Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What's That On Your Head? Or Wearing a Chapel Veil.

A few months ago, I felt a call to begin to veil myself during the Mass. It was after I had completed my Consecration to Mary, which is a whole other blog post to write on another day. I get asked regularly why it is that I veil myself. I believe it is an important thing to have literature for women to look to about this calling and understand it more fully.

First, what is a veil? For those of you who don't know, a veil (or mantilla as some refer to it), is a veil worn on the head of a woman during Mass or when in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament (read: Adoration). This practice is seen as being no longer obligatory due to the changes made in Vatican II in 1959, but contrary to this popular belief, there was nothing saying that it was no longer an obligation. Does this mean that all women that don't wear it have fallen out with the Catholic Church? Nope. But just know that the Church does still encourage and support this practice.

Jackie Kennedy looking beautiful in her mantilla
So what lead to my own conviction of this practice?

It's a two-fold answer:

First, obedience and humility. During my Consecration to Mary, I was beginning to see more and more the beauty in obedience and humility. Here is a woman who was strong and intelligent-- enough so to not only know that Jesus could perform a miracle at the wedding feast of Cana but to expect him to do so even after he had told her, "Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come" (John 2:4). Despite this, she still was ever humble and obedient to the God, as she is known as the fiat. Fiat was the Latin word used for Mary's yes as she said, "Let it be done according to your word" (Luke 1:38). She continued to show this obedience to God by raising Christ and staying by Him even to His dying breath on the cross. Her humility is evident that even though she is known as the Queen of Heaven and Earth, she is still human and embraces her humanity.

As a woman, I strive to imitate our Blessed Mother in her example as a humble and obedient woman when I attend Mass by veiling myself. Although I worried at first about drawing attention to myself, I have realized that what it does is draw attention to the Truth in the Mass-- the True Presence of Christ. For a woman to cover her head shows the significance of the Mass. As women, we often are concerned with our appearances, but the veil covers your head-- which let's all be honest and admit that we've caught ourselves fixing our hair in Mass-- and causes you to focus on the present moment and the reason that you are in the chapel in the first place: Christ.

Which brings me to my second, and even more important, reason: The Eucharist. As a Catholic, I believe that Christ is present-- body, blood, soul, and divinity-- in the Eucharist at Mass. I believe that every time I receive the Eucharist, I consummate the relationship I have with Him. My relationship with Christ is every bit as real and intimate as it is with a husband. He is, as Fulton Sheen called Him, the Tremendous Lover. That name for Christ completed this decision of mine because it allowed me to realize the truth, which is that as a member of the Church, Christ is my bridegroom. When I receive Him, I am taking part in the greatest wedding feast and able to consummate this love that we share in a very real and tangible way. So as a bride, why would I not want to veil myself? It is an outward sign of my inward joy, of just how special an occasion this is! It is a symbol of my devotion and commitment to this relationship I have.

So there you have it, why I wear my mantilla to Mass. I know that many people feel uncomfortable confronting someone, especially a stranger, about something that seems so intimate, but I feel that it's important to have something that women can read more about, especially something that's actually written by a woman.

I wanted to end with follow up articles from other women on why they wear their veil, but I was unable to find any great resources on this. Many were written by men, so link them below in a comment!

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