I love tradition and especially this time of year: Advent wreaths and calendars, scripture readings, Jesse Trees, caroling, midnight mass, St. Nicholas – I love it all. There’s so much controversy about this among women apparently. Some feel strongly that we shouldn’t be forced to wear them. There is also a bibilical reference that I can and will share that notes women should wear veils to mass. It’s all about choice at the end of the day it seems and the choice is yours.
Will I tell you it’s a must? Nope. Here’s what I will do. I will clue you in on why I started wearing one just this weekend and how I ripped off that “they’re all going to be staring” band-aid right off. I will also let you in on a cool link up that I’m quasi hosting with Tiffany at Life of a Catholic Librarian (quasi because I can’t actually hold a link up on this site) coming this Advent, and where to get a beautiful veil at the end of this post, should you decide it’s something you’d like to try. All I ask for in return, is that you prayerfully consider it and post your experiences either way via comments here, here or blogging and linking up when it’s live. I’ve also included a few links on either side of the controversy for your review and convenience.
I am always, always searching my soul for ways to honor God. I want to know and be known for being set apart for Him. I want to be aware always that he formed my inmost being, that he knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13) With that always as my guide, I have come to love and pray the rosary daily. I pray the Liturgy of the Hours morning prayer and evening prayer daily, I make confession frequently, sought out a third order, read spiritual books almost exclusively, and now, have been led to wearing a chapel veil.
The bible outlines this for us, from 1 Corinthians 11:2-16
I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions just as I handed them on to you. But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the husband is the head of his wife, and God is the head of Christ. Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces his head, but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head—it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved. For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil. For a man ought not to have his head veiled, since he is the image and reflection of God; but woman is the reflection of man. Indeed, man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for the sake of woman, but woman for the sake of man. For this reason a woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man or man independent of woman. For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman; but all things come from God. *Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head unveiled? Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. But if anyone is disposed to be contentious—we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.
Interestingly, I was thinking about the possibility and discerning it without ever uttering a word aloud to anyone. Then someone sent me a message asking if I wore them. I told them I did not. She replied that she makes them and how recently, every time she made one, I kept coming to mind and could she make me one. My God! How he speaks to me. I took that to mean that what I was discerning, He was hearing and confirming my longing to love Him and feel loved by Him. I mentioned this event to my friend Tiffany and she wears chapel veils. We talked for a bit (or obsessed over Michelle’s shop) and we decided to do this together with a purple veil for Advent. Michelle makes these veils with love and so the three week turnaround made the timing perfect. As Tiffany and I talked more about it, we thought it would be a great act of love if we shared this with you and see if you could join us. We will wear veils for Advent and then blog about our experiences here. The link up will be kept open for all of Advent, should you need more time to decide. May I also suggest these other veil-makers because they’re in the giveaway!!!
If you don’t have a veil, don’t have the money to purchase one or don’t want to wait to try this that’s ok. I haven’t received my veil, but feel so strongly about wearing one that I did just that this weekend with a pale pink scarf that I already had (and bought from Kohl’s! Pictured above). I headed out to 10AM mass (the big mass here) with my 9 year old, Lexicon. I told him that I was a little anxious, because I knew everyone would be watching and wondering why the sudden change. He responded that if anyone looked, he would just remind me that I am loving God and there’s nothing wrong with that. Did I say he’s nine years old?
I usually don’t sit in the front, but I felt so strongly pulled to be there, that that’s just where we sat. The sides of the veil kept me conscious and focused on prayer and the readings. I felt this was an elevated experience of the mass for me. More elevated than cantoring, or giving a testimony for #RCIA. I felt connected to the women of the Old Testament, connecting with them through to the New Testament and the years after. I felt reverent and connected. I felt this scripture as I sat in the pew next to my Lexicon, with my Catholic brothers and sisters, before the Tabernacle:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. ~Hebrews 13:8
Beautiful. Loved and loving all at once. R, my new #RCIA sister in Christ, leaned in and said I looked beautiful. She didn’t know I was trying it for the first time and she didn’t have to say anything to me at all. It instantly pierced my heart. I hope I can see more women wearing a veil to mass. I hope to inspire others in my parish to wear a veil. After all, who doesn’t want to feel and look like a bride? Isn’t that what we truly are? Don’t think you’re excluded men! What do you think? How do you feel about it? Does your wife, fiancee or daughter veil? Post your comments below too!
*Bottom line “Judge for yourselves” It’s not a rule, it doesn’t make you better or worse if you choose to wear one or not. I won’t judge you, that’s for sure! I do hope you at least try it, and link up to let us know your thoughts – with pictures too! The actual linkup will begin on Advent (December 1st) We thought to post a little earlier about it, so you have time to purchase a veil, get a scarf, stare at yourself in the mirror for a while, you know. We’d like to know your experiences, fears, questions, reactions, all of it. It’s a project after all with the goal of love. Follow along on Twitter too #VeilProject and the newly nominated #AdventFever. Head over to Tiffany’s to read more.
Liturgical Time Veil Shop is where I purchased my veil from (and am anxiously awaiting it!). Remember the 3 week turnaround time. A lot of love in these veils.
Here are some other links that you might like to read regarding chapel veils:
- Notes from Beneath the Veil by Jennifer Fulwiler
- What Happened to Head Coverings at Mass? by Matt Fradd
- Do Women Need to Wear Head Coverings at Mass by Jimmy Akin
- Vatican II, Canon 1262, and chapel veils from In Light of the Law
- Veiling from Fisheaters
- Veil thoughts from Fisheaters (actual responses to veiling from women and men)
- The Chapel Veil – Veiling or Head Covering – Fully Explained from the Catholic Knight
For me, personally, wearing a veil to mass or upon approaching the Lord at all, is a must, I too feel like it is similar to my feeling on conversion of heart to God: something that I will never force, because as sons and daughters of God, we should choose to follow freely because we are called by the Holy Spirit to do so. In the words of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, “If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them?” It is my sincere hope that you will always listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit whether you choose to veil or choose not to. Let the discussion begin!