ES, I WEAR A VEIL AT MASS, most of the time anyway. There are times when I wear a hat instead, times when a babe-in-arms will take a mantilla for a teething blanky, times when I just plain forget, but mostly I wear a black mantilla to Mass.
Most of the time it’s a no-brainer. After ten years or so it just seems right. And after having to face up to Our Lord and Saviour over so many faults and failings over the years, its good to have some sort of cover in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Any opportunity to remember God’s awesomeness is welcome, and it seems to help deflect the friendly chatter that cute offspring attracts.
Last week I read Should I Veil? A Debate Between Me & My Brain, a much more comprehensive and entertaining article on the conundrum than many I’ve seen. The author may be a little crazy, but she (or should I say, her brain) makes good points:
Well, the reason St Paul gives – and remember this is your brain talking so it could well be wrong – is that it is a sign of authority whereby the woman/wife expresses her relation to the man/husband as being between Christ and the Church, where Christ is the head of the Church, and analogously, the husband the head of the wife. As Christ gives His life for the Church and the Church submits to Christ, so the husband sacrifices for the wife and the wife submits to the husband. Both you see, are dying to themselves to love the other. By veiling therefore, the woman sums up the entire history of redemption as the nuptial union culminating in the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, and affirms her place salvation history by imaging the loving submission of the Church to Christ, and of Christ to His Father.
A sign of authority, a not my will, but thine be done. In this mad world where bill-boards exhort us to be selfish and the cult of personality puts human weakness up on a pedestal to be adored, it’s good to come back down to earth, with a little cloth to remind me of the infinite gap between me and the Creator of heaven and earth and all things. Knowing that He is in charge is a great comfort – in both senses of feeling settled and giving courage.
And here’s the disclaimer: wearing a veil does not forgive all your sins, infuse all virtues and guarantee you a place among the blessed. It’s not supposed to be elevating the wearer as pointing to something greater, someone greater, before whom every knee must bend. The last thing we want is people making it into an unnecessary stumbling block or a source of division and derision on either side.