Protection of Home
With the Sword of the Spirit
In Ephesians chapter six, St. Paul says to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…” (Eph 6:17) Most of the other items mentioned in Ephesians 6 are considered armor. They provide protection. The sword, however, is a weapon. It, too, provides a soldier with protection, but it does so actively, not passively. The shield, helmet, breastplate, etc. are for defense. The sword is for offense.
To better understand, let’s compare the Sword of the Spirit with the Belt of Truth. The Belt of Truth fastens the Sword of the Spirit to us, right? Right. So, the belt indicates a time of peace, a time where the sword is put away (though the soldier is still equipped, armed and ready).
But when St. Paul says to “take the Sword of the Spirit” he is referring to a time of war, when the sword is drawn, and the Spirit is unleashed. How is it unleashed?
St. Paul tells us to unleash the sword by “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication." (Eph 6:18) If the Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, then we unleash the sword by praying with the scriptures, specifically the words of Jesus in the Gospels.
“From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron.” (Rev 19:15)
“…From his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. (Rev 1:16)
In all the other verses of Ephesians 6, St. Paul explains how the Word of God can protect us in the battle. It can help us live righteously, understand truth, believe in Jesus, etc. But then, in verse 18, St. Paul gives orders like an army general. He says: unleash the sword. In the first several verses he tells us to prepare and protect ourselves. But in this last verse he tells us to go and fight. Why?
Because, as he said, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12)
We are not door mats strengthened merely to endure a trampling. We are soldiers of a militia equipped to win the war.
Think how powerful that soldier is who has been trained by St. Paul and Ephesians 6. A soldier living in truth, acting with righteousness, understanding his faith, believing in Jesus, sharing the Gospel, and declaring the Word of God against his enemy.
This, friend, is how you secure protection for your home.
As Jesus said, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Mt 7:24-27)
“The Lord's curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous. (Proverbs 3:33)
“My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” (Is. 32:18)
Simply put: when we speak the words of Christ and obey them, we do fierce battle against outside forces. We wield the Sword of the Spirit like a security guard at our door.
Now, let’s take it a step further. If speaking like Jesus and acting like Jesus provides protection for the home, then how secure is a home that actually invites Jesus in to live with them?
How do we do that? By enthroning the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the home.
History of the Sacred Heart
First, what is the Sacred Heart of Jesus devotion?
In 1672, Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque with His Heart exposed and gave Her messages about His great love for humanity. This is where the Sacred Heart devotion comes from.
In these messages to St. Margaret Mary, Jesus asked that all people go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the First Friday of every month, and that reparation be made for sins committed against His Sacred Heart and the Holy Eucharist.
He also asked that the Church observe a feast day for this intention, and in 1856, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart was officially added to the liturgical calendar.
Promises for Devotion to the Sacred Heart
Jesus also gave St. Margaret Mary 12 promises for those who express devotion to His Sacred Heart and observe the nine First Fridays.
1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
2. I will establish peace in their homes.
3. I will comfort them in all their afflictions.
4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all, in death.
5. I will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.
6. Sinners will find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
7. Lukewarm souls shall become fervent.
8. Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.
9. I will bless every place in which an image of my Heart is exposed and honored.
10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
11. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in my Heart.
12. I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.
One of the most powerful ways to protect a home is to enthrone the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the home. Enthronement to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a world-wide mission that began in France in 1907 by Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey, SSCC, who sought to continue the work of spreading the Sacred Heart devotion that began in France with St. Margaret Mary Alocoque. Fr. Mateo believed that in order to win souls for Christ and build a civilization of love, it must start with the evangelization of the family. Pope St. Pius X approved the Sacred Heart of Jesus home enthronement ceremony in 1908, and it has gained much popularity since then.
The enthronement of a home is different from the consecration of a home. Consecrating a home to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (or the United Hearts of Jesus and Mary) is similar to the consecration of a person. It sets the home apart for a sacred purpose. But an enthronement ceremony takes consecration a step further. Enthronement is when the members of a household enthrone the Sacred Heart of Jesus as King of the home and the Immaculate Heart of Mary as Queen of the home.
How does that differ from a consecration?
Well, a consecration is setting something or someone apart to be used by God. We work for God. An enthronement is getting out of the way and just letting God take over. God works for us.
Think of it this way. Consecration is like inviting the King over to your house, where you serve Him dinner. You use your will to extend the invitation; you do the work of serving. Enthronement is like you living at the palace, where the King (and all his courts) serve you.
When you enthrone Jesus in your home, your home becomes His palace, a mini kingdom. Enthroned homes literally become true domestic churches. God protects a consecrated home because his children live there. But an enthroned home is protected automatically because He lives there. And His enemies dare not approach it.
