The Weight of the (Chapel) Veil
The process by which I answered the call to veil was slow and discerning. As a list maker, I began to weigh the pros and cons in my mind and eventually wrote several posts outlining my thoughts. Venturing out of our comfort zone is often that way. We ponder and forget, remember and reassess, until a decision is made. It was a measured consideration for me, but a decision I have not regretted making these past six years of practicing the devotion. One deterrent, for me, was the impression my veiling would give to others. What would they think or say? Would someone comment negatively? Would it be like my attempt at being a Lector and have me so nervous I couldn’t properly assist at the Holy Sacrifice of Mass? Evaluating my intention was probably the thorniest obstacle.
The Decision to Veil
In making the decision to veil, I assigned a motive to the action. The questions, and subsequent answers were a great help to me. Was I doing this for me? For others? Was this a spiritually sound concept for me? In the end, I found my answer and on Mother’s Day of 2012 I wore my veil to Mass for the first time. After the initial period of becoming accustomed to my veil, wearing it became second nature. Feeling the weight of the veil on my head is a tangible reminder of where I am and Who I am there to see. An added bonus is the amount of mental privacy it affords. As someone who is very much a fan of ‘personal space’, I appreciate the intimacy veiling affords me while I pray. Distractions become less disturbing and my focus sharpens. I am truly in a world my own world – with Jesus.
Outward Cues of Respect
There is, however, another aspect to wearing a veil. As with any outward cues we give to those around us, a woman who practices the devotion of veiling is making a public statement. She is demonstrating her respect and reverence – for Jesus, present in the Eucharist, and for herself. To carry this statement to fruition, certain commitments must also be met. She is presenting herself as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. In wearing the veil a woman emulates the humility of our Blessed Mother Mary. With this comes a set of obligations. If veiling is an outward sign, then there must also be inward signs. The weight of the veil becomes about more than covering, focus, or devotion. To be beneficial to the eternal soul, we must transform ourselves. Are we simply displaying our faith on our heads or are we transformed interiorly? To be true devotees the answer requires both. Are we more charitable, more giving, and more sacrificial? Is there true humility or is sinful pride present? Do we volunteer to assist the parish in service to others? Do we pray more deeply, fervently?
Making a commitment to veil requires motivation yet the ideal, put into practice, is even more important. Those of us who choose to follow this devotion are in it for the long term. We understand and commit to the implication it carries. To emulate the Blessed Mother, to veil our feminine God-given attributes, and to offer ourselves entirely to Jesus – these all go hand in hand with act of this devotion. For if we wish to pattern our lives after Mary’s, we must look beyond the surface. The devotion should indicate an inner holiness and submission to the will of God. If the resolve is to be taken seriously and the Lord is to recognize our gift of self, our actions must speak fully and without reservation. Otherwise we are no more than the clanging gong of self congratulatory vanity.