Jesus and makes his own life one with His.

The Enthronement Sanctifies the Family

The family is the foundation, the nucleus of human society. Just as a plant is composed of cells, so human society is composed of the cells of families, and the healthier the cells, the better the plant thrives. In the bosom of the family, the human being receives its existence, its life of body and soul. There the first training and education are imparted to the child; there the character is formed, the ideals shaped and molded.

The condition of the family establishes the condition of the parish, of the state, of the whole Church. If each family is truly Christian, the entire parish will be so; likewise, the diocese, the whole Catholic population. What then can be of greater importance for the Church than the sanctification of the family?

A Christian family without love for Christ, without the protection of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is in danger of being corrupted by the spirit of worldliness, whose fetid breath stifles all devotion and fear of God. The imperative condition, then, for extending the reign of Christ over mankind is the restoration of families in Christ.

The Enthronement, ordained by Divine Providence and highly recommended by the Sovereign Pontiffs, is a powerful means to preserve and sanctify the family. It is a most efficacious means for the Christian education of children. It enkindles love for the Sacred Heart in the members of the family and encourages frequent and devout attendance at Mass and reception of Holy Communion. It is a strong rampart against the seductive influences and teachings of the modem corrupted world. It brings about, as a logical sequence, a marked increase in vocations. For all these reasons, the solemn Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in families ranks as a work of the greatest consequence.

The Enthronement and the Christian Education of Children

One of the most important factors in family life, and for society in general, is the Christian training of children in the home. To give children a Christian training means to instruct them solidly in all the essential truths of our holy Faith. To give them a Christian training means to set them a good example in prayer and the practice of virtue. To give them a Christian training means to school them in self-renunciation and patience in Buffering. The influence of Christian family life is absolutely necessary for a Christian education. The seeds of piety must be implanted in the receptive hearts of children in the bosom of the family.

The Catholic school is equally important. Teachers must be animated by a Christian spirit, and the school must continue and complete the Christian education of children. But Holy Church can do little and the school still less with children who do not receive religious training and influence at home.

Our Catholic children are exposed to numberless dangers. They are surrounded by the tainted spirit of the world, with its poisonous atmosphere, its loose morals, its shameless fashions, sinful amusements and excessive love for comfort and pleasure. Piety and the love of God may easily grow cold; good morals and religious principles too often suffer shipwreck.

For this reason, children must be carefully trained at home and brought within the loving, grace-giving influence of the Sacred Heart. He alone can enkindle a personal, loyal love for Himself in their hearts, and thus enable them to remain true to His Commandments.

The Enthronement Preserves the Sanctity of Matrimony

Another effect of the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in families is the preservation of the sanctity of matrimony. How frightfully the modem world has sinned against this sacred institution, the very root and foundation of society! Marriage is entered into lightly, with little or no thought of its sacramental character, or of its permanence and responsibilities. Divorce is sanctioned everywhere, and that on the flimsiest pretexts. Numberless influences tend to corrupt and desecrate the married state, and the evil fruits of this unhappy condition are manifesting themselves to an alarming degree even among Catholics.

The only remedy for these evils is a return to true Christianity, to Jesus Christ, the Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier of families. Not until the full sacredness of the state of matrimony is recognized will the world change for the better.

For the fulfillment of the duties of married life, the grace of God is necessary. Our Lord has promised this grace to those who venerate His Sacred Heart: I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life. Jesus Christ must again be proclaimed and venerated as the King, the life, the bond of union in the family. The Enthronement, rightly lived, will nourish and preserve this spirit.

In his allocutions to newly-married couples, the late Pope Pius XII frequently urged them to enthrone the image of the Sacred Heart in their homes and to consecrate themselves to Him. "In the revelations, full of love," he said on one occasion, "our Savior promised, among other things, that 'wherever the image of His Heart shall be exposed to be singularly honored, it will bring down all sorts of blessings'. Having confidence in the Divine word, you can and will surely want to assure to yourselves the benefits of so great a promise, keeping and properly honoring in your homes the image of the Sacred Heart . . . 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 honored in your homes, like that of the nearest and most loved relative who pours out the treasures of His blessings upon you, your children, and your undertakings.

"Exposed and honored. That is to say, this image should not only watch over your hours of rest in a private chamber, but it should be loyally honored by being hung above the entrance, or in the dining room or parlor 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] . . ."

"Honored 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, an humble expression of contrition, and a request for new blessings.

