Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Advent Veiling Project 2013: What I've Learned

Together with my mother and my young daughter, I have been veiling for over a year and a half. Our debut veil-day was Mother's Day. My daughter was two, but oh, so adorable in her veil attached to a headband. My mother and I were far enough removed from our 'forced' head covering due to chemo that we decided to embrace this lovely tradition. Over the years, in various bulletin boards and message boards I've argued against veiling and no-pants allowed (skirts only). 

One of my objections to veiling was usually along the lines of distraction. Since 99% of people in most parishes don't veil wearing one could likely to draw attention. In addition, trying to keep something else straight - especially as a mother with young children - could distract the wearer from the beauty and sacredness of Holy Sacrament of the Mass. 

Another of my objects was vanity. I mean, veils are so fru-fru, girly, and, well, lacy they obviously became more about matching your outfit than about fitting yourself for the Mass. Even discounting all of the above, veils come in so many colors, weights, sizes, shapes, and styles. How could anyone argue that having a closet full of beautiful church clothing with matching/coordinating veils wouldn't become more of a fashion show than a show of submission?

As someone who has always, even in my college years, had a definite set of clothing for church verses clothing for dates, school, work, lounging, etc, I didn't buy into the premise of dressing nicely (and expecting others to do the same) as being 'holier-than-thou'. So when I saw people who agreed with my objections citing this as a reason, I had to step back. I read stories of women who found their Faith, peace, happiness, and submission to God increase through veiling. I began to read the history and tradition of the practice of veiling. I read about the new law 'getting rid of' the practice, but found that to be false. 

I'm a scientist by training, so I looked at the logic and parsimony of veiling. What I found lead me to discuss veiling with my mother. Not uncommonly, she and I were on the same wave-length without effort. We challenged each other and encouraged each other. Since my young daughter is a continuation of my mother and I, it was only natural to have her veil too. Not only was she absolutely adorable in her veil (I'd have to go to Confession if I denied that;-), she was also moved with the simplicity of a child to recognize this as another sign of church being different and more special than other things we did. 

Yes, our veils are pretty. Of course, being quite a bit obsessive compulsive, we do have to at least have color coordination with our clothing. Honestly (again, if I deny this I'd have to go to Confession post-haste ;-), the colors, styles, and patterns are beautiful and make me feel beautiful. However, during Mass, my focus isn't on whether my veil compliments my outfit, or if it's making me look more beautiful. During Mass, my veil serves as a reminder to move a little more carefully, focus on the altar, not my pew-mates (well, except the kiddos that belong to me), and overall bring more reverence to my participation in Mass. I do get a little thrill when I see another veiler visiting another parish or having a visiting our parish. My biggest thrills were at the March for Life in January 2013. During the opening Mass at the Bascillica in Washington, DC as well as during the Youth Mass right before the March, I saw others, some younger than me and others older than me, veiling. I just felt an extra unity with these women who covered their heads to show God the attitude from us He so richly deserves. 

So I've made a 180 degree switch in position about veiling because God lifted the veil over my eyes to let me see His glory reflected in my submissive action. Even if I do sometimes want a new veil because it's pretty, I know that the beauty of my veil does not negate the submission in my heart that leads me to veil. I can get a thrill seeing others veil without feeling holier than those who don't. Because the veil isn't about *me*; veiling is about God present in the Eucharist!

*** I created this post to join in the Advent Veiling Project 2013. Please visit http://lifeofacatholiclibrarian.blogspot.com/2013/12/advent-veiling-project-2013-linkup.html for more information, giveaways, & stories! There are at least 4 veil giveaways -- one is Veils By Lily (http://www.veilsbylily.com/). 


Birgit Jones said...

Nice! I liked reading about your 180 degree turnabout. Glad you joined our veiling blog share!

Nikita Unverzagt said...

This was a beautiful done post. Please have a wonderful Advent season, you and your family are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

I think so many have the same thoughts... You said it so well.
My friend Jill and her 7 daughters veil. It is wonderful to see...and ooh soo cute.
Love that you coordinate.
Hugs & Blessings!

Anonymous said...

So nice to read your post on veiling. I appreciate your honesty and experience.

My 9 yr. old daughter would like me to get her one too ; )

Thanks for joining!

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