Monday, July 21, 2008

Veiling the Sacred

Jeff Culbreath has a beautiful post on the meaning and mystery behind the veiling of women at Mass. It is a practice deeply rooted in Scripture and Tradition. Many people seem to have some scruple about veiling themselves when the other women in the church are bare-headed. To me, it is important to follow one's conscience, not what the people around one are doing or not doing. I do not judge the women who choose to go bare-headed and I hope they are not judging me, but if they are, that is their affair. As for imitating those around me, if I did that, I would not be living a Catholic life.

Ladies often say to me: "I wish I were brave enough to wear a mantilla." Dear Ladies, it requires courage to face death and to shed one's blood for the Gospel. It does not require courage to wear a piece of lace or a beret on one's head. For some, it may be a matter of overcoming human respect. If you are drawn to head coverings, then WEAR one and do not worry about what other people think. Share


Enbrethiliel said...


Dr. Alice von Hildebrand has added that a woman's body is born with a natural veil, which is the hymen. The veil she wears at Mass is a material reflection of the reality that God really designed a woman's womb to be a holy place. (That is from her book The Privilege of Being a Woman.)

I should add that ever since I started veiling at Mass, I've also been dressing more modestly. I started by wearing skirts instead of jeans--a mere fashion consideration at first, since jeans don't really "go" with a veil. Then I noticed that lots of other things--styles that were modest enough but which I would wear to a party--just weren't right for Mass.

It all seems obvious to me now, but back then I guess I needed to be hit over the head. And I was, wasn't I? Hit over the head with a mantilla! =P

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you so much for citing Dr. von Hildebrand's book, Enbrethiliel. I have also heard her discuss the same topic quite beautifully on EWTN. And thank you for sharing your own experience, which is similar to mine as a young woman.

Coffee Catholic said...

"Dear Ladies, it requires courage to face death and to shed one's blood for the Gospel. It does not require courage to wear a piece of lace or a beret on one's head."

Exactly! How spoiled we Western Catholics have become if we think that wearing a mantilla to Mass is "being brave" for the Faith!!!

La gallina said...

Thank you for the post on veiling!! (My favorite topic.) Even though I don't have a beautiful, reverent Mass in my area, wearing the veil ALMOST makes my modern guitar & bongo Mass beautiful. I know everyone in my parish thinks me a bit odd, but I don't mind. I just wish they would ask WHY I wear the veil so I could tell them all about it!

Rachel Gray said...

Wow, I had exactly the same experience as enbrethiliel. Once I started veiling I started wearing skirts every day merely because a mantilla looks strange with pants! I also rid myself of a few shirts that couldn't keep my brown scapular hidden-- a plot by Our Lady to have me dressing modestly.

I was very self-conscious the first few times I wore a mantilla to an NO Mass, so much that I almost regretted having started. But now I'm so used to it I'd be self-conscious without one.