Monday, February 23, 2015

Confessions of a newbie veiler


Any one who has read this blog or who knows me should know by now that I am a fan of traditional Catholicism.  I'm old school when it comes to many things; dare I say I would enjoy a Latin Mass once in a while, if only for the simple fact that I wouldn't have to do anything other than sit in the pew. Don't get me wrong I love being Catholic and I love serving, but when it's a weekly or daily thing it gets  monotonous and well annoying.  Again I love serving, I'm just tired of always having to be the one to get up and do it.

I've been following Veils by Lily on Facebook and Twitter for a while and I keep looking at the veils saying, "oh those are pretty," or "oh I like that one."  I also felt the urge or shall we say nudge to actually wear one to Mass.  My friends go to a Latin Mass chapel run by the Fraternity of St. Peter so my initial thought was, "it would be nice to have an actual veil for the sacraments that I would be attending there verses my finding of a huge shawl that I have worn in the past."  I followed links and read about it and kept thinking I want one and I should do it.

I finally bit the bullet and purchased one at Christmas time.  Oddly the veil came the day before the March for Life and a neighboring parish happened to be having a holy hour that evening so I thought this is perfect and I brought my veil with me.  As I took the veil out my mother looked at me and said, what is that a veil, that's old fashioned.  To which I said no it's not and proceeded to tweet something about it via my phone.    I admit I was nervous and still am about wearing it.  I didn't clip it in my hair that night so I was worried it would fall off and I put it on as the holy hour began and took it off right as the holy hour ended.  I put the veil back in the nice little bag I purchased for it and left it in my pocketbook that I carried with me everywhere.  I wasn't comfortable enough to wear it at my home parish, yet.

The original date the veil was supposed to arrive was right around the time of our youth ministry retreat and I thought what a great way to start veiling.  I didn't do it, I had it with me in my bag, but the fact that I was in a sweatshirt, jeans and sneakers caused me to say and think, I can put that gorgeous veil on my head dressed liked this and I wasn't ready to answer any questions I might have gotten.  I decided then that I would start veiling for Lent.  Why not as it seemed the perfect time to start something.  So I did, I walked to Mass on Ash Wednesday (you can see my thoughts on that Mass here), found a spot, sat down, prayed, took out the bag the veil was in and eventually put the veil,  on my head.

I feel like a million thoughts went through my head before I did put the veil on my head. Do I really want to do this, Does God really want me to do it, I'll be the only one, everyone will be looking at me wondering what is she doing.   As I said in the Ash Wednesday blog, it dawned on me that the older generation would know of the custom and the younger generation could care less.  I keep telling myself every time I place the veil on my head, "it's not about you, it's not about you, the world is so self centered, they probably don't even notice it."  Granted I've only veiled a total of five times since this started so yes I am new to it and I will keep thinking about how I'm the only one doing it but I have to remember it's not about me.

I've noticed that based on where the veil falls around my face, that instead of hiding behind my hair, I used to let my hair fall as it would cover my face, I actually move my hair behind my ears thus exposing my face.  I've also become more aware of what I wear to Mass.  I usually try to dress up for Sunday Mass or at the very least dress nicely.  Yes I have worn jeans, usually they are the designer brand jeans and an nice sweater or top.  I always laugh at the idea of me packing a dress for Sunday Mass when I go to a conference at Franciscan University, but when I'm home it's oh jeans work.

My mother ingrained in me the whole idea of Sunday best and I fought in high school to wear shorts and sneakers to Mass and I did one day just because I could, but the idea of Sunday best never left me.  I don't always follow it, I have worn jeans to Sunday Mass, usually it's when I have all day meetings with youth group or if I was teaching confirmation or if I'm going to our evening Mass and I don't feel like changing.  Now as I mentioned above so many times I end up having to serve at Mass, so the nudge to dress better has been there, but when it snows and it's nasty out and you typically walk to church you tend to not wear a dress or skirt.  As I walked to Mass this past Sunday I thought, well I don't really have anything to wear these sweaters with other than pants, I was wearing corduroy pants, and the Holy Spirit nudged me with, umm you have a black skirt or other skirts in the house.  I think I actually laughed out loud at the fact that yes, God was right, I do have other bottoms at home.

Veiling has changed how I dress for Mass, well somewhat changed.  I'm still with the idea that daily Mass gets whatever I happen to be wearing that day, but I will admit that I put on a sweater instead of a sweatshirt.  I do tend to wear the nicer jeans during the week.  As I place this gorgeous piece of lace on my head, I start to think about what I am wearing.  I've been searching the inter-webs for blogs or other resources on veiling and I found this and this. I have to admit the second one made me laugh because that is exactly what went through my brain.  The first one made me think about how I do actually think about what I wear to Mass now, not that I didn't I just make more of an effort to be dressed and covered, though me being covered wasn't much of an issue.

I have to admit that veiling this past Sunday was the hardest.  The daily Masses are easy as I'm usually alone and I can do my own thing, but Sundays that's when I sit with my friends, and seriously what would they think.  I actually thought about not veiling and then said, if you don't do it now you never will, so on it went.  Yes I spent a good portion of Mass thinking is someone going to say something or what are they thinking and I kept telling myself it's not about you, it's about God and reminding myself that our culture is so self absorbed that they wouldn't even notice that I had this thing on my head.  I was rather happy that I had counted enough Extraordinary Ministers of Communion and would not have to serve. I was wrong as one person decided that even though she was needed that she wasn't needed, so I ended up serving, so everyone saw my veil as I stood in the sanctuary.  I didn't really spend all of Mass thinking about the veil, I actually spent a good portion of it thinking about what Mark Hart had written in Behold the Mystery.  I made it through my first Sunday Mass veiled and I did get a comment, but not the one I was expecting.

I placed my veil down on the pew (I know technically I should be wearing it as soon as I set foot in Church, but we're getting there) and was folding it to place it back in the carrying bag when this old man came up to me.  He said with an Italian accent, "every lady should wear one of those"(as he picked up my veil and I thought don't touch it I just want to fold it and put it away so I don't ruin it.) I missed the next part, but I gathered after reflecting on it that he was telling me to get the other women to wear a veil as well.  I thought, that's not how it works, you have to be called to veil, and if you want to do it, do it, if not don't; that's the beauty of being Catholic. Those of us who veil, veil and those who don't, don't.  I did thank God as I walked home and thought, well that was a nice sign that I am doing what God wants me too. I keep expecting to hear the why are you doing that comments and I am very surprised that my pastor hasn't said anything to me yet because he's the type to say something to me no matter what.

I am new to veiling, but it is a growing trend and custom among my generation.  We were never thought why we covered our heads at Mass and I will still troll the internet looking for the perfect answer. I'm sure it will get easier each time I place the veil on my head, I've already started to notice how empty my head feels when I take the veil off and I stay in Church for stations, eventually I'll leave it on, once I work up to it.  I'm slowly learning and growing in this.

Why am I veiling, the simple answer is I felt called to it.  I've always been a big believer in feelings and knowing what God has wanted me to do.  I did pray about it, I didn't ask anyone about it, because my family already thinks I'm nuts, I don't need to add any fuel to that fire. I'm sure I'll have more to say on this topic later but for now I'm okay with I'm new to this and still learning.  God calls us to do many things, this is just one of the ways He's calling me.

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