I came across this practice through my research into Marian apparitions. It dawned on me that the Blessed Mother never really appears without her own veil. In all her apparitions, she's veiled - after all, she's ALWAYS in the Presence of God, right? So in my mind, it makes sense that anytime I'm to be in the Presence of God in the Holy Eucharist, my head is to be veiled like the Blessed Mother. Far be it from me to place myself above her example, right?
So I did some research on veiling. A lot of people seem to think that Vatican II "got rid of" the tradition. That simply isn't true. What IS true, however, is that Msgr. Annibale Bugnini (secretary for the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship at the time) was asked if women would still be required to cover their heads at Mass. Msgr. Bugnini answered that veiling wasn't being discussed during the Council. Somehow, several journalists took that to mean that women didn't have to veil anymore, and printed their findings to the glee of "feminists" everywhere. By the time Msgr. Bugnini demanded a retraction based on the manipulation of his words, it was too late. Women, confused by what they'd read and heard, stopped veiling.
Vatican officials have gone on record stating that no change was ever made to the discipline of veiling, yet the damage was done - women stopped veiling and it became seen as a gesture that demeaned women. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth!
Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, a Catholic philosopher and theologian, states it best:
- "Far from indicating inferiority, the veil points to sacredness. While we do cover what is ugly or decaying, we also veil what is sacred, mysterious, and sublime... Every woman carries within herself a secret most sacred, mysterious, and sublime. This secret is life. Eve means "the mother of the living." In the mystery of the female body, human life finds its beginning: not in the male semen but in the fecundated egg, hidden in the cavern of the female body. There God creates a new soul which is exclusively his work, and in which neither father nor mother has a part. This creation takes place when the male seed fecundates the female egg. Thus at that very moment a closeness exists between divine action and the female body which marks the latter as sacred ground."
However, when I began to veil, I felt a bit self-conscious. I didn't want others to think I was being "holier-than-thou-art." I wanted so much for this to be my own humble, outward sign of my humility and graciousness towards the Lord. Plus, as I stated above, the veil truly does help me keep focus and gently reminds me to act in a way more pleasing to God. But as they say - if you feel a calling from God to manifest His Glory in some small way, who cares what others think? Shamefully, I still care, but I try to push those thoughts out of my mind and offer the mortification to God just the same.
So far, I'm the only one in my parish that I've seen veil. Once, when traveling to another parish, I saw another veiled woman who was about my age. My heart leapt at the realization that I wasn't the only one! Ha ha. I've been lucky enough to find other women online who also felt the same calling and it's nice to know I'm not the only one.
But I'm curious if there are any others out there! Thoughts? Would you veil? Would you veil if you saw others veiling? What do you think of women who veil?