Veiling and the Real Presence of Christ

image

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!
My daughter was trying my veil on yesterday.
My daughter was trying my veil on yesterday.

Why I Veil: Advent Veiling Project

20131202-210218.jpg

Today I am linking up with the Advent Veil Project. I am really excited because I am pretty new to veiling and I love it. I started veiling on Holy Thursday 2013. It was never something I expected to do, in fact I had never seen anyone veil except when I went to Mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. Growing up in Montana, it just was no longer done.

When I met my husband and started joining him for Mass at his parish, we met a couple who were married in the Extraordinary Form and she veiled. It was foreign to me at first. They both received the Holy Eucharist kneeling on the stone floor, even when she was pregnant. Their piety impressed me. They were such humble and loving people. It was then that I felt a slight nudge to veil.

Alas, my husband and I left that lovely parish shortly after our wedding in order to move to Southwest Virginia. We had to search for a parish for months. I just like to say “the Spirit of Vatican II” was strong here, so we finally found our current parish 6 months after moving to the area.

I immediately joined the Sanctity of Life Committee and became friends with Christine, and I noticed that she veiled. She was the only woman in the entire parish who veiled regularly. I once again started to get a slow push, but put it on the back burner.

I had reservations about veiling. First off, my own pride. I was worried that I would be prideful and boast in my veil. The opposite has happened actually. Veiling reminds me that I am small before The Lord. It gives me a sense of reverence, especially when I go up to receive the body, blood, soul, and divinity of my Savior.

Second, I was worried about what other people thought. This is also tied to pride. It is a deadly sin I am an unhappy fan of these days. I thought someone would say something nasty to me or people would not talk to me. That has happened to a friend of mine. In actuality not a single person as mentioned it. In fact, one woman asked me where I got my veil. I wear the Black Eternity Veil from Liturgical Time. Check out their giveaway this week! She ended up ordering one and wears it pretty regularly. There are actually at least 4 or 5 women who veil on a regular basis in our parish now. Many of them are my fellow Lay Dominicans (or in the process like me).

Third, I wanted to make sure that it was Christ who was calling me to veil. Earlier this year as I sat at Mass I felt a tremendous urge to veil. I felt like the Holy Spirit was no longer nudging, but kicking. So, I told my husband about my decision. It took him a little while to adjust, but now it is routine.

I could also give the theological or Scriptural reasons for veiling, but honestly, I believe that Christ called me to veil and I submitted. It is not required, nor do I believe that all women should have to veil, unless at an Extraordinary Form Mass. I feel extremely feminine in my veil. I feel a close connection to Our Lady as she is almost always depicted in statues or paintings with a head covering, which was the norm of that time.

If you are considering trying the veil, I say pray about it and then go for it. As Blessed John Paul II always said, “Be Not Afraid”. If you are called to veil, then it is a decision between you and God. It does not matter what anyone else thinks about your decision. That should not matter at all. I have been greatly blessed in the months that I have veiled so far. I cannot imagine not veiling now. I hope you have a very blessed Advent season.

Have you thought about veiling?