Ask Mary: To Veil or Not To Veil?

Since posting a picture on my Facebook page participating the #weartheveil event this past Monday (The Feast of Mary’s Immaculate Conception!), I have received a few requests to discuss the topic of wearing a veil to mass. Where the practice came from, why it fell out of practice, what I think of it, etc.

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To be honest I’m a bit hesitant to write about it. For one thing, I don’t feel that I know a whole lot about the matter…

  • I understand it as a beautiful way for a woman to express reverence and humility when entering the space where Our Lord is present.
  • I know that a woman covering her head in church is a Biblical practice (stemming from 1 Corinthians 11), which is a nice bonus.
  • And frankly, I think that veils are pretty and feminine-looking. (Not to mention, a beautiful way to imitate our Blessed Mother!)

I don’t know the canon law behind it. I don’t know why the “requirement” was done away with. And I really have no idea what it was like to grow up or to raise a family in the Church when the mass was only said in Latin and women always covered their heads in church.

Maybe I would’ve loved it. (I like to think that I would have.)  Maybe I would’ve scoffed at being told I “had to” do something a certain way. There’s no way for me to know. I just know that as a 24-year-old woman living in 2014, I can see a lot of beauty in the practice of women “veiling” at mass.

Truth be told, I have only worn a veil to mass on a handful of occasions (another reason I feel under-qualified to be writing this post). Most masses, my “decision” not to wear the veil isn’t so much a conscious choice as it is simply the fact that I am in the habit of not wearing a veil to mass. It always makes me smile to see other women wearing them, though, and I will admit that wearing mine on Monday did re-kindle my attraction to the practice.  I’m thankful for being encouraged by the “Wear the Veil” event to do so.

I will end this post by saying that I think that wearing a veil to mass is a beautiful practice, but I also think that God is much more concerned with what is in the hearts of young women than with what is (or isn’t!) on top of our heads.  (And I believe most women who choose to veil would be the first to tell you that!)

While what we choose to wear—especially to the Holy Mass—is certainly important, I don’t think that the choice of whether or not to wear a veil to mass ought to be something that robs any Christian woman of her peace.  Until canon law tells me otherwise, I’m going to say that the choice “to veil or not to veil” is a decision between you, Jesus, and your spiritual director. :)

I shared Jennifer Fulwiler’s post on wearing the veil on my Facebook page earlier this week, but if you missed it I am posting the link here again. I think she does a nice job of summing up the beauty and the reverence behind the choice to veil (as well as addressing that concern women often have of not wanting to “stand out” for engaging in a practice that is supposed to be about humility).

Whether or not you choose to wear the veil (or to cover your head in some other manner), I think it’s worth it for any Catholic woman to seek to understand the beauty behind the practice.

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On The Gift of Thanksgiving

I hope you have a blessed and joy-filled Thanksgiving holiday this weekend.  How fortunate are we to live in a country that has set aside this day each year to give thanks for the many blessings God has given us!

There is so much in Scripture about the need for us to give thanks to God.  In fact our whole Catholic faith is based on a meal instituted for the purpose of offering God our thanks—or in Greek: εὐχαριστία (eucharistia).  God who, in turn, offers us Himself.

For me, this line from one of the prefaces to the Eucharistic prayer speaks beautifully to the gift of thanksgiving:

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And what a gift it is!  May our hearts always burn with this desire to give thanks to God!

Remember to keep in your prayers those people for whom this time of year can be difficult.  Those who have lost loved ones…families who are in the midst of deployment…and those who just, for whatever reason, struggle with feelings of depression or loneliness especially this time of year.  May we all come to know the peace that Christ offers each of us.

Don’t forget that this Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent, and it also happens to be the Feast of Saint Andrew.  You know what that means…it’s almost time again for the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena!  Fix your intentions now and don’t miss out on this beautiful way to prepare your heart during advent for Christ’s coming at Christmas.

