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Veiling Through the Joyful Mysteries

In June I shared ‘Lifting the Veil…’, a post about my decision to begin veiling. In reading the subsequent comments, I found renewed vigor in my resolve to veil and gained insight into addressing many of the questions that arose concerning my reasoning behind this devotional act. Contrary to the objection that veiling is an act of drawing attention to oneself, my logic is much more personal and spiritual. It was also edifying to note a comment relaying that, after she noting my personal reasoning, it occurred to a reader that it was legitimate to consider personal piety as outweighing cosmetic vanity. Equally heartening was a comment from the male perspective. Evidently some priests and other males see veiling as…

“one of very few symbols that manages to say something good and positive about the dignity of Christian women and girls”.

For those of us who often worry about what others think, being the rare veiler in your parish also presents an opportunity for mortification. Contrary to some popular assumptions, drawing attention to oneself is not the intent; it is actually a hurdle to overcome. Neither is veiling relevant to location. Veiling is certainly more prevalent at the Vatican, Latin Mass, or EWTN but isn’t it the same Jesus present in each and every sanctuary? With this acknowledgment comes the revelation that veiling is purely in submission to and respect for the Presence of God – wherever He is.

The reading from Ephesians we heard recently also gives great insight into this aspect of respect – as a two-way street. We wives are called to be subject to our husbands even as they are admonished to love us as much as they love their own bodies. Men are also called to honor their wives as God honors the Church. The full message is to “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ”. As our priest explained, sacred scripture is not to be taken one line at a time and misused with the intention to abuse someone. It is to be taken as a mirror of God’s relationship with us. When both man and woman (Jesus and Church), employ their proper and complimentary roles, there is equal dignity and harmony for the good of all. Therefore, when I veil, I show respect not just for Jesus present in the Eucharistic Sacrament but also for the dignity of my role as a woman.

Returning to scripture, we can call to mind how, when Saint Veronica encountered Jesus carrying His cross, she took off her veil and He wiped His face with it. When He handed it back to her, the image of His face remained and gave a special blessing to the practice of veiling. This event is still honored in most Catholic Churches in the form of the Stations of the Cross. The name Veronica – vera icon (true icon) – comes from this occasion. We can also look to Our Blessed Mother for the symbolism of humility and submission to Christ. Statues of her appear in all Catholic Churches as well and we are called to emulate her ‘yes’ to the call from God. This leads me to meditate on veiling as I pray the Rosary.

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Veiling Through the Joyful Mysteries

The Annunciation (Humility) – Mary learns from the Angel Gabriel that God wishes her to be the mother of God and humbly accepts. (Luke 1:26-38)

When I first felt the call to veil, it was a tiny whisper. I didn’t know why I wanted to veil or even if my desire was pure. After prayer, discernment, and discussion with my husband, I felt ready to commit and say my own ‘yes’ to God. Veiling is not as much about the outer sign as it is about the inward resolve to be a better daughter of God, sister of Jesus, living with the Grace granted by the Spirit.

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The Visitation (Love of Neighbor) – Mary goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth and is praised by her as “blessed among women.”(Luke 1:39-56)

When I wear my veil, I hope to be a comfort to others. I strive to display modesty and the unique feminine qualities that only women and girls possess. In a world that is stark in its lack of respect for the unique gifts of women, I want to be there for my sisters in Christ and give them comfort and solace and maybe the courage to look deeply into their own femininity and thus strive to praise God in stature, dress, and voice.

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The Nativity (Poverty of Spirit) – Mary gives birth to Jesus in the stable at Bethlehem.(Luke 2:1-20)

With the dawning of every new day, we are born again to a new opportunity to live as a child of God. All distractions, failings, and fears from yesterday are gone and we are invited to strive for sainthood anew. With the donning of my veil, I say to Jesus, that I am ready to take on the challenge – of being the best me I can be, regardless of history or failures in previous attempts.

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The Presentation (Purity of Mind and Body) – Mary and Joseph present Jesus to His Heavenly Father in the Temple of Jerusalem forty days after His birth.(Luke 2:22-39)

We present ourselves to God upon entry into His house. We go there to seek Him out, to ask His blessing, to petition for our most basic needs, and to honor and glorify Him. When I place the veil upon my head, I am signaling to myself and to anyone who cares to take notice, that my intention is to humble myself in His presence.

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Finding the Christ child in the Temple (Obedience) – After searching for three days, Mary and Joseph find the twelve-year-old Jesus sitting in the Temple discussing the law with the learned doctors.(Luke 2:42-52).

We find ourselves in body of Christ. We did not ask to be brought there but are instead drawn there by answering our Father’s call. He wants us for Himself and when I veil, I find it to be a sacramental way to show that I am His.

