Ave Explores Series | Art and Architecture | Week 4

Holy Reminders of What Really Matters

by Emily Jaminet


“Sacred Heart of Jesus”
 Copyrighted Classic Image by Adolfo Simeone
Used by permission from Cromo NB Italy


When we graduated from college, my three roommates and I received a unique gift from my parents—beautifully framed, matching images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As each of us headed off to new cities, started our careers, and got married, this image served as a powerful reminder of what would always ground us in our life journeys: a desire to follow Jesus.

At the time I was most grateful for the check that was in the envelope with my gift, but over the years what remains is the artwork that now hangs in my home. It is a constant reminder that my greatest desire should be to have a heart like Jesus. Sacred artwork serves as a holy reminder of what matters in our lives.

You can learn a lot about people by what they choose to put on their walls.

Over the years, I have developed a collection of beautiful artwork that is strategically placed throughout my house to inspire, remind, and invite my whole family to pray. The Sacred Heart of Jesus image I received at graduation now hangs in my bedroom to remind me to pray my morning prayers each day when I wake. I also have lovely images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary in my front room where I like to sit and pray in the midday sun. These images are more than a hundred years old and were once in a Catholic school in Cincinnati before making their way to an antique mall and then to me.

In my home office, I have a huge painting depicting the story found in Matthew 19:14 where Jesus says, “Let the children come to me.” In it, Christ is holding an infant and reaching out to a throng of small children clamoring to be close to him as parents attempt to hold them back. As I work each day, this painting serves as a constant reminder of both how I should approach my relationship with our Lord and how I should parent my children, always endeavoring to focus first on fostering their spiritual development and love for God before worrying about all the other things which can distract me.

Through the ministry work I do to promote enthronement to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I have been privileged to visit many homes where families have chosen to welcome the Sacred Heart into their lives. In Columbus, Ohio, alone we are aware of more than 2,750 homes who have done this Christian ceremony and welcomed our Lord. The objective of this powerful outreach program is to promote the practice of placing an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in homes as a way of honoring our Lord, welcoming him into everyday life and developing a deeper, more personal relationship with him.

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque received visions from our Lord starting around 1673 in France. In those visions, our Lord expressed his deep love for mankind and how devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus could offer new graces and hope. The promises shared with St. Margaret Mary are summarized in “The Twelve Promises.” The promise that pertains to this act of enthronement is “I will bless every place in which my image of my Heart is exposed and honored.”

This promise is especially important now since the sacraments are not readily available to us because of COVID-19. Sacramentals such as holy images and icons are wonderful holy reminders that elevate us and prod us to not forget the faith we are called to live out. 

One thing that has surprised me while visiting homes of faithful Catholics to witness enthronements is that while many Catholics have an abundance of good reading materials, Bibles, or rosaries, most don’t display any religious art at all. In fact, many who had thought about enthroning their homes to the Sacred Heart held off for years because they didn’t know where to place the image. For many it is a big decision to welcome our Lord into their home in a formal way and take the step of displaying the image and allowing others to see it. Doing so means stepping out of your comfort zone and making something often viewed as private or interior (faith) into something open for all to see. While this is certainly understandable, I would encourage anyone who is hesitant to consider it. Overwhelmingly those who do so confess that despite having hesitation, they now can’t imagine not having these sacred images present to inspire them.

Additionally, when we display sacred artwork we are choosing to not only give a physical witness to our faith, but we are inviting our Lord into our lives to offer a new means of sanctification and grace. It has been said that Catholics ought to strive to make our home another Bethany—to welcome Jesus into the ordinary moments of our lives right in our homes with the people we love, just as Jesus’ friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus did in theirs.

When we place these holy reminders throughout our home, we elevate our minds toward the sacred in the midst of the daily tasks that sanctify us.

Download this article as a PDF here.

Emily Jaminet is the executive director of the Sacred Heart Enthronement. She is the author of the forthcoming Secrets of the Sacred Heart (fall 2020) and coauthor of the bestselling and award-winning Divine Mercy for Moms, The Friendship Project, and Pray Fully. Inspirethefaith.com.



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Based on Your Reading

The Church Building as a Sacred Place by Duncan G. StroikSacred Art is Ever Ancient, Ever New by Daniel MitsuiFaith Shines Forth by Jen NortonDreaming a Catholic Aesthetic The Power of Art to Transform by J.D. Childs