I got an excellent lesson from Our Lord in humility and following His will for me this past Friday. My husband and I attended a University of Notre Dame Chorale concert at a local parish. It was extraordinary and my first experience of culture since I had my daughter 2.5 years ago. It was the type of music that makes the soul soar.
As we were heading to the concert, I took out my chapel veil to place around my neck. My husband asked me why I was going to wear it. I said that the concert is to be held in the Sanctuary. The Presence of Christ does not change just because it is not Mass. Our Lord asked me to veil in His Presence and that includes concerts. My husband understood.
We both noticed that, even though, the majority of the attendees of the concert were Catholic, the vast majority did not even genuflect towards the Tabernacle as they entered the pew. This church, which is really a cathedral, has the Tabernacle front and center. It is adorned with candles and angels. You cannot miss it. As we went to leave, the same things happened. Everyone filed out as though they were at a Concert Hall and not in the Presence of the Holy of Holies. My husband and I were both stunned.
I don’t know what Christ’s purpose is in asking me to veil other than for my own need of humility. Perhaps he also wants those of us who do veil to remind others that He is Present: body, blood, soul, and divinity, in Catholic sanctuaries. This is a sharp contrast from our Protestant brothers and sisters. We take Jesus at his word in John 6.
My husband and I ended up attending Sunday morning Mass at this same parish, it is not our home church. It turned out that Monsignor preached on the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. How fitting! This filled me with great joy and it was a welcome Homily considering the staggering statistics that 70-80% of Catholics do not accept the Church’s infallible dogma that Christ is fully present in the Eucharist. We are not ingesting a wafer. We are eating (gnawing is closer to the original text) on the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. We are united body and soul more perfectly to Him. What a great grace! What strength we are given in being allowed to receive Him bodily. We must always remember His Presence when we enter a Catholic Church.
At times it can be difficult for me to veil. I become self-conscious, but veiling is how Christ eats away at my pride. So if there is ever an event in a Catholic sanctuary, I will be veiled. You can count on it!