an excerpt from The Answer for Families – for a friend:) Praying for you!
What is Enthronement?
“ If anyone loves God, he is known by Him.” 1 Corinthians 8: 3
Do you ever feel so overwhelmed by the stresses and problems of this life that you wonder if God really cares? Have you ever felt as though you’ve cried out to God, but that your pleading has fallen on deaf ears?
When I was a child, I thought that God had abandoned me. I was sexually abused repeatedly by an extended family member from the time I was three or four until the time that I went through puberty. There were so many times that I was in physical pain and mental anguish. I would talk to God often as a child. I was blessed to be deeply spiritual despite all that had happened to me.
Somehow, I could relate to that Jesus that I saw hanging high above the church altar on a wooden, life-sized crucifix. On that cross, Jesus appeared to be in agony, feeling rejected and alone – totally spent. That’s how I felt, and I knew that He could relate to what I was going through.
I have come to believe that God is truly present in a very special, very powerful way with those who suffer. He does not abandon us during our time of need. “Why,” you might ask, “does God let bad things happen to good people if He loves us so much?”
The answer is that He loves ALL of His children so much that He gives us free will – freedom to choose good or evil. God loves us with a love that we cannot even fathom. It is the most giving, merciful, unselfish love there is. God IS Love. He wants us to love Him in return, but He never forces us.
Many times, my students have asked, “If God knows everything, and He knew that Adam and Eve would sin, then why did He let them do it?” God loved them – He loves us. He wants us to want to return His love. If He manipulated us or chose for us, then we would simply be puppets on a string. That is not true love. That’s control.
Just as God allowed Adam and Eve the freedom to choose good or evil, He allowed my attacker to choose good or evil. My abuser chose evil. God does not interfere with anyone’s free will. Love must be freely given in order to be genuine.
Though I always felt a connection to God – specifically to Christ crucified, I never really thought about God’s great love for me, until one special Sunday. My family attended St. Patrick’s Church on Camp Street weekly during the 1990’s. At that time, the pastor was Monsignor John Reynolds. I loved Father John, as he was unafraid to speak the truth, and made no apologies for it! He would always say, “If you don’t like what I’m saying, don’t tell me. Tell God. This is what God said, not me.” After taking on the restoration of the historic church, Fr. John showed signs of slowing down. At one point, he suffered excruciating pain in his back and could not climb up the steps to the ambo anymore to preach his homilies. He also began forgetting things. On this one particular Sunday, he stood before the congregation, a hunched over shadow of the man that he once was. Stretching out his arms and placing them upon the altar, he braced himself. In the middle of his homily, his brain, (perhaps clouded by the pain) could not retrieve the words that he had prepared and rehearsed. Awkwardly, he tried to regroup his thoughts, but to no avail. Finally, after a few seconds of silence (that seemed like hours) a tear rolled down this seventy- something year old’s face, and he said passionately, “GOD LOVES YOU.” A bit louder and with a broken voice, he repeated, “I want you to know that God loves you…SO MUCH. That’s all.” End of homily. We all sat in awe of what had just happened – stunned, saddened and overjoyed all at the same time. I left church that Sunday knowing with all my heart something that I had often doubted. God does love me immeasurably, and He loves you, too. St. Augustine once said, “God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.” Think about that. Let the Truth of that statement settle into your bones. As an adult who has struggled with fertility issues, I feared that I might not have any children of my own. After I was blessed with one child, it took six years to get pregnant a second time. I know what it means to cherish an only child, fearing that there will never be another. God loves us even more than this!
Once, when I was going through a particularly rough patch in life, I made my way to the adoration chapel, desperate to obtain some small measure of peace. I sat there for nearly two hours, pouring my heart out to God and just resting in His presence. I did receive peace – so much so that I had to make myself get up and go home. I wanted to stay in the safety of the chapel and hide from the problems of life so badly.
Upon leaving, I walked swiftly to my car, trying to dodge the cold wind gusts. A beautiful, smiling woman wearing a black lace mantilla followed me. She approached me cautiously so as not to scare me. Then she told me that God wanted her to give me a message. “Wow. O.K.,” I thought. She told me that God wanted me to know that He was very close to me– “as close as the beating of my heart.” I thanked the woman, and she turned and ducked back into the chapel. I climbed into my car, half stunned. I tried to concentrate on the beating of my heart, but could not, so I placed my hand over my chest so that I could feel it pulsate. The thought that God had heard my prayers and pleas – that He would deign to be that close to me – that He cared that much. The love of the Creator for the created – unfathomable, and so beautiful!
Are you aware of how precious you and your family are to God? God spoke to Jeremiah the prophet saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born, I consecrated you.” Think about that statement. Sure, God was talking to someone else, but what are the implications for us? Did He know us before He formed us in our mother’s womb? Why did He bring us into existence? Was it Love?
How do you want to respond to the reality of God’s incredible love? God wants to be the binding force in our marriages – the first of three – God, husband and wife. He wants to be the King of our homes. He wants to help us make our choices on what to watch on television. He wants to be there at the dinner table. He wants to be in our thoughts and on our lips when we rise in the morning and before we turn out the lights at night. He wants to celebrate the good times with us – birthday parties, learning to ride a bike for the first time, going fishing. He wants to comfort us when we are fearful or sad. Patiently, He is watching and waiting to be asked.
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” When we enthrone the Sacred Heart of Jesus in our homes, in some small way, we return that great love that God has for us by placing all of our hope and trust in Him. We honor His Son, and in doing so honor Him. We ask Him to be the head of our homes and to be actively involved in all that we do there. When we put God in charge, we give all that we have and all that we are to Him. He becomes our constant and faithful supplier – spiritually, emotionally, physically and even financially.
The world that we live in now is so scary for children – and especially for parents. Our children are indoctrinated by social media, music and television – compelled to embrace materialistic values. They are encouraged to be sexual at a young age. They are shown all kinds of twisted ways of thinking. We are the primary educators of our children. We cannot leave faith education to our schools, parish staff and teachers. We do not want to leave it to the media. The devil has surely used technology to denigrate the family unit – to degrade how we look at ourselves as sons and daughters of God. Enthronement is a way to combat the evil oozing in through the cracks in our homes. It is a means of protection and fortification for our families from all that is evil. It is a way to make our families – the domestic Church – a reflection of the love of the Holy Trinity.
Jesus wants to make our families whole again. He wants to restore us. He has restored my joy following years of depression. He has helped my husband find work when unemployed. He has helped my youngest son temper his anger, and become deeply caring and spiritual. He has given me the strength to teach all day and come home to home-school my middle child. He has gotten me through three pregnancies with preterm labor, and months of bed rest. He has helped me to forgive those who have hurt me deeply in the past. He has brought the whole Doyle family closer to Him and to each other. The list goes on and on.
Jesus truly has our best interests at heart – our ETERNAL interests. He wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives. We can trust Him fully, for He is all-good and all Truth. His Sacred Heart is a refuge and font of grace for families! Trust in Him.
Jesus, I want healing for my family. I beg You to restore our hope. Please strengthen our love for You and for one another. Give us the courage to step out in faith. May we move forward assured in the knowledge that You go before us always. Amen.