This past December, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I decided to start veiling during Mass. Veiling was something that was on my heart for a considerable length of time before I finally took the plunge.
I have noticed that veiling during Mass, as a Catholic woman, is an intensely private, personal devotion. It was hard for some of my friends to verbalize their reasoning for veiling, but they knew it was something they felt called by God to do during Mass.
I was recently asked what the reasoning was behind my decision to veil, and for once, I was able to articulate my choice.
For me, veiling is as much a Marian devotion as it is a devotion to Our Lord.
As I sat in church one Sunday, looking around at the Stations of the Cross displayed, contemplating the deeper meaning of veiling with the Lord, I was struck by the thought that Mary always veiled in the presence of her son. Granted, that was the “fashion,” back then, and in the Middle East it is still customary to veil. But, Mary could have been one of the first “women’s rights activists” and decided she wasn’t going to veil; instead, she didn’t. She chose to continue to show her son, as God made flesh, the reverence and respect to continue veiling in His presence.
For some reason, the fact that Mary chose to continue to veil in her son’s presence makes all the difference to me.
When thinking about veiling, I also don’t have the fervent desire to veil at all times in a church. I don’t struggle to attempt to veil at the beginning, nor at the very end of Mass as the procession is leaving the church (I also concede it can be tricky keeping a veil on, with a nursing cover over me, with a squirming infant).
Instead, I have a deep desire to veil only during the Consecration (when the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus) and during Communion. As I was explaining to my friend, I feel the most powerful moments that I find His presence in the Mass are during those times. (It’s not to say He isn’t there before then, because to be honest, He’s with us all the time.)
Therefore, I make it a point to try to veil as He is present in the Eucharist, as His mother would have veiled.
Some people have wondered if I will “make” my daughter veil as she gets older. My response is quite emphatically, “no!” It took me several years to be able to articulate “why” I felt the calling to veil; I want E to be able to make her own decision, and choose her own devotions to the Lord.
My decision to veil is merely a minor devotion I can give Our Lord, inspired by His mother.
**Feature Image was taken from a Google search for Mary and Baby Jesus. I downloaded it via html, and now I can’t find it again to give the proper website credit…**