Catholic Prayer: Devotion to the Sacred Heart
Our Lord has promised us that the home which reveres His Sacred Heart will be especially blessed. Then let us seek this blessing with all our hearts by enthroning His Heart in our homes.
A Priceless Devotion
Devotion to the Sacred Heart in your home will help simplify the religious education of your children. It will, by its very nature, permeate your home and thus deeply influence all its occupants. It will bring with it an awesome atmosphere, for Christ is first and foremost a King! Yet, through daily practices, it will forge the links of a cherished and intimate friendship between that King and you, His loving and loyal subjects. Through this devotion Jesus Christ will become the King and Head of your home. He will become your understanding, ever-present, never-forgetting Friend. He will become the central or focal point of your daily living, and thus you will find that you can happily and easily live a Christocentric life.
Living with Jesus
When you formally place Jesus as King and Head of your home, you consider Him as the most intimate Friend of the family. Actually, you are giving special homage to your Divine Guest. It was in the sacrament of Baptism that Jesus first came to reside within each of you. It is His loving wish that you welcome Him to live with you in the intimacy of your hearts and your home by avoiding serious sin, by trying always to please Him, and by rendering special honor to His Sacred Heart.
Are you wondering what all this has to do with teaching a little boy or girl how to be good and kind and charming? Well, it has everything to do with it. If Jesus becomes an everyday part of the life of a little child, it follows that He will remain a part of that life when the child has become a man or a woman. The child who learns to live graciously and intimately with God becomes the man or woman who is never ill at ease with Him. Is not this kind of supernatural daily living what you would wish for your child?
The Plan of Enthronement
The plan of Enthronement of the Sacred Heart calls for a formal entering of the Divine Guest, in a simple but beautiful ceremony. It is as if Jesus had pressed His finger against your doorbell and you responded eagerly and sincerely, inviting Him to come inside to stay.
For the ceremony you will need an image of the Sacred Heart, either a statue or a picture. Consider the exquisite, wood-carved statues and the colorful, attractive prints available from Catholic stores. Be sure that the one you select really pleases you, because you are going to place it in the most prominent position in your living room, where it can dominate your home. You are proud and happy to have His image there.
The children will be delighted with the plan of Enthronement. In choosing the picture or statue, give them an opportunity to look over the catalogue or to go to the store with Father and Mother to make the purchase. If this is not possible, they may at least share in planning which is the best place for His image. They will want to gather flowers and arrange the vigil light.
When the picture or statue is in place, you are ready to invite the parish priest to your home to conduct the ceremony. When the date is set, plan to make a happy occasion of it. The children will long remember the day that the priest came in surplice and stole to hold a little service right in the living room, with Mother, Father and every member of the family present, including the baby. Now that the Sacred Heart has a place of honor in your home, you parents and children will try to lease Him, as your Guest. You will think of Him constantly, provide what He likes, avoid what He dislikes. The children will find Him a companion. They will grow up to associate Him, not just with Sunday and church, but with everyday life as well.
Act of Consecration
The only requirement for daily practice of this devotion is that the family shall recite aloud, usually at night prayers, the following Act of Consecration:
"Most sweet Jesus, humbly kneeling at Thy feet, we renew the consecration of our family to Thy Divine Heart. Be Thou our King forever! In Thee we have full and entire confidence. May Thy spirit penetrate our thoughts, our desires, our words and our deeds. Bless our undertakings, share in our joys, in our trials, and in our labors. Grant us to know Thee better, to love Thee more, to serve Thee without faltering."
"Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy Kingdom come!" (3 times)
This prayer may be too difficult for your four-year-old, but he can participate by kneeling while the others recite it. A red vigil light can be your sole illumination at prayer time.
Help in Sorrow
One of the greatest benefits gained from a constant devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the genuine comfort felt in time of sorrow. Most families, at one time or another, are asked to accept a heavy cross -some, more than one. In the case of the death of a parcel, the Divine Friend will lie there to provide security. At tile death of a child, the Divine rather is there to explain to the parents that their child is already safe in his heavenly home. If a child is born defective, the Divine Physician will prescribe the necessary graces to carry the cross from day to day. If a child is mentally retarded, the Divine Teacher will inspire the patience necessary to accept and assist the one whom God may have chosen for a life of perpetual mental and spiritual childhood.
The Divine Guest will bless abundantly those who enthrone Him and will assist them when help is most needed. The child who learns to turn to his Divine Friend when he is confused will have learned a valuable lesson for life.Prayer Source: From Stroller to School, Parent-Educator Series 2, Leaflets 13-24, Three to Six Years by Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, 1962