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By Melanie Williams (Jun 3, 2016)
What an amazing weekend for the Church! Friday, June 3, is the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Saturday, June 4, is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And this year, on Sunday, June 5, Blessed Stanislaus Papczynski, the founder of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, will be raised to the honors of the altar in a canonization ceremony celebrated by Pope Francis in Rome. What a beautiful family we have in the Catholic Church!
Speaking of families, each individual family within the Body of Christ is called to be a “domestic church.” This term was coined during Vatican II and used in the document Lumen Gentium, which states, “The family is, so to speak, the domestic church. In it parents should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of the faith to their children; they should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each of them, fostering with special care vocation to a sacred state” (11). To help make their homes domestic churches, many families have made an act of consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and enthroned images of the Two Hearts in their houses. This is a special way to dedicate one’s family to God and to proclaim, “May Jesus and Mary reign in my home!”
To better understand why a family would decide to enthrone the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary in their home, let’s begin with a short explanation of each of the devotions.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus can be seen in the writings of saints who lived throughout Church history, since disciples of Christ throughout the ages have “looked on him whom they have pierced” (Zech 12:10; Jn 19:37). But the official devotion we know today came into existence through a series of visions of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690). She was a religious sister in a Visitation convent in France. Jesus began appearing to her on Dec. 27, 1673, and told her that she was to become His instrument in spreading devotion to His Sacred Heart. He gave her twelve promises for those who have a devotion to His Sacred Heart:
1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life.
2. I will establish peace in their homes.
3. I will comfort them in their trials.
4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and, above all, in death.
5. I will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.
6. Sinners will find in My Heart an infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Lukewarm souls will become fervent.
8. Fervent souls will rapidly grow in holiness and perfection.
9. I will bless every place in which an image of My Heart is exposed and honored.
10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
11. Those who shall promote this devotion will have their names written in My Heart, never to be blotted out.
12. I promise you in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays of nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their Sacraments. My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.
In the 17th century, St. John Eudes began the modern devotion to the “Two Hearts.” Although the devotion remained controversial during his lifetime, still St. John persisted in promoting it. His mission was to collect all of the scriptural, patristic, and liturgical sources relating to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and what he called the “Admirable Heart of Mary.”He wrote a handful of works on both devotions, as well as a Mass and office for both feasts. He was the first to dedicate churches to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in particular began spreading more rapidly through the apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima, Portugal, and the messages she gave to the young visionaries. On July 13, 1917, after the Blessed Mother had shown a vision of hell to the three small children, she told them that various grave trials would be coming upon the earth. She warned of chastisement, but emphasized that it was conditional. Our Ladyrevealed that these chastisements could be prevented through the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart and by the faithful regularly offering their Communions on Five First Saturdays in reparation for sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Blessed Virgin Mary told one of the visionaries, Lucia, what she was asking of the faithful on the first Saturday of five consecutive months:
1. Go to Confession and receive Holy Communion,
2. Recite five decades of the rosary (the Joyful, Sorrowful, or Glorious mysteries)
3. Keep her company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary
She promises to assist those who complete these steps with the intention of making reparation to her Immaculate Heart at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for their salvation.
So bring the devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary into your home! By enthroning images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary in your home and consecrating your family to Jesus and Mary, you are stating, “as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Jos 24:15), and welcoming Jesus’ Kingly Reign and Mary’s Queenship over you and your family.
May the Sacred Heart of Jesus reign in your hearts and the hearts of your family, and may the Immaculate Heart of Mary intercede for and protect your family and your home.
Enthrone the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts in your homes with this unique image