You may recall, that is, if I even told you, that in August of this past year I began attending the Extraordianry Form of the Mass, in addition to the Novus Ordo. This entailed the obvious wearing a mantilla. At that point, I was only wearing the mantilla while assisting at the EF, although I had been drawn to the idea of veiling at every Mass for quite some time. It was one of those things that I had been attracted to, but too scared to actually try.
Attending the EF gave me the opportunity to become comfortable wearing a veil, and helped me to realize why it is done.
In November, I spent a weekend with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist (DSMME). One of my friends who was also to be attending the retreat advised me to bring my mantilla, as many girls who discern the order veil. Since that weekend, I have begun wearing the veil at every Mass, and whenever in the presence of the Eucharistic Lord.
("Starter Veil" from VeilsByLily)
Believe me, this was no easy transition for me. I remember walking into a daily NO Mass the first day that I decided to continue wearing the Mantilla. I could just feel the stares on the back of my veiled head, and boy, were they intimidating! I sat down in my usual place, up in the front of the Church, next to my friend who is a youth minister. She gave me a kind of odd look, but simply said something to the effect of, "oh, you're veiling now?"
In all honesty, she probably saw this coming, as my spirituality has been leaning more and more to the TRAD side... The rest of the congregation, not so much. Thankfully, I didn't get too many questions about it. I thought for sure I would...
This is probably a result of the fact that most of the people in the congregation were around before Vatican II. Thus, they know what the deal is with the veil, and they had seen it before. Whereas when I donned the veil in front of a group of Confirmation candidates, they had no idea what I was wearing. After mentioning that I was discerning the religious life, one of them asked me if that's why I had that "thing" on my head- because I was going to be a nun.
(I'm on the right. This was a "Latin Mass selfie" with my friend after her first TLM.)
(Yes, mantillas and flaming red hair DO go together...)
The intention behind writing this post is not to convince one to wear the veil, nor to list the multiple reasons why one chooses to wear the veil. If you're looking for that, check out this video made by yours truly.
I suppose you could say that my intention for writing this post is to show young women that it's not really that scary. It might seem intimidating to walk into a church and suddenly decide that you're going to start veiling. It's really not that difficult. And if you understand the reasons why people veil, you will be more able to answer people's questions, be more prepared, and just have less fear of doing this.
(I also might be making a plug for why you should wear one...)
One might be surprised how much support I have received. I've had more support and encouraging comments about it than I have had questions or negative reactions. In fact, when I was asked to make the video Why Wear the Veil, I knew that I couldn't do that alone. Two of my friends helped me by filming and acting in the video (Shout out to Thomas and John!), and the priest who is pastor of the church was willing to let me use his church as a back drop (Thanks, Fr. Joe!). Sadly, other priests weren't so supportive. They haven't said anything to me about it, but I can tell that they're itching to take it off my head (same priest that told me not to kneel to receive the Eucharistic Lord). Others hardly give any notice. It's kind of like, "oh, she's veiled." and that's the end of the thought.
One thing that is intimidating is being the only one in your church to veil. Especially if you're young, this can be daunting. But you might be called to start veiling in order to set an example, to teach others about the beauty of this act, and thus bring other people into doing this.
The point of veiling is to reverence the TRUE PRESENCE of Christ in the Eucharist. If He wasn't there, we wouldn't veil!
It really is a beautiful devotion, with a rich history, that allows us women to embrace our femininity, our dignity, and our awesomeness before God... Always with great humility, of course!
So why did I name this post Veronica's Veil?
Well, it's Lent. And Veronica is included in the sixth Station of the Cross. But more than that. Veronica's actions show a sense of humility, reverence, and love for our Suffering Lord. She is loving, and seeks to console Jesus. All women should strive to be just like Veronica in all of our actions; whether we are taking care of the sick, studying for an exam, at work, or praying. We should always seek to be a consolation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to be so with the utmost humility and love of the Lord. Do you think that Veronica approached Jesus, stretched her arms out, and wiped the face of the Lord all while standing? Not a chance. My guess is that she humbled herself, knelt down, or at least bowed down, to reach His Face, and wipe the sweat and blood from His Countenance. Whether or not she recognized this Being as the Lord, I'm certain that this gesture was done with extreme respect. If not, wouldn't she just join in the mocking and spitting? Plus, she quite possibly risked her life to make this kind gesture. Certainly the soldiers didn't want Jesus to have any consolation. They surely pushed even His Mother aside!
The veil that Veronica used to wipe Jesus' Face had been on her head. If she were to put it back on her head, people would see the Face of Christ on her. That is what we need to do. PUT ON CHRIST so that others see Him in you. Do not veil for attention, but to humbly divert ALL attention, recognition, and affection to JESUS CHRIST CRUCIFIED.
As faithful women we are called to imitate not only our Blessed Mother, but also Veronica, in all of our actions, words, and thoughts. Humility and grateful recognition of our dignity should be of high importance. And what more suitable place to do this than in front of the Blessed Sacrament!
Thank you for reading, please feel free to share!