The validity of a home enthronement is scripture-based. Let’s look at Psalm 91:
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, 'My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.' He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence; he will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not dread the terror of the night, or the arrow that flies by day, or the pestilence that stalks in darkness or the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot. Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name. When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them. With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation.”
The Enthronement Ceremony
1. Go to Mass.
It is recommended to attend Mass as a Family and to receive Holy Communion on the Sunday prior to the enthronement.
2. Invite a priest.
The ceremony involves prayers and a blessing that should be said by a priest.
3. Prepare an altar.
You may want to decorate a table with a white cloth, flowers, and candles. Have holy water on hand. I recommend holy water that has received this blessing. The picture or statue of the Sacred Heart or United Hearts should also be placed on this table before the ceremony.
4. Priest will bless the home.
At the set hour, parents and children gather in the main room for the ceremony. Relatives and friends can be invited.
5. The priest will bless the Sacred Heart image.
It is important to have a priest preside at the ceremony, but when it is impossible to have him present, the image can be blessed beforehand.
6. The enthronement of the Sacred Heart.
It is recommended that the head of the family set the images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary in a place of honor, in order to illustrate their reign in the home.
7. Pray the Creed.
After the blessing, in order to express the faith of the family, everyone should recite the Apostles’ Creed out loud and while standing.
8. The priest gives a short homily.
Everyone should be seated while the priest speaks.
9. The formula of consecration.
Those present at the ceremony consecrate themselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Below is a consecration prayer approved by St. Pius X on May 19, 1908, and required to gain indulgences.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, Who didst make known to St. Margaret Mary Thine ardent desire to reign over Christian families, behold us assembled here today to proclaim Thine absolute dominion over our home.
Henceforth we purpose to lead a life like unto Thine so that amongst us may flourish the virtues for which Thou didst promise peace on earth, and for this end, we will banish from our midst the spirit of the world which Thou dost abhor so much.
Thou wilt reign over our understanding by the simplicity of our faith. Thou wilt reign over our hearts by an ardent love for Thee; and may the flame of this love be ever kept burning in our hearts by the frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist.
Deign, O Divine Heart, to preside over our meetings, to bless our undertakings both spiritual and temporal, to banish all worry and care, to sanctify our joys and soothe our sorrows. If any of us should ever have the misfortune to grieve Thy Sacred Heart, remind him of Thy goodness and mercy towards the repentant sinner.
Lastly when the hour of separation will sound and death will plunge our home into mourning, then shall we all and every one of us be resigned to Thy eternal decrees, and seek consolation in the thought that we shall one day be reunited in heaven, where we shall sing the praises and blessings of Thy Sacred Heart for all eternity.
May the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the glorious Patriarch St. Joseph offer Thee this our Consecration and remind us of the same all the days of our life. Glory to the Divine Heart of Jesus, our King, and our Father!
10. Pray for the absent and deceased.
It is recommended that the family pray one Our Father and one Hail Mary for those family members who could not be present at the ceremony and those who have passed away.
11. Consecration of children.
It is not required but the children may recite a prayer to the Sacred Heart, such as:
Most sweet Jesus, Divine Friend of children, receive our hearts, make them pure, holy and happy; receive also our bodies, our souls, and all our strength. We consecrate ourselves to Thee now and forever. Be Thou alone our King. All our thoughts, and our words, our actions, and our prayers, we consecrate to Thee, our Friend and our King.
12. Final benediction.
At the end of the ceremony, the priest blesses those present and gives the family a certificate of enthronement which is signed by the priest and the family.
The Divine Mercy Image
Jesus gave St. Margaret Mary messages about the great love that is in his Sacred Heart. Then, centuries later, he gave another Saint messages about the mercy that flows from his Sacred Heart.
Jesus appeared to a Polish nun named Sr. Faustina (later, St. Faustina) between 1931 and 1938. He appeared to her wearing a white robe. His right hand was raised as if giving a blessing, and his left hand touched his heart. Two large rays shone from the center of his chest. One was red and the other a pale blue, almost white.
Jesus told her to have someone paint an image of him exactly how she saw him in that vision. He told her to have the words, “Jesus I trust in You,” written at the bottom of the painting.
Then Jesus explained to her, “I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory. I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You. I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and [then] throughout the world.” (St. Faustina’s Diary, 47, 48, 327)
“The two rays denote blood and water. The pale ray stands for the water, which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the blood, which is the life of souls. These two rays issued forth from the depths of My tender mercy when My agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the cross. Happy is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him.” (Diary 299)
Jesus revealed that the image of Divine Mercy is a protective image, and I believe that the houses that display this image (especially on or over the doors) will be protected during the tribulations to come. Remember, the red ray coming from his heart denotes the blood of the Lamb.
