I first began practicing the optional devotion of wearing a veil seven years ago. The post, Lifting the Veil, explains the decision making process. Initially, my adult daughter and I both felt the call and chose to begin on Mother’s Day of that year. One of my more recent posts is entitled Veiling Revisited – Is It Mandatory?. There I explain some of the specifics of Canon Law and some expert advice.
Today, I seek to connect the devotion of veiling to scriptural inspiration. For example, Ephesians gives us great insight into the aspect of respect as a two-way street. There we find the call for wives to be subject to their husbands. In turn, husbands are admonished to love wives as much as they love their own bodies. There is a further call for men to honor their wives as God honors the Church. The full message is to “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ”.
Sacred Scripture Is Continuous
In one of his homilies, our priest clarified something we should all keep in mind. Sacred Scripture is not intended to be taken one line at a time. This practice often leads to misuse. It becomes easy to take advantage of someone else by quoting out of context.
In its proper context, Scripture is a mirror of God’s relationship with us. When both man and woman (or Jesus and Church) employ their proper and complementary roles, there is equal dignity and harmony for the good of all. In this vein, veiling shows respect not just for Jesus present in the Eucharistic Sacrament but also for the dignity of the role of woman. Men and women are equal, yet complementary to one another.
Dignity of the Veil
Saint Veronica’s encounter with Jesus, carrying His cross, provides an example of the dignity of the veil. She took off her veil and He wiped His face with it. When He handed it back to her, the image of His face remained and gave a special blessing to the practice of veiling.
This event is still honored the Catholic Church, in the form of the Stations of the Cross. The name Veronica – vera icon (true icon) – comes from this occasion. We can also look to Our Blessed Mother for the symbolism of humility and submission to Christ. Statues of her appear in Catholic Churches as well and we are called to emulate her “yes” to her call from God. This leads me to a meditation on veiling I was inspired to compile and use as I pray the Rosary.
Veiling Through the Joyful Mysteries
The Veil and Humility
The Annunciation (Humility) – Mary learns from the Angel Gabriel that God wishes her to be the mother of God and humbly accepts. (Luke 1:26-38)
My first call to veil was a tiny whisper. I questioned my desire to veil and even the purity of the desire. After prayer, discernment, and discussion with my husband, I felt ready to commit and say my own ‘yes’ to God. Veiling is not as much about the outer sign as it is about the inward resolve to be a better daughter of God, sister of Jesus, living with the Grace granted by the Spirit.
The Veil and Love
The Visitation (Love of Neighbor) – Mary goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth and is praised by her as “blessed among women.”(Luke 1:39-56)
When I wear my veil, I hope to be a comfort to others. I strive to display modesty and the unique feminine qualities that only women and girls possess. In a world that is stark in its lack of respect for the unique gifts of women, I want to be there for my sisters in Christ and give them comfort and solace and maybe the courage to look deeply into their own femininity and thus strive to praise God in stature, dress, and voice.
The Veil and Poverty of Spirit
The Nativity (Poverty of Spirit) – Mary gives birth to Jesus in the stable at Bethlehem.(Luke 2:1-20)
With the dawning of every new day, we are born again to a new opportunity to live as a child of God. All distractions, failings, and fears from yesterday are gone and we are invited to strive for sainthood anew. With the donning of my veil, I say to Jesus that I am ready to take on the challenge – of being the best me I can be, regardless of history or failures in previous attempts.
The Veil and Purity of Spirit
The Presentation (Purity of Mind and Body) – Mary and Joseph present Jesus to His Heavenly Father in the Temple of Jerusalem forty days after His birth. (Luke 2:22-39)
We present ourselves to God upon entry into His house. We go there to seek Him out, to ask His blessing, to petition for our most basic needs, and to honor and glorify Him. When I place the veil upon my head, I am signaling to myself, and to anyone who cares to take notice, that my intention is to humble myself in His presence.
The Veil and Obedience
Finding the Christ Child in the Temple (Obedience) – After searching for three days, Mary and Joseph found the twelve-year-old Jesus sitting in the Temple discussing the law with the learned doctors. (Luke 2:42-52).
We find ourselves in the Body of Christ. We did not ask to be brought there but are instead drawn there by answering our Father’s call. He wants us for Himself and when I veil, I find it to be a sacramental way to show that I am His.
Copyright 2019 Birgit Jones