The devotion originated with Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey, SS.CC., the great apostle of the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in homes as a fulfilment of the desire of Our Lord "I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honoured." In 1907, he was healed of serious illness while visiting Paray-le-Monial, the scene of the apparitions of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary. From that time, he dedicated himself to promoting the Enthronement of images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in homes, schools, hospitals, religious houses and all manner of institution. It was a fitting prelude to the act of Pope Pius XI, by his Encyclical Quas Primas establishing the feast of Christ the King to remind the world of the dominion of Christ over the whole universe.
However, it is not enough to display the image of the Sacred Heart, it must be honoured too. The devotion of Night Adorer promises to make one hour of adoration once a month during the night between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. In 1930, Father Mateo wrote:
"More than twenty years ago I launched my first appeal to generous souls to watch one hour at night in the home in reparation to the Sacred Heart for the sins of families. Mv invitation was intended for a chosen few - faithful friends of the Sacred Heart - the “little flock” of adorers who, once a month would offer consolation to the Master during the hours of the night, when He is so outraged and insulted by the sins of His so-called “friends.”
"The response to the first appeal was overwhelming: a veritable Palm Sunday of “Hosannas” to the King, rising from thousands and thousands of family sanctuaries all over the world, sanctuaries wherein an army of Night Adorers is watching during the night in a spirit of love, of social reparation and apostolate. Truly, we may say an army of perpetual adorers who, “from the rising of the sun until the going down thereof,” in union with the priests offering the Holy Sacrifice of Mass, are making reparation for the sins of men.
"Here in this great country, the number of Night Adorers is already well over the one hundred thousand mark, and perhaps even higher than we realize, for there are many who sacrifice an hour of their sleep each month and even more often, whose names are known only to the Sacred Heart.
"If, twenty years ago, I was convinced of the necessity and importance of penance in the sanctuary of the home itself, I am convinced now more than ever before. The attack on the home, the last line of defense of Christian civilization, has been intensified, and pagan ways and pagan customs have invaded the homes that should be other Nazareths, to such an extent that many - far too many - superficial Catholic families are lifting their voices with those of the enemies of Christ: “We will not have this man reign over us!” If reparation is not made by penance for this modern betrayal, in the home itself, then may we expect and fear the swift punishment of a merciful but just God avenging the sacrilegious violation of a sanctuary consecrated by the Incarnation and Birth of His own Divine Son.
"I say that 1 am more than ever convinced of the necessity of penance in the home itself. Naturally I praise and admire the great effort being made on all sides to develop the Eucharistic spirit in the church, and while I heartily applaud this splendid Christian idea, I must say that I cling more strongly still to the no less high ideal of Eucharistic Adoration in the home. Those really acquainted with the spirit of reparation of our crusade, and its transcendent importance in the home, will readily understand the “why” of this preference on my part for the Eucharistic Adoration within the family circle.
"Not every one is able to make the hour of Eucharistic Adoration in the church, particularly at night. Must they be deprived, then, of the honor and privilege of consoling the Divine Prisoner, alone and forsaken in so many tabernacles? By no means! In the sanctuary of their homes, let them prostrate themselves in spirit before the tabernacle, and, in union with the Priests who at that moment, in some part of the world, are offering the Sacrifice of Calvary to the Trinity, let them adore, praise, petition and atone in the name of their own and other families who offend and sadden the Sacred Heart by their daily denial of His rights as King.
"I think there is no stronger, no better way to stress the beauty and necessity of family prayer, of penance and Eucharistic spirit, than by developing this threefold spirit in the home where the Sacred Heart has been enthroned in spirit and in truth. I would even dare affirm that the truest Catholic families are those that have understood the beauty and the duty of offering the homage of prayer and penance in the sanctuary of the home, where the family lives, struggles and where we die.
"Once more then, Christian fathers and mothers, sons and daughters - all you who love the Sacred Heart, Priests and Sisters as well as the Laity, once more I appeal to you in His Name and for His outraged honor and glory, make reparation in a spirit of generous love and penance, for the fatal modern social apostasy of the home.
"Will you not offer to watch one hour once a month with the Adorable Master during His mortal agony to which He is everywhere subject? Is it asking too much of you to sacrifice one hour of your sleep once a month to console the sorrowful Heart of the King, when so many are devoting hours and even entire nights to sins which afflict and insult Him? Is not this the least we can offer? Prove that you are His faithful friends!
"I have never been disappointed in American Catholics, and I am convinced that I will not be disappointed now. To the thousands already giving consolation to the King, many more will come to Him as did the consoling Angel in the Garden of Olives. But - and this is most important - only generous and fervent souls are wanted, not those who think to console Him by night and insult Him by day, or those who try to make up in one hour for the offenses they have committed during the rest of the month.
"And this is particularly true of those so-called Christian women, who by their pagan attitude, especially as regards dress, are piercing the Heart of Christ and His Blessed Mother. I am appealing to a select few now, as I appealed before. It is not the crowds of Palm Sunday we want, but the little band of faithful friends who stood by the Cross of Jesus as He died amid the taunts and insults of His own people. To them I stretch out my hands, pleading in the name of the Divine Outcast....what is your answer?"