Posted tagged ‘Mass’

Under the Veil

May 3, 2012

I’m afraid my days of trying to be inconspicuous in a head-covering at Mass are over.

For years now,
I’ve been wearing a veil I netted
out of brown embroidery thread,
and I’ll continue wearing it for daily life…
but once I put on an actual mantilla
I was a goner ;)!
The broad smile on my prince’s face
and his words, “Keep it!” sealed the deal.

It came from my praying grandmother,
who recently died on Mothering Sunday
(also known as Laetare Sunday),
a week shy of her 99th birthday (!).
Since I knew a lady
who’d been looking for a mantilla,
Mom offered Grandma’s to me.
I never saw Grandma wear them, although she always wore a filmy scarf over her head at Mass.
They must’ve been from her younger days.

I stand corrected–when Mom read this article, she sent the following!
Had to smile when I read your veil post. It shows how mistaken archeologists can be when they tell us how people lived in the past.
When I was growing up, we had only one dresser and one “closet” for all 6 of us. (Other than the little white dresser in the summer for baby clothes.) And Mom only attended Mass on Sundays, at which time she wore a hat. I was the only one who attended daily Mass, and the mantilla’s and round head coverings were mine! Mom didn’t start attending daily Mass until all us kids were grown and gone. She had us to get up and ready for school in the mornings. She wore scarves because her head was very sensitive to wind, not as church head coverings. Mandatory headgear in church was set aside in the mid-late 60’s, so none of us wore head coverings after that. (We were led to believe that all the post Vatican II changes were mandatory.) She just never disposed of them.

I checked the fabric content
to see if there was any way I could consider wearing one
(polyester makes me itch & most drapey lace is polyester).
They all failed the burn test
(polyester melts, although so does nylon–I can’t distinguish),
but I happened to notice that one had a little tag
it was safe!
And it would be the white one–not the dark brown.
So much for inconspicuous!

The rest is history.
From the inside, being under the veil
makes me feel utterly feminine, pretty, cherished and protected.
Feeling conspicuous in the process
is just something I’m going to have to deal with ;).

Ironically, shortly thereafter I did find dark brown drapey nylon lace and cut out a scalloped brown mantilla–
but it just couldn’t compare to the lightness of the white lace
in my peripheral vision (peeking out from behind lace curtains!).
My prince prefers the white too.
I expect to wear the brown for the penitential seasons of Advent & Lent,
when white seems out of place.

I wore it to Mass the next morning
(being visitors made it a little easier to be the only one!),
reflecting on the faces I’ve seen beneath mantillas.
I’ve seen the “battle ax” (“I dare you to say anything!”),
the “scared rabbit” (“Please, please don’t say anything!”)
and radiance.
I feel for the first two, and could easily fall into either camp if I let myself.
It’s a bit intimidating to make such a bold visual statement in public.
But the statement itself is really only served by radiance.
I set about to shine :).

That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head,
because of the angels.
-I Corinthians 11:10

I’ve always found this passage confusing.
I could never figure out why the angels would care.
Looking out from beneath a veil myself brought this to mind:

Above Him stood the seraphim:
each had six wings:
with two he covered his face,
and with two he covered his feet,
and with two he flew.
-Isaiah 6:2

The angels cover themselves in the presence of Almighty God!
As God is head of the angels, so man is head of woman
(especially when men treat women
as gloriously as God treats His angels!).

Just as I appreciate the few times I’m not the only one veiling,
it makes sense to me that the angels would too!

I’m with you, angels!

And as it’s the mission of the head to protect and provide,
I reflected on the Jews’ reference
to the corners of their prayer shawl as “wings.”

Under my veil, I’m protected under God’s wings.

In the shadow of Your wings
I will take refuge
-Psalm 57:1

in the shadow of Your wings
I shout for joy
-Psalm 63:7

What a wonderful place to be 🙂 !

I like to think the lace in my peripheral vision helps me focus on the Mass (instead of being distracted by other things in my peripheral vision!).
It should.
But I’m pretty distractible internally too,
so it’s hard to tell for sure (truth in advertising!).
From what I’ve heard about men and distraction,
it sounds as though it’s easier for them to concentrate at Mass
when the women are veiled.
I’d like to encourage that :).

The mantilla certainly gives a whole new meaning to the idea
that Jesus “passed through the veil” (see Hebrews 6:19-20, 9:3, 10:20)! Yes, the Scriptures are were talking about the veil
of the heavenly temple,
of which the earthly temple was only a pale imitation,
but Jesus “passes through the veil” now
every time I receive Him in Holy Communion!

My advice to any lady (however young or otherwise)
who’s ever wondered what it would be like “under the veil”
is to get a piece of lace
and try it in the privacy of your prayer at home.
If you have easy access to a real mantilla so much the better,
but it’s not hard to cut a triangle of lace fabric
(roughly 36-40″ wide by 18-25″ tall; scalloped edges are nice).
Fabric stores often have 40% off coupons,
so the experiment doesn’t have to cost much.

I’ll leave the rest up to the angels :).

(If you’re interested in more reasons I veil,
check out the “About” page–I’ve just updated it).

Weekly Date–With our Divine Bridegroom

July 13, 2011

My husband and I made a conscious decision to keep dating throughout our marriage. One night a week is set aside specifically for that purpose, and we guard it zealously (although we can rearrange days at need). Last summer we took up the challenge of “Project 52” to plan our dates as special occasions (you can see the outcome here). It’s been a lot of fun & a vast improvement over “What do you want to do?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do?”

