SACRED HEART KING OF THE FAMILY
Although not celebrated with much fanfare, the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Philippine is a steady, long-enduring devotion. Just as the statue of the Sacred Heart adorns most churches, it also adorns almost all Filipino homes. Go to a Filipino home and the first thing you see is the Sacred Heart statue or picture prominently displayed.
First Friday devotions are widely observed and Masses are well attended in churches, schools, offices and even shopping malls. In spite of the popularity of the devotion to the Sacred Heart, however, there seems to be little understanding of the true nature of the devotion. This article is an attempt to put it in the context of the family where the devotion truly should begin.
The devotion to the Sacred Heart should begin in the family for two reasons. The first reason is the family has figured prominently in God's plan of salvation since the creation of the world. God is love; He revealed it when He created humans - male and female. It is through the union of the two in marriage that the race of man develops as a community of love.
It is the first community called to announce the Gospel to the human person, bringing all to a progressive education and catechesis to full human and Christian maturity. Through His incarnation the Son of God became human through a family. He grew up in the bosom of Joseph and Mary and thus gave an example of how to live in a family. To show the primacy of family, He worked His first miracle in the context of a wedding at Cana.
The second reason is the primary value that a Filipino places on his family. It is here that the Filipino finds his core value and response. The family is the foundation and central point of a Filipino's behavior and social relationships. It is the source of his personal identity, and emotional and material support. It provides his basic sense of belonging, stability, and security. Thus, if devotion to the Sacred Heart begins in the Filipino family, chances are it will become entrenched as part of its members' spirituality and way of life and will most likely be carried throughout life.
The challenge lies in the renewal of the devotion to the Sacred Heart in the Filipino Catholic families such that it would be meaningful to the modern generation, not just a rehash of the beliefs of the older generation often no longer relevant to the contemporary generation. It practised in the home meaningfully, the devotion to the Sacred Heart may greatly help the Christian family in effectively fighting the pagan elements of traditional religion, secularization, and modernization that are fast spreading in today's confused and contradictory situations.
To combat the individualism and self-centered thinking of the present generation, attitudes that focus on other people's well-being and comfort should be developed. Values should be restructured so that a personal relationship with Jesus becomes the basis of an inspired vision to encounter Jesus in all the members of the family, especially the sick, the disabled, and the suffering. A new way of life must be inculturated and incorporated into the lives of families. This can be done in the active centering on the unconditional and merciful love of Jesus in the Sacred Heart.
Practices centered on the family begin with the enthronement of the Sacred Heart and the home and consecration of the family to it. The adoption of Jesus as King of the home redirects the aims of the lives of the members of the family. They will make the Sacred Heart King and center of all their desires, thoughts, speech and activities. Since the love of the Sacred heart dominates their lives, their hearts will be purified from incompatible cultural habits and they will become authentic Christians.
As a corollary, another excellent practice would be to recite the daily Morning Offering upon awakening in order to offer one's day - all thoughts, words, and actions-through the Immaculate Heart of Mary - in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the intentions of the Sacred Heart, as well as those of the Holy Father.
Reparation for all the outrages and crimes committed against Jesus in His Most Sacred Heart is done not only in prayer and the First Friday devotions, but more importantly through a friendly, interactive and loving relationship with other people of our families, communities, and parishes. The updated meaning of reparation also includes concern for the poor and abandoned members of our society, justice for the less fortunate members of our community, and care for our environment.
In these meaningful ways, the aim of the Devotion which is a Consecration, Offering, and Reparation will be promoted and modified in a contemporary, modern family setting. As our late Holy Father John Paul II said, this love of the Sacred Heart renewed in our families will bring about a "civilization of love" in our world.
Angelita P. Makalinao
The Messenger of Divine Love
Volume II Number 4