The tradition of women veiling in Church has made a comeback in recent years. Many Catholic women, young and old, are choosing to cover their heads at Mass. Some do it out of reverence for the Eucharist, others as a sign of their submission to God. But whatever the reason they often have many shared experiences which can be explained best by the cast of the hit sitcom Parks and Recreation.
When you first decide to veil
For some, making the choice to wear a veil comes after a period of discernment. While it may be daunting at first, the excitement of choosing to honor this tradition is undeniable.
When you’re not sure about veiling, so you call your friend and she’s all on board
In many more traditional parishes it’s common to see women donning a piece of lace as they enter the sanctuary. In other places, veils are counter-cultural and may even make you feel like a bit of a rebel (a reverent rebel but a rebel nonetheless).
Your first veil arrives but you’re going to Mass with extended family this weekend
Not everyone understands veiling. Another thing women may experience when they begin to veil is an embarrassment or a need to explain themselves. It can be a challenge but that should never stand in our way of honoring God as we feel called to.
Seeing yourself in the mirror with your first veil
Many women say veiling makes them more aware of their dignity. As Catholics, we veil what is sacred. Acknowledging our God-given beauty and ability can be truly empowering.
You realize it accentuates your dignity
Sometimes, people misunderstand wearing a veil as something meant to keep women “in their place” and while it acknowledges the differences between men and women it also shows the unique honor and dignity of femininity.
When people think you’re doing it to look holy
Wearing a veil doesn’t suddenly make someone more holy. It is a choice they have made for their own reasons the least likely of which is probably “because I’m such a saint”. For many, veiling is actually a humbling experience. So don’t be scandalized if that woman who veils on Sunday is grumbling in traffic on Monday.
If someone says veiling is a way to keep women down
Veiling was a tradition from the early church up until the last forty years. Arguments abound as to whether the practice was ever formally abandoned but the tradition was never meant to be a way of oppressing women.
If you’re afraid people will think you’re too . . . proper
Sometimes women who veil get a bad rep as stuck up or holier-than-thou. While they’re may be some women like that who veil, there are women who don’t veil who are like that too. The two are not intrinsically connected.
When you see a new Spanish mantilla
Veils can be pricey. But they’re really pretty. When there are so many styles and colors, how can you not want one for each liturgical season plus a few for your favorite feast days?
When anyone says anything in support of veiling, at all
There are many reasons to veil and some are truly beautiful. But sometimes, just hearing anyone say veiling is an okay thing is enough to make you feel supported in the practice.
If someone attempts to use what St. Paul said
Sometimes, St. Paul’s comments on women seem disrespectful. A deeper look at the text, however, usually reveals the opposite. He mandates that women veil it’s because of their beauty and dignity rather than because he wants them to be reminded they are inferior to men.
As you realize veiling isa matter between you and God
When it comes down to it, it doesnt matter what other people think or say. It doesn’t matter how many different veils you have. What matters is that you are honoring God as best you know how. When you’re doing that, there are truly no regrets.