 

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Fruits of the Mysteries of the Rosary – http://www.rosary-center.org/joyful.htm

Scripture references – http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/prayers/rosary/annunciation.htm#ixzz24foLoG31

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New Year’s luck: let Jesus be your ‘Dumbo feather’!

Happy New Year!

Black-eye peas for prosperity, noodles for long life, ham for progress, cabbage for riches – these are some of the New Years foods to which good luck is attributed. In our secular world, much stock is given to all types of superstition throughout the year. While this may offer a bit of entertainment, the danger lies in assigning a weight to them that is beyond harmless fun. As with many questionable beliefs, there are also logical ways to explain what seems at first blush, to be magical. In reading an article in my January issue of Women’s Day entitled Make Your Own Luck, I found an enlightening take on just such things.

While the article also does not imply that there is such a thing as ‘luck’ it does give some interesting parallels between those who are ‘lucky’ and their views of life in general. You see, those who consider themselves lucky have certain characteristics that invite ‘luck’. They are observant, willing to be flexible, and prone to expecting a good outcome.

Interesting….

Before we go on, however, let’s explore what Mother Church has to say. For the record, horoscopes, fortune cookies, good luck charms, etc. are taboo in our Catholic faith. They give an authority to something that is not of God and attempt to usurp His Almighty Power which, rightfully, belongs only to Him. One has only to read about the Third Commandment in the Catechism of the Catholic Church to ascertain that:

III. “YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME”

Divination and magic

2115 God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.

2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future.48 Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.

There is, however, something useful to be learned from those who are ‘lucky’. We can quickly make the connection with those who are bright in their outlook and their seemingly ‘lucky’ existence. If you keep your eye on the brass ring and reach for it, no matter how unattainable it seems, you are bound to come up with a bit of good fortune as a matter of course. Unlike those who appear to operate on a negative outlook, those who achieve are always on the lookout for the good in life. Their goals are set high, which assures that they will always be spurred to do their best. This way of thinking goes nicely with our belief that we are all saints in the making – a seemingly unattainable goal. How much higher can a goal be, than to reach all the way to a Heavenly home? How much more preferable is it, then, to grasp for a life that emulates our heroes – the saints – who have already achieved?

In order to make our own ‘luck’ we must be willing to make changes for the better. While the comfort of the old and familiar is certainly a temptation, we must be willing to open ourselves up to the new directions that God places in our hearts. Sometimes these new directions can be frightening in their feeling of insecurity and lack of the familiar. But we do have a ‘net’ to catch us if we fall – His Name is Jesus! So in order to advance in an entirely new direction, we must give ourselves over, completely, to His call – whether in a whisper or in a shout!

Even something as inane as a good luck charm can warrant a closer look.  It’s not the ‘good luck charm’ at all, but how that object makes you feel; it simply gives its owner a sense of well-being and confidence. My sister and I often joke about being a Dumbo Feather to each other. You remember the big-eared baby elephant of Disney fame who could fly, only if he held his ‘magic’ feather? We know that we can accomplish most of what we set out to do, but the little bit of  a boost we feel from the support of the other, takes us to new heights.
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Our Catholic faith also gives us objects to help us literally ‘feel’ the confidence we need to achieve. They are sacramentals and our faith prevents us from assigning a superstitious quality or ability to them. But they can aid us in reaching for Heaven because Mother Church, in her wisdom, encourages blessed objects for our spiritual use. Wearing my Four Way Medal, for example, gives me a physical reminder of the power of God and prayer. I often find myself touching it throughout the day as a reminder that I am not alone – not because it offers a magical protection – but because it reminds me that Jesus, His Mother, and His Angels walk, unseen, beside me through any struggle. Our rosaries, statues, and Holy Water are there as well, to offer a strengthening reminder of our faith as we strive for holiness.

Armed with our faith in God and a willingness to be open, we can achieve unbelievable success. Our eyes (and minds) simply need to be receptive to the good things in our lives. We need to be flexible in our thinking and willing to take action on faith alone – knowing that we have our support system in place. With the sacraments and sacramentals our Mother Church provides we can attain the seemingly impossible.  Jesus is there and is more than willing to be our Dumbo Feather, no matter what obstacles appear to be in our path. So fly to the highest heights and achieve the greatest goal of humanity – armed with everything you need to succeed in this life and the next!

Jesus, I trust in You!

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‎”Dear God,
I am so afraid to open my clenched fists!
Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?
Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?
Please help me to gradually open my hands
and to discover that I am not what I own,
but what you want to give me.
And what you want to give me is love,
unconditional, everlasting love.
Amen.”

— Henri J.M. Nouwen
(The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life)