The love of God is at the Heart of all things. Certainly Love is at the center of family life and it is love that makes human life and family life worth living. Since God is pure Love and the heart is the icon of both human and Divine love, the Sacred Heart of Jesus occupies a privileged space, second to none, in the life of the Christian person and family.
Allow me to illustrate. Walk into almost any Catholic home in Kerala, India, and a smiling and gracious resident will welcome you at the main door. On the wall opposite the main door, and thus the first object to capture your attention, is an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus enthroned. The wordless, but powerful message is that it is He who is Master of this household and He who welcomes you to this home that is centered on the divine and human love emanating from His Heart.
Or walk into my grandparent’s home in 1960 northern Maine, USA and there in the living room, in the most prominent place in the home, strategically located on a prayer altar, is a bust of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. God’s love, and not the television, occupies the center and reminds all that this “Tremendous Lover” is at the heart of this family’s daily life, especially as they gather round of an evening to conclude the day with the family Rosary.
The whole plan of our Lord’s life and the whole manner of His death are designed to show forth His love for us, all God’s people, and all families. Through love He became man for us, through love He worked for us, through love He lived for us, through love He suffered for us, and through love He died for us.
With Saint Paul, each of us can say: “He loved me and delivered Himself for me.” (Gal. 2: 20)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church offers a strikingly beautiful reminder of Christ’s human and divine love for the Father and for all human beings without exception (CCC 478):
Jesus knew and loved us each and all during His life, His agony and His Passion and gave Himself up for each one of us ... He has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation, "is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that … love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the Father and all human beings," without exception.
Friends, if I could offer one encouragement by which to bring the love of God into the very heart of your home, it would be to seek out in prayer the enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This rite of enthronement oftheSacredHeart means your family recognizes officially and socially the loving kingship of the Heart of Jesus in the Christian family. The family acknowledges this by solemnly installing an image of the Sacred Heart in a place of honor in the home and dedicating itself to Him by an Act of Consecration.
This will do for your family what Saint John Chrysostom says the table of the Eucharist will do: “… Leaving this sacred table we are like lions, breathing flames, and are made a terror to demons.” If you want your family to be on fire with God’s love, then take this first step of placing the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the center of the home, in the center of the family, and in the center of your heart.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy on us! Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for us!
Father Willy Raymond, C.S.C. is President of Holy Cross Family Ministries. He entered Holy Cross Fathers in 1964. He earned a Bachelors in Philosophy from Stonehill College in 1967 and a Masters in Theology from the University of Notre Dame in 1971. In addition to English, Father Willy is conversant in French and Spanish. He's a native of Old Town, Maine and one of 12 children. He remains a diehard fan of the Boston Red Sox, even though he has served as Chaplain for the Los Angeles Dodgers.