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Why I Veil: A Millennial Perspective

This Lent, I started covering my head during Mass. I know, I know- off the Traddie rails, am I right? But hear me out.

I wanted Lent to be different. I wanted to be able to say that I had prepared in a way that I hadn’t the rest of the year. I really felt strongly that I should start to do this.

And guys? It was amazing.

The Sacrifice of the Mass

The biggest thing that veiling has done for me has helped me stay focused on the sacrifice of the Mass.

As a mother of two young kids, here’s what my preparation for Mass looks like. I get up (probably late) and run around like a crazy person making sure we’re all dressed and have the diaper bag and everyone is wearing shoes and coats and underwear. My son is mad that he can’t wear his football shirt. My daughter is mad because she doesn’t like to go anywhere or do anything if she has to, but would prefer to float through life without any obligations. (Me too, kid. Get in the car.) My husband stands in the wrong place or something and annoys me because he’s not in my head and I’m mad at him for not doing what I’m thinking of asking him to do because I didn’t leave enough time to get ready. Once we get to church it’s an hour of picking up thrown books, handing out this week’s Magnifikid to my daughter if I was smart enough to bring it, handing out last week’s Magnifikid to my son to color on and having him flatly reject it (sorry, you can’t read, so you don’t get your own subscription), and convincing both children that Daddy will, in fact, come back after being an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. He didn’t go away to war.

And if it’s a weekday Mass? All that an hour earlier and by myself. Do you know how much ambient noise there is at a weekday Mass? None. Do you know how much noise my tired cranky children produce? Not none.

Wearing a veil has become a physical reminder to myself that I am in the presence of God in the Blessed Sacrament. I am participating in literally the most important thing I will ever do. Not that the obligations of my family go away, but I am able to switch my mind back much faster and focus much more after distractions.

It’s Not About Me

Wearing a veil at Mass has changed the way I feel about myself as a woman in unexpected ways.One of the concepts that I love is that we veil what is sacred. The tabernacle and altar are veiled. Women are sacred- we have a duty unlike any other. We have the privilege of veiling before the Lord that men do not.

When wearing a veil at Mass, I am not Kathleen anymore. I’m not the girl that’s worried about her forehead wrinkle and that weird hair that sticks up at my hairline. I am a daughter of God, and I am able to be much more humble before Him. It is not about me.

As someone who can tend towards the sin of vanity, I had hoped that this would happen and it has truly allowed my relationship with my God to deepen.

Sacred Femininity

One thing I never expected was the way veiling would make me feel about my femininity and even my fertility.

Since I had my son four years ago, my attitude towards my fertility was that it was basically a long slog towards menopause. I had (have) grave medical and psychological reasons to avoid or postpone subsequent pregnancies. Super fun when you practice NFP and you’re not even thirty yet.

But veiling has made me focus on my femininity. That focus has made me realize that while I don’t know if I can handle a pregnancy now (or in the near future), my fertility is a sacred gift from God and not something to be merely managed. The power and privilege to have the ability to carry a child (with regards to how God designs us, not restricted to married or fertile women) is unbelievable, and I am so unbelievably lucky that I get to experience that.

Veiling is not for every woman. It is not required for Novus Ordo Masses (although I wear mine at NO Mass), and if it makes you uncomfortable this is clearly not the sacramental for you. But if you are intrigued by the idea, I suggest giving it a try. I promise, you will never think about yourself before the Blessed Sacrament in the same way again.

 

About Kathleen Kirchner

Kathleen is a cradle Catholic, but on a journey to greater understanding and reverence. Formerly a historian specializing in Vatican foreign policy and Jewish-Catholic relations, now she homeschools her two young children and tries to get them interested in...anything other than Netflix. Married to Matt, her engineer and personal Geek Squad for five years and counting. If it's not the school day, you can usually find her playing with makeup, reading a book, or napping. You can read her personal blog at www.pencilsandeyelashes.com

  • Lori - I started veiling because we had a young priest who re-introduced the EF on Saturday mornings. I found it difficult to justify wearing a veil to EF mass but not the NO mass so I wear it every Sunday. I wish more women would at least try it.June 15, 2017 – 9:37 pmReplyCancel

  • Lynn - Thank you so much for sharing your experience and perspective on veiling. As a 45 year old mom with kids ranging from age 17 to 1, I can certainly understand the scramble out the door and the constant distractions at Mass. I also understand the struggle to see my fertility and my role as a mother through God’s eyes so to speak. I’ve noticed a number of young women recently veiling at Mass. This helps me to understand why. I guess perhaps in my own mind I am always struggling to lift the veil and see things as they really are. That imagery is so strong in my mind that to wear a veil at Mass would seem very out of place for me. Of course the two are not the same, but one need not always be logical when it comes to your personal relationship with God. Blessings to you.June 16, 2017 – 10:05 pmReplyCancel

  • Alicia - I like you thought for Lent(2016)I am going to start wearing a chapel veil. It’s 40 days. After Lent I will decide whether it was a sacrifice or a Blessing. Going back a year, in the fall of 2015 I had been pondering the whole veiling thing. I am in the choir and cantor at Saturday vigil mass. All I could think about is “what will people say?” “Why am I trying to bring attention to myself?” at that point, if those were the things I was concerned about I wasn’t ready to veil. So I prayed and waited, and prayed and waited. Then in December, I decided I would try veiling at Lent. On new year’s eve at vigil mass for Mary, the Mother of God
    It was FREEZING cold outside, below freezing and not much warmer in church. I had a pashmina (shawl) over my shoulders for extra warmth. The Holy Spirit swooped down upon me or maybe it was the Blessed Mother, but I felt compelled to cover my head. After that, it was history. I started veiling on that Holy Day and haven’t stopped since. I went to the fabric store and made an infinity scarf of lace. I dyed it a light brown so I wasn’t wearing a white veil and I didn’t want to wear a black one either. The color was neutral. I felt grounded. I felt focused, I too felt closer to the Blessed Mother. It’s really hard to participate in the mass when I am constantly worrying about the next song or mass part. Wearing a veil puts me in the mass. I don’t care what people might be thinking. I’m at mass for one and only one person…Jesus!June 18, 2017 – 10:51 pmReplyCancel

  • Catholic Sistas Post: Why I Veil – Pencils and Eyelashes - […] the rest of the post  over on Catholic Sistas. And follow them for some seriously amazing spiritual […]June 27, 2017 – 5:27 pmReplyCancel

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