Happy feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel!
Yesterday, I talked about some of the reasons and history behind the practice of veiling in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Maybe you knew all about veiling, and maybe you've never heard of it or seen it. But hopefully, now you can understand this devotion a little better. Today, I'd like us to look at the "how to" of veiling. Because, honestly, there are a lot of different ideas and opinions out there to consider. So, without further ado, let us begin this adventure!
There is a wide range of ways in which you can practice the devotion of covering your head in the presence of the Eucharist. As I discuss a couple of these different ways, I want to address a question that I receive quite frequently:
I don't want to wear white lace, but do I have to, since I'm unmarried?
Let's recall that women have been covering their heads for thousands of years. Catholic women have been wearing some sort of headcovering in the presence of the Eucharist for centuries--long before lace came to be (it popped up around the early 16th century). Not every woman that veiled in church automatically began wearing lace mantillas in black or white lace (for example, rebozos--woven scarves/shawls--were a lot more affordable and practical in Mexico, so those were often worn). There is a tradition in some Hispanic cultures to wear white lace if you are unmarried, and black if you are married or widowed, but this is not a worldwide tradition for veiling in church. If you want to cover your head in the presence of the Eucharist, and you like lace but you don't like the idea of white lace standing out against dark hair, try a dark color of veil! Veil websites offer multitudes of colors to choose from.
Veiling is a devotion that holds varied meanings for different women. Some women like to wear certain colors of veils to match the liturgical seasons (purple coverings during Lent and Advent). Other women like to match veil colors to their favorite church outfits. One of my friends only wears lace veils to Mass, and she wears scarves for all other chapel visits. One of the women at my parish has a gorgeous, shiny gold veil that she often wears to Sunday Mass (it totally makes me think of a Tabernacle. Which is awesome, because we all become "little Tabernacles" when we receive the Eucharist!)
I personally liked the whole idea of not wearing a white veil after I got married (akin to many religious sisters donning a black veil instead of white after their first profession), so I usually stick with black or colored headcoverings. I really like lace, so I have two different black lace veils that I wear. I also have a gorgeous navy blue veil (one of my household sisters made it for me!) which I wear on Marian days (like today! And every Saturday).
Really, there are lots of options for headcoverings. Here are a few:
The Classic Lace
The Whimsical Scarf
The Creative Hair Wrap
Wrapunzel. This blog is run by a young Jewish woman, and she has incredibly gorgeous ways to wrap your hair, with really helpful tutorials!
The Adorable Hat
You might be thinking that these headcoverings are horrendous. Or you might really like them. And perhaps you might even be drawn to practice this devotion. But, then a little fear enters the picture. Or a lot of fear. Everybody will judge me! Everyone will think that I'm trying to be "holier than thou"! I'm going to be such a distraction!
Let me tell you, every single woman I've talked with about veiling has gone through her list of fears. But the women I've talked with aren't ruled by their fears. We've found that many other parishioners like it when we show up at Mass veiled. We've found that this devotion isn't about us, but it's about God. And yes, a veiled woman might be a distraction at first--but I like to think of her as a "good distraction." Personally, I go to Mass and think, Oh look! A woman veiled--Jesus is here! And my attention pops straight to Jesus. That's just my take on the situation.
Thank you all for letting me share some insight into this devotion with you! If you have any questions or concerns (phrased in a loving manner, please), feel free to comment below, use the contact form, or shoot me an e-mail!