Friday, June 27, 2014

The Feast of the Sacred Heart

When we were planning our wedding, June seemed like a reasonable month to get married. We were leaving campus as FOCUS missionaries in May, so we figured that would give us a month to get settled and do some last minute wedding planning. I remember going to mass and then going to McDonalds for one of our regular breakfast dates. We sat down with the calendar and then pulled up the liturgical calendar online. Nathan attributes most of his conversion back to the Catholic faith to Mother Mary, so naturally he picked June 20 that year which was the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It was on a Saturday and we thought it would be great to dedicate our marriage to Mother Mary. So we called the Church-yes they were free that Saturday. We called the reception hall-no they were not free that Saturday but could do Friday. Friday? Did anyone get married on Friday? We thought about it and then looked up the feast day for that date, June 19th. It was (duh) the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We rolled our eyes as we said of course Mary would never want to steal the show from her son and we felt her pushing us towards His Feast day instead of Hers.

So we went for it. It was all practical at that point-cheaper everything because of a Friday wedding. We did have one freak out when we realized the Feast of the Sacred Heart was not only a Feast Day but a Solemnity, which meant we weren't sure if we could use our wedding readings or if they had to be the ones assigned to that day. Turns out you can get married on a Solemnity and you can have your own readings-yeah! So June 19th came and it was special to celebrate our marriage on the Feast of the Sacred Heart. As the wedding day went on I noticed how many images and statues of the Sacred Heart were around our parish.

Can you see his statue-in the right corner? 

I knew little to nothing about the Feast Day but it was nice to have the image of the sacred heart and the immaculate heart as a symbol to represent our marriage. And I'd say at that point, that's all it was, a symbol. I didn't understand it but I liked the idea of a heart being so passionate with love that it was on fire. I also loved the roses on Mary's Immaculate Heart. What I failed to see on both were the thorns and sword, something that is also part of marriage-suffering.

When we moved into our home a year later we felt called to put an image of the Sacred Heart up in our home. We read up on the tradition of Enthronement to the Sacred Heart and we knew it was something we wanted,

The enthronement will restore the family to Christ because the family is putting Our Lord and His interest first. In return the Sacred Heart takes over the interests of the family. Our Lord Himself has promised that He will bless and sanctify those families who enthrone Him as King. He asked St. Margaret Mary, to whom He revealed His Sacred Heart, that He be allowed to reign over the homes of the rich and the poor; that He be solemnly received as King and Friend and that His Sacred Heart be honored and loved. Consider Our Lord's beautiful promises carefully and then full of trust and confidence, sincerely and devoutly follow step by step the Enthronement Ceremony.

So we bought a statue and invited some friends and family over with our priest friend and had a big party to celebrate along with the beautiful prayer that goes along with the enthronement. Whenever someone walks into our home this is the first thing they see:

Over our 5 years of marriage I can see how and why God had us marry on this Solemnity. The love, the suffering, all of it together just makes sense. I love the Feast of the Sacred Heart and the way it shows us how much Jesus understands us. How His heart burns with love for us but is also suffering because of sin. I love that the Feast Day is followed by Mary's Immaculate Heart, also filled with love but suffering as well. 

I still don't have all the words to explain why this Feast is so important to us, but it just is. I love belonging to a Church that acts as a good mother. She knows her children and what they each need. We needed this Feast Day and we needed it to help shape our marriage. Every time I see that statue in my home I am reminded that I vowed to not only love Nathan, but to suffer with him and for him as well. 

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy on Us. Most Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary-Pray for us!

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