In order to understand the importance of this, we have to look back at the Old Testament.
At the beginning of Exodus, the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, so God sent Moses to Egypt to demand that Pharaoh let his people go. But Pharaoh wouldn’t release them. As a sign of his displeasure, God sent a plague or punishment to Egypt every time Pharaoh said no. After the ninth one, God warned Moses that the tenth would be so catastrophic Pharaoh would finally agree to release the Israelites.
To prepare for this horrific event, God told the Israelites to slaughter a lamb at twilight and put its blood over the doorposts and lintels of their houses. Then God said to roast the lamb and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. He said to eat quickly with sandals on their feet and staff in hand.
The Lord said that at midnight he would go through Egypt and strike down every firstborn human and animal. But he said he would “pass over” and not harm anyone in the houses that had blood over the doorposts.
And that’s precisely what God did.
Pharaoh woke in the middle of the night to the sounds of loud cries. There was not a house in Egypt that did not have someone dead in it (except the houses of the Israelites). Even Pharaoh’s own firstborn, who sat on the throne, was struck dead. So he summoned Moses and Aaron in the night and commanded them and the Israelites to leave Egypt immediately.
Because the Lord had already warned the Israelites previously, they were ready to escape—with full bellies and sandals on. They grabbed the rest of their unleavened dough and set out for the wilderness.
Along the journey, they made unleavened cakes with the leftover Passover dough. When that ran out, the Lord rained down manna from heaven every morning. The Lord provided for their needs for more than 40 years, until they reached the promised land.
Every year then, the Israelites celebrated the Passover with unleavened bread to commemorate the night the Lord set them free from their slavery in Egypt. It was this Passover meal that Jesus celebrated with the apostles in the upper room that we now call the Last Supper.
As St. Luke recorded, “Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, ‘Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat it.’ They asked him, ‘Where do you want us to make preparations for it?’”
Then, Jesus and his twelve apostles sat down in the upper room and ate the Passover meal together. Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, “he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.’” (Luke 22:19-20)
Jesus actually gave himself to the disciples in a new Passover meal. He became unleavened bread and shed his own Blood as the Lamb of God. Therefore because the image of Divine Mercy denotes the Blood of the Lamb, when it is placed on the doors of believers it ensures the wrath of God will "pass over" the home just like it did in Exodus.
This is why Jesus told St. Faustina, “You will prepare the world for My final coming.” (Diary #429)
The St. Benedict Medal or Crucifix
St. Benedict is considered the Father of Western Monasticism, and his medal is considered a powerful protection against evil. Pope Benedict XIV approved and recommended the use of the St. Benedict medal in 1742.
The back of the medal has an abbreviated prayer that is used in the Rite of Exorcism. The front of the medal bears the image of St. Benedict holding a cross. On his left and right are words meaning, “The cross of our holy father, St. Benedict.” The outer edge contains the words in Latin, “May we at our death be fortified by his presence.”
The abbreviated prayer on the back is along the outer rim. It contains the letters V R S N S M V – S M Q L I V B. These stand for…
Vade retro Satana!
Nunquam suade mihi vana!
Sunt mala quae libas.
Ipse venena bibas!
This is translated….
Do not suggest to me thy vanities!
Evil are the things thou offerest,
Drink thou thy own poison!
In order to be considered a sacramental, the St. Benedict medal must be blessed by a priest. Below is an approved prayer that can be used.
V. Our help is in the name of the Lord. R. Who made heaven and earth.
In the name of God the Father + almighty, who made heaven and earth, the seas and all that is in them, I exorcise these medals against the power and attacks of the evil one. May all who use these medals devoutly be blessed with health of soul and body. In the name of the Father + almighty, of his Son + Jesus Christ our Lord, and of the Holy + Spirit the Paraclete, and in the love of the same Lord Jesus Christ who will come on the last day to judge the living and the dead, and the world by fire.
Let us pray. Almighty God, the boundless source of all good things, we humbly, ask that, through the intercession of St. Benedict, you pour out your blessings + upon these medals. May those who use them devoutly and earnestly strive to perform good works be blessed by you with health of soul and body, the grace of a holy life, and remission of the temporal punishment due to sin. May they also, with the help of your merciful love, resist the temptations of the evil one and strive to exercise true charity and justice toward all, so that one day they may appear sinless and holy in your sight. This we ask through Christ our Lord.
The medals are then sprinkled with holy water.