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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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