It was only recently when a family in my parish asked me to do for them something which I had been doing for a long time - that is, presiding over the enthronement ceremony of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in private homes. Apparently, this family had taken hold of a very beautiful image of Christ The King from their ancestral house in Pampanga and brought it to their home in Quezon City.
After that occasion, I went to some local religious bookstores to look for a copy of the ritual, but I was sad to realize that this ceremonial was no longer available in most of them. Once, I found old copies of the ritual on sale at a Tayuman store of religious articles. They were not just for sale. They were ON SALE - treated like bargain books which take up too much space in their storage rooms.
This shows that the custom of enthroning the Image of the Sacred Heart seems to be losing its popularity, or is it in danger of disappearing into oblivion. And this is sad, for here we have a family custom that would ensure the Lord's privileged place in every Christian home.
THE ENTHRONEMENT CEREMONY
Actually, the enthronement is a wonderful opportunity to invite the parish priest to visit a family under his care. After reading the Word of God, the priest explains to the family the significance of enthroning the Image of the Sacred Heart in their home. He then blesses the Image and the father (or the mother in the absence of the father) enthrones it in the place of honor prepared for it.
Then the family prays the Act of Consecration and Psalm 127. The priest leads the General Intercession and then, the family entrusts and consecrates itself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Finally, the ceremony ends with the priest blessing the entire family members.
The significance of the ceremony is emphasized in the rite itself. It is supposed to be a hearty welcome to Jesus as King and Friend of the family. By doing so, the family becomes Christ-centered.
By means of enthronement, the family members acknowledge Christ as the center of their lives, and all the big and small events of their existence become more meaningful as they view them as expressions of God's personal love for them. The Sacred Heart takes charge of all the family affairs, big or small. He becomes the family Friend, constant Companion, the unseen Guest at every meal. Jesus becomes truly a member of the family.
Giving the Image of the Sacred Heart a prominent place in the home becomes an external sign of an even more significant enthronement. Jesus takes His rightful place in the center of the life of the entire family and also of its individual members.
Every day, as the family members pass in front of the Image of the Sacred Heart, they are reminded of His Sovereignty over their lives. The nightly prayer which the family says before this Altar must be a daily confirmation of the consecration they made to Him.
Every year it is good to renew this solemn consecration. To those who do not understand, it is simply just a ceremony. But to those who take the consecration to heart, the central place of Jesus would mean both their daily commitment to fulfill the Lord's commandment of love and also the assurance of His constant guidance and protection.
Let us keep in mind that the Lord made the promise to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque: "I will bless the homes in which the Image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored".
FATHER MICHELL JOE B. ZERRUDO
The Messenger of Divine Love