‘I will give to Priests the grace to touch the most hardened hearts.’From the Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart
The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a powerful devotion. It offers us a unique opportunity to crown our Lord Jesus as King and center of our family’s life under God the Father and our Blessed Mother Mary. The portrait of the Sacred Heart which we enthrone in our homes becomes a means by which we can deepen our love of God and enlighten our souls with divine truths.
Throughout the Gospels, Christ seeks out the sick and sinners and invites them into a personal relationship with Him. Christ wants to be our “king, brother, and friend.” Devotion to the Sacred Heart is intended to draw us back to the Heart of Christ so we might recognize His deep and passionate love for us.
Legionaries promote this sacred practice in as many homes as possible, focusing primarily on Active Legionaries, Legion Auxiliaries, and other parishioners of the praesidium’s home parish. These enthronements deepen the Faith and promote the true conversion of Catholics, increasing their zeal in the Lord’s mission for the salvation of souls. Enthronements often encourage Legion extension and recruitment of new Legionaries.
the Sacred Heart of Jesus
By drawing close to Jesus’ Heart we seek not only a place of refuge and consolation but we also seek to be strengthened by him so as to bring him to those whom we meet day in and day out.(SacredHeartCongressColumbus.org)
The Legion’s devotion to the Sacred Heart is rooted in the very person of Jesus. John 19:34 tells us that a Roman soldier thrust his lance into the side of Christ, and blood and water from His pierced heart. Cardinal Raymond Burke explains that,
The blood and water which flowed from the Pierced Heart of Jesus is the sign of his life with us in the Church. Once risen from the dead and seated in glory at the right hand of the Father, Christ has never ceased to pour out, from his glorious Pierced Heart, the grace of the Holy Spirit upon his disciples.(Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: Sacred Scripture)
This image of Christ’s Heart outside of His body is a great source of refuge and consolation. It is a perfect representation of Our Lord’s deep desire to spread His love to all mankind, drawing each and every one of us closer to his ever-loving Heart.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque’s visions
Devotion to the Sacred Heart first gained prominence thanks to a series of extraordinary visions experienced by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647–1690), a French mystic who was canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1920.
St. Margaret Mary’s visions affirmed Christ’s love for humanity through His most Sacred Heart. Christ expressed His desire for St. Margaret Mary to promote a devotion to the Sacred Heart, making twelve incredible promises to all who participate:
- I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
- I will give peace in their families and will unite families that are divided.
- I will console them in all their troubles.
- I will be their refuge during life and above all in death.
- I will bestow the blessings of heaven on all their enterprises.
- Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
- Tepid souls shall become fervent.
- Fervent souls shall rise quickly to great perfection.
- I will bless those places wherein the image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored and will imprint my love on the hearts of those who would wear this image on their person. I will also destroy in them all disordered movements.
- I will give to priests who are animated by a tender devotion to my Divine Heart the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
- Those who promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be effaced.
- I promise you in the excessive mercy of My Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence: They will not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.
He also asked her to promote three further devotions: attending Mass on each First Friday of the month for nine consecutive months, starting a Holy Hour of Reparation, and establishing a feast day to honor Christ’s Most Sacred Heart.
The enthronement Process
The process of enthronement of the Sacred Heart requires the recitation of seven days of prayer and the performing of a final enthronement ceremony, which includes many beautiful prayers and the placement of an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Often this image is accompanied by a second image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for it was she who said at the Wedding Feast of Cana, “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5). Mary is the perfect model of faithfully following Our Lord, and we look to her to learn how to love Christ more profoundly.
Enthronement and the Legion
…The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart is one of the oldest and most treasured apostolates of the Legion and one that Frank Duff himself personally engaged in.
In Sacred Scripture the heart is the symbol of the deepest centre and identity of a person. In the case of Jesus it means that it is love that defines Him. Loves is His most specific characteristic. The Sacred Heart is the human language for revealing the basic fact that God is Love. In devotion to the Heart of Jesus we are honouring the human and divine love that Jesus has for each one of us. That is essentially what the Gospel is: that God loved us while we were still sinners. In a few words, devotion to the Sacred Heart means that we have a practical understanding and realisation of the place that Jesus has in our lives as God and man and especially His Love for us. And we try to respond to Him by dedicating and entrusting ourselves to His Sacred Heart as the symbol of His infinite and personal love for us. This devotion goes to the very heart of evangelisation. What else are we called to but to let every one that we meet know that they are infinitely important to God and eternally loved by Him.
Pope Leo XIII is remembered for many great things: we think, for example, of his great social encyclicals, his preaching of the Rosary, his promotion of the teaching of St. Thomas in Universities, seminaries and houses of religious formation. But he said that his act of Consecrating the human race to the Sacred Heart was the greatest act of his pontificate. It would be a beautiful thing for a legionary to be able to say that he or she was instrumental under God for enthroning the Sacred Heart in the centre of a family home. To enthrone or consecrate a home to the Sacred Heart means to put Gods love at the centre of the home, to place a reminder of the central teaching of the Gospel in the midst of the family. The Handbook tells us that this apostolate would mean that we could take to ourselves the fullness of the Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart. Even the tenth: ‘I will give to Priests the grace to touch the most hardened hearts’. Because we go everywhere, even to the most difficult and forbidding places as representatives of the Priest. For this reason legionaries will go with perfect confidence to grapple with cases branded ‘hopeless’. It would be wonderful if every praesidium in every part of the world would make the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in homes an important part of its apostolate.
To really undertake this particular Legion work fully it would be good to read and study and pray about devotion to the Sacred Heart and practice some concrete way of showing our love and gratitude for the infinite gift of Himself that he gives us as symbolised by the Sacred Heart.
Of course, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is intimately associated with devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Pope Pius XII wrote:‘By the will of God, the most Blessed Virgin Mary was inseparably joined with Christ in accomplishing the work of man’s redemption, so that our salvation flows from the love of Jesus Christ and His sufferings, intimately united with the love and sorrows of his Mother. It is then, highly fitting that after due homage has been paid to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Christian people, who have obtained divine life from Christ through Mary manifest similar piety and the love of their grateful souls for the most loving heart of our Heavenly Mother’.
I leave the last words to the Handbook once more: ‘As it is the mission of Mary to bring about the reign of Jesus, so there is a special appropriateness (which should attract the special graces of the Holy Spirit) in the Legion of Mary propagating the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart.The Legion of Mary and the Sacred Heart
Further readings for study about the Sacred Heart of Jesus devotion:
A reflection by Cardinal Raymond Burke called “The Riches of His Sacred Heart”
An excerpt entitled “Substance and Foundation of Devotion to the Sacred Heart” from Pope Benedict XVI’s book Behold the Pierced One