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Speaking Out: Veil is a sign of reverence

By  Bernadette Timson, Youth Speak News
  • July 29, 2020

Every woman has her own experience with veiling. Except for her wedding, or if she’s fortunate enough to meet the Pope, some women may never wear a veil.

In my own experience in veiling for Mass, it helps me see the Holy Mass in a more authentic sense.

There are several reasons women wear a veil. Since ancient Jewish times, it has always been customary for a woman to cover her head. In St. Paul’s Letters to the Corinthians, he urges this out of modesty, but throughout history, the reasons have typically revolved around one key element — reverence.

As a young child, my first chapel veil was a gift from my mother that set a tone about the Holy Mass’ importance. It made me very self-conscious for years until I chose to stop veiling at nine.

It was around this time I began to find the liturgy boring and unimportant, a relatable experience for many young Catholics.

This was the case until I was 18, when I began to see my questions as an invitation to grow deeper in knowledge, particularly with the liturgy. I realized the Mass hadn’t been important to me because I wasn’t treating it as such.

Before Vatican II, veils were mandated for women at Mass but have since been made optional and are rarely seen. A place still exists for them though. I have three reasons to consider wearing a veil to 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 Him during the Eucharist, our bodies transform and we become one with Him. Veiling’s intent is not shrouding a woman’s strength of beauty, but rather acknowledging that she is sacred.

Second, veils are an honourable 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. She too exemplifies humility before Our Lord.

Finally, the most important reason is that the Holy Mass is a wedding, a union between Christ and His bride, the Church. Everything about our faith and the liturgy is profoundly symbolic. A unique distinction is made for women, because of the reality that we can carry life, not just human life, but also supernatural life. It’s why women wear veils at their weddings and men do not.

The profound nature of being the daughter of a king is one to be lived out. The image of a veil, a princess-like crown, is meant to be pleasing to God. 

Many people, myself included, tend to fixate about what others think and allow that fear to prevent us from going outside our comfort zones. But that shouldn’t prevent one from wearing a veil. If veiling does draw attention, then it is meant to point to someone greater.

(Timson, 21, is finishing her Event Management studies at Humber College in Etobicoke, Ont.)

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