Each woman has her own experience with the veil. Except for her wedding, or if she is lucky enough to meet the Pope, some women may never wear a veil.
In my own experience of sailing for Mass, it helps me see Holy Mass in a more authentic sense.
There are several reasons why women wear a veil. Since ancient times, it has always been the custom for a woman to cover her head. In the Letters of St. Paul to the Corinthians he emphasizes this point out of modesty, but throughout history the reasons have generally revolved around one key element – respect.
As a child, my first chapel veil was a gift from my mother which set the tone for the importance of the Holy Mass. It made me very embarrassed for years until I decided to stop veiling when I was nine.
It was around this time that I began to find the liturgy boring and unimportant, a relevant experience for many young Catholics.
This was the case until I was 18, when I began to see my questions as an invitation to deepen knowledge, especially with the liturgy. I realized that Mass hadn’t been important to me because I didn’t treat it as such.
Before Vatican II, veils were compulsory for women at Mass but have since become optional and are rarely seen. There is always a place for them. I have three reasons for considering wearing a veil in church.
First as an act of humility. As Catholics, we cover what is holy – the Tabernacle, where Our Lord is most present. Once we receive it during the Eucharist, our bodies transform and we become one with Him. Veiling’s intention is not to envelop a woman’s beauty force, but rather to recognize that she is sacred.
Second, the veils are an honorable way to imitate the Mother of God, the first person to receive both human and supernatural life, thus making her the First Tabernacle. Any image or statue of Our Lady, her head is always covered, sometimes with a crown. It also illustrates humility before Our Lord.
Finally, the most important reason is that the Holy Mass is a marriage, a union between Christ and his bride, the Church. Everything about our faith and the liturgy is deeply symbolic. A unique distinction is made for women, because of the reality that we can carry life, not just human life, but supernatural life as well. This is why women wear the veil at their weddings and not men.
The deep nature of being the daughter of a king has to be experienced. The image of a veil, a princess crown, is said to please God.
A lot of people, myself included, tend to focus on what other people think and allow that fear to keep us from stepping out of our comfort zones. But that should not prevent wearing the veil. If the veil attracts attention, it means that it points to someone taller.
(Timson, 21, is finishing his studies in event management at Humber College in Etobicoke, Ont.)