March 1, 2019

Why I Wear a Veil

A lovely friend of mine recently wrote to ask why I veil for Mass and Adoration.  This is what I told her.  I hope it might help you, too, if you are discerning adding a veil to your devotional practices.

My family thinks I'm "a little out there," a la "The Church Lady."  No one else in my extended family veils and at the time that I first started wearing one, I didn't know ANYone else who did, either.  But, I had seen other women in church veiling and wondered about it....

Then, the Church revised the wording of the Mass with Advent 2011.  I prayed a *LOT* about whether or not to veil, then felt a pull toward, "new Church year; new devotion to help me focus."  At the time, my youngest was only seven months old and the rest of our family's pew was filled with all six impatient, squirming children, with me at one end and my husband far away at the other.  It was nigh on *impossible* for me to focus on Mass.  At.  All.  Much less for an entire hour.

As a result, I was increasingly impatient, annoyed, self-pitying, and resentful that I couldn't manage one measly hour a week before the Lord!  Ugh!  Then, I saw veils.  And I noticed that, in a gentle sort of way, they were like blinkers or blinders on a horse.

I grew up around horses.  Horses' eyes are set far on opposite sides of their heads as one of their methods of self defense -- they have almost a 360 degree view of everything around them.  Consequently, they see (and react!) to EVERYTHING.

Along came blinders.  You've seen them -- the Budweiser Clydesdales and Amish buggy horses wear square ones on their bridles and Thoroughbred race horses wear spherical ones on a hood on their face.  The blinders narrow the horse's frame of vision so he focuses ONLY on what's ahead of him.

Ahhhhhhhh.  As in every moment of my life as a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, I was surrounded on all sides by a miniature Barbarian Hoard.  Almost.  All sides but one.  What was in front of me in church?  The tabernacle -- literally, because we sit up front for the benefit of our eldest son (which really winds up benefiting us all!).

Wearing a veil became my literal and figurative blinders.  In many instances, it literally obscures my peripheral vision.  In all instances, it is a lightweight, tangible reminder of where I am, Who is present, and what I am there to do.

Worship.  Him.

It's that simple.

Worship.  Him.

My veil becomes my blinders.  My prayer tent.  My spiritual security blanket.  My smack on the head to pay attention.  My reminder that I am on holy ground, in the presence of Almighty God, a humble creature before her Creator.

It does not make me MORE humble or more reverent or more special than anyone else there.  If anything, while a veil *IS* special (because it's only for a woman in the Real Presence), it reminds me that I'm NOT the most special.  I am the least before Him.  It is such a wonderful, freeing, comforting train of thought, almost like being a child again and obliviously having my late father lovingly take care of.... everything.

The same kids were still squirming.  The same distractions were all still there, whether in my head or all around me.  And the same God was still present in the same way in the same tabernacle where He always was.  But, now I had a tangible touchstone to remind me.

It was like the time I confessed to a priest about being distracted too often during the rosary.

"Do you come back to it?" he asked.

I frowned.  "Of course."

He smiled.  "Then, that is an even greater grace.  To be pulled away, whether by the devil or by honest distractions, and to CHOOSE to return to it can be an even greater grace."

My veil reminds me to keep coming back, despite the distractions.

Today, I feel naked and amiss if I enter a Catholic church without my veil.  So, I keep it in my purse (with an extra for anyone else!  I've given away three since I started veiling!).  It's kind of like "appropriate dress and comportment" for me.  I wouldn't wear stilettos to the barn, nor pajamas to my boss's dinner party.  I wouldn't chew gum in a job interview, but I would make sure I brushed my teeth.  My veil just feels... right, in every way, in the Real Presence of Our Lord.

And that, in the immortal words of Paul Harvey, is the rest of the story!


That also, my dear friend, is probably waaaaay more than you really wanted to know!  I scrolled back through this and was going to delete it, but decided to be honest and send it "as is."

Wearing a veil is simple and complex, all at the same time.  I hope this is helpful to you in discerning your own devotions!  The video entitled "The Chapel Veil" by "True Faith TV" on YouTube also is well-done.

Thank you!  Please be assured of my prayers! ❤️