The veil experience ends well for some women, bad for others …
Do you wear a veil at mass? I see other women at Mass wearing chapel veils and I think they are lovely, so I would like to try wearing one. If you wear one, what do you recommend for a beginner?
My main concern is that not many other women in my church wear them, and I wonder if I might be embarrassed. I’ve also heard that veils are good for keeping you focused on Mass. I would just like to hear your thoughts on the subject.
The subject of the chapel veils can be a a bird. It’s the Catholic equivalent of the breast-feeding versus bottle-feeding debate. People think a lot about the little square of fabric. They may assume that you are a radical traditionalist, that you think you are more holy than you are, or that you are an oppressed wife subjugated by her oppressive husband. Either way, guesses are their problem, not yours.
There are many reasons why women wear chapel veils, but I wouldn’t suggest that âlooking beautifulâ is the primary motivation. I think sarees are adorable, but I’m not going to wear one to mass. Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting to be your best at Mass. I encourage him. Wear heels, a nice dress and get ready. Put a little effort into it, I always say. Just know that if you’re wearing yoga pants and a tank top, a veil won’t make you look more religious.
But to answer your questions, no, I am not wearing a chapel veil or a mantilla. I’ve done this in the past, but found them distracting and bothersome – tickling my neck, ruffling my hair and embarrassing. For me, the veil had the exact opposite effect on maintaining my concentration during Mass. Additionally, if you are concerned that you will feel embarrassed that few other women in your church wear the veil, this can also present a distraction.
I just want to be honest. Wearing a veil will not magically turn you into a saint. It will not make you more godly, more beautiful, or more holy. The Holy Spirit does that, not a piece of cloth. Humility also makes you more pious, holy and beautiful. Now, can a veil be a way to practice and grow in humility? Sure. Absoutely. But so are many other things – daily Mass, adoration, prayer, kindness, caring for the sick and the homelessâ¦ the list is endless.
Guess what I mean is if you are just relying on the veil to help you listen more to Mass and get the most out of it, then I’m afraid you will be. disappointed. As one of the leading producers of Catholic women’s veils writes on her website:
âThe veil is meant to be the exterior sign of a woman’s interior desire to humble herself before God, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. As women, we are symbols of the Church – the Bride of Christ – and âthe veil is meant to be a visible reminder of the Church’s perfect submission to Christ’s rule of love. Â»(Lily’s veils)
Without this inner desire for humility, it is just a piece of lace.
I assure you that I am not trying to discourage you. In fact, I wholeheartedly encourage you to give the practice a try. If you’re worried that you might feel out of place at first, start by wearing a veil to a Latin mass or worship until you are more comfortable. Most women who attend Mass in extraordinary form wear some type of head covering. I think there would be a good starting point. From there you can easily wear one every Sunday to mass.
But beyond getting over the embarrassment, staying focused, or looking lovely, the best way to wear a veil is while praying. When you begin to understand the theological reasons for wearing the veil it becomes more than a simple change in outward appearances. I will always encourage any woman to seriously consider the practice.
And just for fun, here is 10 reasons why some women wear veils again by Church Pop.
Have a nice sail!