Nila told me about a friend of hers whose family had recently gone through a very difficult time… She then told me that the mother invited a priest to their home to do an act of consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The woman had decided that despite the upheaval that was happening in her home, she and the kids needed to ban together and fix their eyes and hearts upon the only one that could save them from the mess that their lives had become – Jesus. Nila said, “This may sound a little crazy to you, but I think it is something you might want to consider.” She reported that though her friend still had problems, her home had become a much more peaceful place since the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart.
When Nila mentioned the Sacred Heart, my mind immediately put two and two together. I remembered the weekly planner with the reflections from Fr. Mateo Crawley Bouvey on the Sacred Heart. I remembered the Google page on surnames. I recalled the question about the enthronement from the insurance agent. The burgundy panels of hundreds of Crowley trucks began zipping through my brain. Hot tears began streaming down my cheeks. Alarmed, Nila asked if she had upset me. I said, “No. Now I know with all my heart what I must do.”
I thanked my dear friend and went home right away to email one of our parish priests. In my message to him, I did not get into detail of the whole, long story, but I did ask him if he was familiar with the enthronement service and if he would be willing to preside over one at our home. After I hit that send button on the computer, I felt such a relief. I knew without a doubt that God was working in my heart and in my home. I knew that if this was His Will that He would make a way.
Over the next several hours, I checked my email constantly, hoping for a reply. Within a day or two, Father replied to my email. He said that he had never done an enthronement ceremony, but that he had certainly heard of it. We set a date for him to come to our home, then both of us began researching the process online. Over the course of the following week, Father called our home to report his findings and to confirm our appointment.
In the days that led up to the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in our home, I cleaned like a mad woman, as though Jesus was going to walk physically right through my front door at the appointed time. Thankfully, my husband, who is a very faithful, religious man, did not think that the idea of consecrating our home to Jesus silly. He supported me. He told me that if I felt this strongly that God was leading me in this direction that he would follow too. As a family, we began saying the novena to the Sacred Heart nine days before the big event. I stressed over the menu and all of the little details. I had never had a priest over for dinner before, and I worried about every detail. I was so concerned about the impression he would take away regarding our home and our children. Would the kids mind their manners at the table? Would they be reverent enough during the prayer service? Would he like our food?
Surprisingly, the evening went very well. Father arrived with special vestments in hand. He greeted everyone whom we had invited, then proceeded to get formally dressed with a special chasuble and stole. He then entered the living room where we had a kneeler placed strategically in front of the mantle holding the picture of the Sacred Heart. He made the sign of the cross and led us in a beautiful prayer service in which each member of our family pledged their love and devotion to Jesus Christ. Father then blessed the picture and family members with holy water. Then he proceeded to pad through the rest of our home, blessing each room.
We ended the evening with a pasta dinner and dessert. The conversation was warm, informative and fascinating. Father had traveled all over the holy land on pilgrimage and had interesting stories to tell. The kids especially enjoyed being in the company of a young priest who truly loves his vocation. We all felt uniquely inspired by his presence.
That momentous evening was just the beginning of another chapter in the Doyle family’s life. It felt to me as though our searching had come to an end and that our greatest hopes had come to fruition. I know, however, that this small step toward our Lord and Savior was just that – a step on a long journey. Consecrating ourselves and our home to the Lord’s work is just the beginning. Now we have to live for Him, with Him and in Him. It’s a daily, conscious effort we have to make – to consult Christ in our every decision – to offer all that we have and all that we are to Him alone. I hope that we don’t let Him down. Some days, we do better than others. I can attest to the fact that our home has been much more peaceful in the past five months since the Enthronement. As family members, when we professed profound respect for our Lord, greater respect for one another seems to have been a natural result as well.
Life still has its difficulties – to be sure! We all still have our bad moods and problems to handle. All I know is that it feels so good not to be doing it alone. We have someone very powerful sharing the burden – lightening the load for us. His name is Wonder Counselor, Prince of Peace, Immanuel – His name is Jesus! When I want to flee this crazy world and crawl in a cave where no one can find me, I can close my eyes in prayer and hide myself in His Sacred Heart.