The story as to why I wear a chapel veil is perhaps different from others. I started out trying to solve a spiritual problem that I’d become aware of.
Sometime around Pitter Patter’s first birthday, she started getting a lot more active during Mass. I was still struggling pretty hard against the scourge of maternity brain. And the antics of an adorable little infant did not make paying attention during mass very easy. Not at all.
It somehow came to my attention that I knew a few people who already wore head coverings for Mass (though they hadn’t always).
After something like a couple of months on the matter, I realized a few things that I thought were relevant.
- For many years, my eyes have been involuntarily drawn to women who wear chapel veils to mass. Chapel veils are beautiful by nature.
- It’s not so much about modesty and the need to “cover up” as it is about preparing for what we do at mass. (At Mass, we participate in the wedding feast of the lamb. It is a wedding feast. And so we should dress for the occasion.)
- I am both vain and lazy. (What? I am!)
I read about one woman who put herself through the difficult test of wearing the ugliest, rattiest towel on her head to mass for some months before she would allow herself to purchase a chapel veil. I appreciated the value of putting oneself through a period of testing before diving into something like veiling, but I found deliberately wearing something ugly to mass to be a little less than fully respectful of the sacrament, and so my period of testing took a different form.
- I had to make whatever I would wear. (and it had to be basic - not too pretty.)
- For the duration that I was working on it, I had to dress up for mass. (Like actually wear a dress, as opposed to the business casual that has been my habit for years. - I do not like to wear dresses.)
I think it’s a good idea to put one’s motivations to the test, but I think that such a thing is probably best undertaken under the guidance of a spiritual director - so you don’t set a bar that is either so high as to be impossible or so low as to be trivial. (If I had it to do over again, I'd seek a spiritual director to help me through the process.)
You might not want to make an investment in a veil yet. You don’t have to.
It’s not uncommon for women to think that they have to have a particular type of veil for mass. You don’t. You really, really don’t. Any scarf, hat, or handkerchief is okay.
You can even get a yard or so of pretty fabric from the remnant bin at most crafting stores and use that - When I started thinking about buying something nicer than what I’d made, I bought a piece of pretty black lace that I sometimes wear when it’s cooler out. (I’ve been meaning to cut it into triangles and line them with bias tape, but I haven’t gotten to it yet!)
I am contemplating purchasing a mantilla style veil, but I’m not sure that I’m ready yet. We’ll see what God has in mind for me.
So... Has it worked? (I was trying to solve the problem of undue inattentiveness in Mass, remember?)
Yes, it has.
I think Jennifer Fulwiler's post from this past March is pretty solid proof that it's impossible to avoid distraction in Mass with children. I don't know why it is, but I've had an easier time refocusing when someone's phone on the other side of the building rings and my daughter starts asking "what's that noise" and "where's the phone" at the top of her lungs!