"In a word, the Sacred Heart is duly honored in a home when He is acknowledged as the King of Love by each and every one; which is to say that the family is consecrated to Him, inasmuch as the total giving of oneself to a holy cause or a holy person is called consecration. The Sacred Heart of Jesus has pledged Himself to heap special blessings upon those who give themselves to Him in this manner . . .

"But he who consecrates himself should also fulfill the obligations that such an act imposes. 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 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 labors of their daily duties  . . .

"May it be so with you, my dear sons and daughters! Living united with Jesus even in this life, receiving Him frequently in Holy Communion, venerating His image daily, 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," June 5, 1940, The Holy Father Speaks to Newlyweds, N.C.W.C., Wash. D.C., p. 27-28.]

The Enthronement and the Eucharistic Life

The intimate and inseparable bond between the Enthronement and Eucharistic life has been stressed from the beginning of this crusade of love and reparation. This has always been the keystone of the work of the Enthronement, the secret of its fruitfulness, the touchstone of its success.

In his first pamphlet on the Enthronement, Father Mateo declared that it was his intention to unite the two tabernacles: that of the Altar and that of the Home. He desired, he said, to make the home, so to speak, a continuation of the Eucharistic life ---- daily Mass and Communion extending their influence over the daily life of the family.

This desire ran as a golden thread through all his preaching: and as the years passed, he urged with ever-increasing intensity that the families of the Sacred Heart be imbued with a Eucharistic spirit; that they assist as frequently as possible at Holy Mass and be the guests of the King at His Eucharistic Banquet, and that they "live" the Mass throughout the day.

In the circular letter he addressed to the Secretariates of the entire world in 1917, Father Mateo said:
"You desire and you are bringing it about that the urgent demand of the Sacred Heart concerning the Eucharist and all the practices connected with this request be carried out by those who have given Him the place of honor in their home, and who know that He longs to be loved in His home, the church, in the Sacrament of His Love. The family which has received Him in His Eucharistic Tabernacle takes Him to its family tabernacle, there to keep Him by faith, by prayer and love. Thus you are forming generations of Eucharistic families."

And again, in 1925, he wrote: "Work to develop the flame of the Eucharistic spirit in families which have enthroned the King. Tell them over and over that behind the picture we must at all costs have the reality; that the King of Love Himself must preside over the family. More and more this thought takes possession of me: we must impregnate families with the Eucharistic spirit! We shall never fully anticipate the marvelous effects which flow from the intimate union between the Tabernacle of the King and that of His true friends, between the Eucharistic Tabernacle and the tabernacle of the home."

A final quotation from an article addressed to members of the Legion of Mary in 1943 will show that Father Mateo never changed the doctrinal basis of this crusade: "Jesus, the King whom we enthrone in the family, must be someone real, someone living . . . The image of the Sacred Heart which we put in the place of honor in the house is, in fact, not more than a beautiful symbol representing a Divine reality. Consequently, the King of Love whom we should preach in season and out of season while making the Enthronement is the Sacred Heart of the Altar and of the Tabernacle. We want to unite the home and the Tabernacle with a bond as strong as death. Gently, but finally, with delicacy and energy, we must achieve the creation of a Eucharistic environment wherever the Heart of Jesus has been enthroned. Yes, our goal is to achieve the transformation of Catholic homes into Tabernacles. It is a living Jesus whom one goes to receive at the Holy Table, and it is a living Jesus whom one takes home and guards there. The image of the Sacred Heart which one honors in the home is meant merely to recall constantly to the friends of Bethany this doctrine of Eucharistic love."

A Powerful Aid to Pastors

As the Enthronement creates an intimate relationship between the church and the home, and results in greater love for the Eucharist, so also it creates a close relationship between priests and families. The Enthronement is therefore a powerful aid to the pastor, for by its means the zeal of the flock entrusted to him will be rekindled and sustained.

Families in which the Sacred Heart reigns and which nourish the spirit of the Enthronement will be for the pastor a staunch support upon which he can confidently rely.

Because of its great importance, the presence of a priest at the Enthronement has always been urged by the founder of the work and by the Church itself. Whenever possible, it should be presided over by one of the parish priests, + who thus has a splendid opportunity of meeting entire families, some of whom might never be contacted otherwise. Many priests have experienced the beneficial results of these contacts.

+ If  the parish priests are unable to be present  for the ceremony; any priest may preside ---- for instance, a friend or relative of the family. If no priest is available, the head of the family,  father or mother, or some other member, may  preside.