A Family's Consecration


Yesterday evening, I celebrated Mass at my friend and fellow blogger Anne Bender's house. After my homily her family celebrated the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, using a ceremony that the Apostleship of Prayer has created for this purpose. The tradition of placing an image of the Sacred Heart in a prominent place in one's home, gathering as a family, and declaring Jesus to be the King and Center of one's family, goes back especially to the early part of the 20th Century and to Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey who, when asking Pope St. Pius X if he had permission to promote such enthronements, responded: "No, no, my son. I do not permit you, I command you, do you understand? I order you to give your life for this work of salvation. It is a wonderful work; consecrate your entire life to it." His successor, Pope Benedict XV, wrote Fr. Mateo as follows:

"We have read your letter with interest and likewise the documents that accompanied it. From them we have learned of the diligence and zeal with which for many years you have devoted yourself to the work of consecrating families to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, in such a way that while His image is installed in the principal place in the home as on a throne, our Divine Savior Jesus Christ is seen to reign at each Catholic hearth. ... Nothing, as a matter of fact, is more suitable to the needs of the present day than your enterprise. ... You do well, then, dear son, while taking up the cause of human society, to arouse and propagate above all things a Christian spirit in the home by setting up in each family the reign of the love of Jesus Christ. And in doing this you are but obeying our Divine Lord Himself, who promised to shower His blessings upon the homes wherein an image of His Heart should be exposed and devoutly honored."

After Communion, each of us recited a personal Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus which Anne had copied for us. It's a beautiful prayer that I had never run across. Here it is:

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I consecrate myself to Your Most Sacred Heart. Take possession of my whole being; transform me into Yourself. Make my hands Your hands, my feet Your feet, my heart Your heart. Let me see with Your eyes, listen with Your ears, speak with Your lips, love with Your heart, understand with Your mind, serve with Your will, and be dedicated with my whole being. Make me Your other self. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, send me Your Holy Spirit to teach me to love You and to live through You, with You, in You and for You.

Come, Holy Spirit, make my body Your temple. Come, and abide with me forever. Give me the deepest love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus in order to serve Him with my whole heart, soul, mind and strength. Take possession of all my faculties of body and soul. Regulate all my passions: feelings and emotions. Take possession of my intellect, understanding and will; my memory and imagination. O Holy Spirit of Love, give me an abundance of Your efficacious graces. Give me the fullness of all the virtues; enrich my faith, strengthen my hope, increase my trust, and inflame my love. Give me the fullness of Your sevenfold gifts, fruits and beatitudes. Most Holy Trinity, make my soul Your sanctuary. Amen.

I like this prayer because it is very Eucharistic. In consecrating ourselves to the Sacred Heart, we are asking that we may be one with Him, that we may truly be His Body. We are asking to be transformed so that we may think and feel with the mind and heart of Jesus. This transformation begins at Baptism and continues through the Holy Eucharist. It is the work of the Holy Spirit and so it's natural that in consecrating ourselves to the Sacred Heart, we ask that the Spirit help us to live that consecration one day at a time. With our own powers we cannot be faithful to our consecration. We need that same Spirit who empowered the early Church at Pentecost to empower us to do this.

After the Eucharistic banquet, where we were fed spiritually, we had a delicious meal for our bodies. I can't help thinking that though Jesus has been present in the Bender family all along, He will be present in an extra special way in the future.