When we were at Mass yesterday it occurred to me that God has weekly dates with His Bride too–daily, if she’ll come–and they’re always a special occasion (although, admittedly, some are more special than others). He brings out candles, music, flowers, the finest golden dishes, storytelling and intimacy far beyond what any merely mortal husband and wife experience!

God’s Bride is His Church (Ephesians 5:25-32). He dates Her (us!) lavishly every week (and every day) in the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

This divine romance can clue us in to what works in our earthly marriages. If God thinks it’s that important to date His Bride every week, perhaps we should consider dating our earthly spouse that often.

And our experience of earthly marriage can and should help us to understand better just what God’s doing for us as His beloved. I can tell you from experience that preparing special time together benefits a marriage. God’s prepared special times to spend with us. It helps if we don’t “stand Him up”!

What Would You Like to Hear From the Pulpit?

October 9, 2010

As I was talking with our chaplain after Adoration the other day,
he said that he was preparing for a funeral.
I asked if he planned to mention Purgatory,
noting that we’d recently talked to someone
who thought the Catholic Church didn’t believe in Purgatory anymore
because “you never hear about it”.
He replied that yes, he is planning to reference Purgatory,
then asked, “What else do people need to hear from the pulpit?”
I mentioned sexual ethics & reproductive technology,
but said I’d have to think about it to come up with other topics.

What about you?
What do you wish priests would talk about at Mass?
Please leave your feedback in the “comments” box!


May 13, 2010

Today, our great High Priest enters the sanctuary not made by hands, bearing with Him the only sacrifice worthy to be offered to the Most High (Hebrews 8:1-2). He pleads for me.

Today my Head is lifted up in glory.
Jesus, my Head (see Ephesians 5:26, Colossians 1:18), rises gloriously into Heaven to take His place at the right hand of God. He Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6) has opened a path for me, that where He is, I also may be (John 14:3).

“In Jesus Christ, our Lord and King,
we are already seated at Your right hand.”
-Psalm prayer for Psalm 110 from Sunday, Week I, Evening Prayer II of the Liturgy of the Hours

In Him (I Corinthians 12:27), I, too, am lifted into the heavens, seated at the right hand of the Most High, with my enemies placed beneath my feet (Acts 2:34-35).

“He has lifted up my head above my enemies.
I have gone around,
and have offered in His tabernacle
a sacrifice of jubilation:
I will sing, and recite a psalm to the Lord” -Psalm 27:6

It’s “the now and the not yet”, foretaste and fulfillment, especially in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass when I unite myself with the eternal sacrifice which Jesus offers in Heaven.

Blessed be Jesus in His most glorious Ascension!

An Awesome Celebration!

December 12, 2003

Wow! What a party! I wish you could’ve been there 🙂 !

I’m not usually fond of parties, being something of a wallflower, but I was really eager to go to this one because my best friend was the Host (yes, my husband knows about this 🙂 –this is his best friend too, but his work schedule prevented him from coming with me). It was an elegant affair. We got to dress in our finest, there were candles, fresh flowers, music, the finest linens on the table and the ornate dishes were real gold (imagine!).

I didn’t have to worry about standing around feeling awkward–as I usually do at parties–because everything had been prepared and planned so that everyone had a special role to play in the festivities. The food was absolutely incomparable (you’ll never find soul food like this anywhere else)! But the most awesome part was that our Host personally presented each guest with a priceless treasure.

You’ve probably heard Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote:

Rings and jewels are not gifts,
but apologies for gifts.
The only gift is a portion of thyself.

Well, our Host gave no apologies. No ring, no jewel comes even close to the value of this gift. He didn’t stop at giving us a portion of Himself, either. He gave each person all of Himself in a most intimate way!

He united His Body with mine!

(you might want to stop for a second and let that sink in…)

You’ve probably figured out by now that the only Person capable of doing such a thing is God in the flesh, Jesus Christ. You’ve probably also figured out that the party I’m referring to was the Mass. (Some parishes offer Mass every day, but because our priest has two parishes, we only have Mass on weekends, Wednesdays & Fridays.)

What you may not realize is that every Mass is a celebration of Advent (awaiting Christ’s coming), Christmas (Christ becoming tangibly present to us, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in what was bread and wine), the Last Supper (Christ giving us His very Body and Blood as our food and drink), the Crucifixion (Christ offering Himself to the Father to pay for our sins) and the Resurrection–all rolled up into one! It’s all of salvation history in microcosm, not because God does the same thing over and over, but because He enables us to transcend time with Him, to be present at the eternal heavenly celebration.

All too often, I go to Mass with my eyes of faith unfocused. Spiritually I’m not seeing very well, so I just listen to somebody read words I’ve heard many times before, listen to somebody else recite some verses and recite a few myself (while my mind goes elsewhere), sing a few songs, eat a little wafer & go home. I may even fuss about how unharmonious the singing was or how stumbling the reader was–missing the whole point, missing the whole Reality for which I went in the first place! Part of the reason I write these reflections is that when I want to describe en event to someone, I often pay closer attention to what’s going on in order to be better prepared to share the story. Passing this on to you helps me focus the eyes of my heart, helps me enter into the eternal Reality that’s unfolding before me. Thank you!

And now that I’ve received this priceless Gift, I have an awesome responsibility to pass on the invitation…

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