Awww....the chapel veil... I grew up mostly Catholic, but with a Protestant mom, things were weird. I, of course, am post-Vatican II, but my dad is pre-Vatican II. I went to a Catholic school, and not once in my entire life, did I know what a chapel veil was. When Cecilia was a baby, we moved to Yakima and began attending San José parish (St. Joseph's, but we attended Spanish Mass) and I began to notice the little old ladies with their frilly lacy head scarfs and I just thought it was an old lady thing. In Portland, there was one lady who wore the same purple hat to Mass every Sunday, for years and years. I knew that it was perfectly acceptable for women to have their heads covered, and it was not okay for a man to have his head covered in Church. It wasn't until recently when, after falling away from the Church for several years, I returned to the Church, have I taken a deep interest in veiling.
The Church officially states that it is NOT a sin for women to enter the Church with their heads uncovered, nor does it require veiling; however the Church strongly recommends women covered their heads. The head coverings date back to the beginning of the Church, as St. Paul wrote about it in his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 11:4-16). After the feminist movement of the 60s, which encouraged women to throw out their veils because the represent the big S-word "submission", the practice quickly fell away. But not completely, because there are little old ladies keeping the tradition alive, lending themselves examples for the rest of us to follow.
All through Lent, I felt the call to veil. I didn't. I just didn't want to feel that I was "jumping on the bandwagon" of veiling, or that I, who had just come back to the church, was now an example of piety (because I most certainly am NOT!). I wanted to show God that I was completely surrendering myself to His holy will. I am back to home in the Church where I belong and I only want to please Him. I felt the call, then all of a sudden, I found a million and half articles about veiling pop up on my News Feed, or my Pinterest account. All of a sudden, I went from only knowing a tiny bit about the veil, to being bombarded with information. I really think that was God, showing me the information He knows that I need before I make decisions.
Most of the designs of beautiful lace mantillas and infinity scarfs are out of my price range right now, since I am preparing for a big move. But I knew I needed something. Inspired by the beautiful infinity mantillas at Veils By Lily, I found this awesome sheer infinity scarf at Walmart:
I wore it for the first time two weeks ago to a Saturday night Mass (I had to work in the morning). It also happened to be the Confirmation of the Spanish-language confirmation class, so the Mass was bilingual and the super awesome Archbishop Emeritus Vlazny was there to celebrate. It is fortuitous that I should veil for the first time at a bilingual English-Spanish Mass. The tradition of veiling is not prevalent in the Spanish-speaking community, but it not uncommon, and I was not the only woman veiled at that Mass (God is merciful and works in very mysterious ways). I was however waiting for Mass to start, and Cecilia and I had finished the Rosary, someone who was my Catechism teacher came up to me and said "You look very solemn". At first it bugged me, because it was my first time veiling, and then someone actually said something to me. But as I prayed about it, I realized, Of course I'm solemn; I am about to witness my Lord sacrifice Himself on the altar!
So the next week, I veiled again. This time, after a trip to Vancouver, Washington to visit Queen of Peace bookstore, I found a beautiful mantilla for Cecilia. She wore it this time along side of me. Cecilia loves to sit in the front row at Mass. So there we were, veiled in the front row, praying our Rosary out loud. I felt like people were looking at us, but the only comments I got were how beautiful Cecilia looked, or thank yous for teaching my daughter about the Church. Cecilia even was asked to bring forward the Gifts (first time!)
After awhile, I quit thinking about what people were thinking about me and Cecilia, and I focused on the mystery of the Eucharist. Because of course, that is what the Mass is about.
I hope that I will grow in this practice more, but for right now, I'm content that I am growing closer to God.