This past Mother’s Day I started wearing a chapel veil to church. (I can hear the gasps. What?! Hey weirdo! She’s lost it!)
It was not a spur of the moment thing, but something that had been tugging on my heart for a very, VERY long time. (I swear I should’ve been born a century ago... ohhhh how I love the old church.) But anyway, I resisted the tug because, quite frankly, I didn’t have the guts to wear it. I didn’t really find brevity on Mother’s Day either, truth be told. I went to mass early, sat up front, and hid under the thing with sweaty hands, praying no one would notice it was me.
So why then did I do it?
Well, because God is real, and mighty and truly present in that Church. And when I go there I want to wear something visible that honors Him, something that shows reverence... something that says to Him, I believe this hour is different from every other hour of my day. I believe the Eucharist is real. Not a symbol.
And no, I don’t cover my head because I think I’m “holier than thou” (on the contrary!) I cover it because HE is holy, and I am... well... sinful. I cover my head because I know, on my own, I don’t deserve to stand in the presence of God and I don’t deserve to receive Him... but He invites me to anyway because He loves me.
Seriously! What is that?! I mess up, over and over again and the God who I hurt refuses to turn me away! He just continues to give, and I continue to take. The veil simply acknowledges my unworthiness, proclaims my gratitude, and gives a little something in return... it says “here, Lord, is my vanity, my pride, my comfort. Take it all and cover me with your grace, your mercy, and your love.”
The veil is this visible reminder of submission. And hold on.... I don’t mean “submission” as in women are to be subservient to men or they’re not equal or don’t have as many rights, or anything like that.
I mean it’s a reminder of submission to GOD—and surrender to His will in my life. I fought His will for many years (and still do)... the veil is a reminder now to bend and quit fighting. A reminder that His plan is way better than mine, that HE has everything in the palm of His hand and I control nothing but my response to that. I can’t take another breath without Him willing it so. My chapel veil is a small and humble bow to the majesty that holds everything in place.
The chapel veil bothers some people... who want to “get away” from the old church. But the Catholic Church is more than 2,000 years old. The first Mass was celebrated by Jesus Himself. Can we ever really get away from the old church? We ARE THE OLD CHURCH like it or not. Even still, I don’t wear it as a sign of rebellion against today’s church or Vatican II or any of the things people say, I wear it as a simple expression of faith — like a scapular or a crucifix necklace.
I don’t know. The chapel veil is hard to explain. It’s even harder to wear at times. But I’m trying to give in to the tug... and I can honestly say it’s been a very blessed and very powerful experience. It’s reinvigorated my love for and belief in the Eucharist and it has helped me think more about the awesomeness of God. What a journey it’s been, though... one I won’t soon quit. #mantillamovement