Devotion: Lifting the Veil Onto My Head
Editor Note: A prior version of this post was initially published in 2012. I am sharing an updated version here because the optional devotion of veiling is seeing a resurgence – especially among younger women.
I have contemplated wearing a chapel veil to Mass for a while now. At 54, I am just old enough to remember going to Catholic school and being instructed to cover my head by the religious sisters who taught us. My mother, sister and I also wore veils on Sundays. As with other devotions of our beautiful Catholic faith, this traditional sign of reverence and humility was cast aside, however, when Vatican II was introduced to the people in the pew.
While quite a number of good things came from properly implementing this Church council, abuses appeared from those attracted to the novelty of change for the sake of change. Some practices were mistakenly altered or eliminated while others were mistakenly (or blatantly) introduced. Examples of the former: some religious sisters stopped wearing their habits (and women their chapel veils) although there had been no official instruction to do so. Many no longer abstained from meat, without the substitution of another act of piety, on Fridays outside of the Lenten Season. An illustrated of the later is ‘feel good’ homilies instead of firmly instructional ones. Another is the introduction of holding hands during the Our Father – which is not in the Rubrics.
The Devotion Calls
Similar to the calling I received from God before making the decision to homeschool, this latest whisper has been persistent even as it has been subtle. Little nudges in the form of blog posts, such as this one over at Catholic Sistas, brought that little niggling thought back to my consciousness time and time again. My adult daughter and I had casual conversations about veiling but still, I never felt strongly enough to commit. The final pull came from a very dear friend of mine with whom I had lost touch. When we ran into her at the 65th anniversary Mass of one of our priests, I commented about the chapel veil she was wearing. Her humble reply, simply stated, gave me the courage to strengthen my resolve.
Invitation to Follow a Holy Example
Mary, the mother of God, covered her head as did many pious women throughout history. We are admonished time and again by scripture about 1) prideful actions 2) blurring of lines between the genders 3) immodest attire and actions 4) submission to the Will of God. Armed with this re-enlightenment and after careful consideration, I gratefully accepted her offer of borrowing a veil and giving it a try. She told me that, once I began to veil, I would feel bare without it. My creative side won out, though, and I found myself at the fabric store one day to purchase the lace to make my own. On the ride home, my husband and I discussed the idea and challenged my reasoning. In the end, the decision was made. Along with my daughter and her two-year old, I would begin to begin this devotion on Mother’s Day.
Although I am still getting used to the practice, I find it unexpectedly calming. I feel more ‘in tune’ with what is happening at Mass. His presence is more vivid with this outward demonstration of my intent to ‘let go and let God’. It will take a few more weeks for veiling to become a deeply entrenched habit but I am seeing the benefits. As for my little two-year old granddaughter, she is a natural. Quite an energetic and precocious little girl, it is surprising how she eagerly keeps her little veil in place. One Sunday, she actually resisted removing it after we left church. All in all, I am confident that the correct decision (for me) was made. I find veiling both humbling and comforting, each of which are welcome feelings. So from now on, I will lift the veil onto my head before I enter His house!
More About How and Why to Veil
Update: Since June 2012 there are several more posts on this topic. Check them out below.