This year I printed up a handful of copies to put around the apartment.  Such a beautiful prayer to meditate on throughout the day!

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Have a great Thanksgiving/beginning of Advent weekend!

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Do You Know Your Baptism Birthday?

Recently, we celebrated our little guy’s first baptism “birthday.”  We broke out the candle he received on the day of his baptism, had a special breakfast, and read a blessing from our book of Household Blessings and Prayers (Thanks, Lisa!).

Baptism

Nothing major, just a little way to set the day apart as special.

“To know the date of our Baptism is to know a blessed day. The danger of not knowing is that we can lose awareness of what the Lord has done in us, the memory of the gift we have received. Thus, we end up considering it only as an event that took place in the past – and not by our own will but by that of our parents – and that it has no impact on the present. We must reawaken the memory of our Baptism.”

-Pope Francis

We were so blessed to be able to have Tyler Jr. baptized just 11 days after he was born. Personally, ever since I heard that as a newborn, Joseph Ratzinger (i.e. the future Pope Benedict XVI) was taken from the hospital to be baptized on his birthday, I’ve been a little jealous that nowadays it has become more and more common within the Church to wait so long before baptizing babies.

Of course there are practical reasons for this delay.  It’s certainly in the best interest of the child for parishes to make sure as best they can that parents and godparents are properly catechized on what Baptism means, as well as to inform the parents and godparents of the responsibilities they have to make sure the child is brought up according to the faith.  These things take time, and ultimately it’s up to the discretion of the parents and their Pastor to see to it that baptism is performed in as timely a manner as possible.  For some this can be accomplished within days of the birth, for others it may take more time.  Personally, I think God understands so long as we are doing our best.

Often we Catholics are given a hard time for taking the “choice” of baptism away from our children by having them baptized as infants.  And if baptism was merely a nice gesture of proclamation of one’s personal decision to follow Christ, I would better understand this—but our Christian faith teaches that baptism is more than this.  Baptism is the moment that the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within a person.  It’s the actual washing away of the stain of original sin that each of us is born with.  Baptism is—literally— the birth of the Christian

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Galatians 3:27)

As both a symbol of one’s proclamation of faith as well as the actual supernatural gift of faith, baptism is of course not something that should be taken lightly.  It shouldn’t be sought simply out of custom or tradition—it should be eagerly desired because it is the necessary beginning of the Christian’s walk with Christ.  What greater gift can Christian parents give their children than Christ Himself?

Do you know the date of your baptism birthday?  Put it on the calendar and make a practice of celebrating it!

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Gentleness

Lately I have been feeling the Lord place on my heart a call to gentleness.

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“The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, forbearing, correcting his opponents with gentleness” (2 Timothy 2:24-25, RSV)

I’m reminded of this calling every now and again when I receive a somewhat disagreeable comment on a past blog post.

Praise God for making me just busy enough that I usually cannot reply to comments in the moment or moments immediately after first reading them.  Admittedly (and maybe not so surprisingly), my initial reaction to argumentative comments is to be argumentative right back—seeking to craft the wittiest response that explains oh so clearly and succinctly why I’m in the right.  These responses may not be outright rude, but they certainly fall short of aspiring to the kind of gentleness that the Holy Spirit, writing through Paul in his letter to Timothy, calls me to in the above verse.

Thankfully when it comes to crafting a response, I usually have the time to take a deep breath, examine my motives, and finally ask God, “What would you have me say in reply to this?” (<— that should be my FIRST thought!)

What I have learned is that God more often than not calls me to be even gentler than my first, sometimes even second or third, “draft” of gentleness.  I’m discovering that God really wants gentleness and charity to be what guide my discussions with others—especially when those discussions are about Him.

It’s not about proving that I am in the right; it’s about leading others to Christ because I want them to understand and share in the love that He has given me for Him and His Church.  This doesn’t mean that I can’t defend my God or His Church or even myself when attacked; it just means I have to check myself to assure that my responses are motivated from love and not from pride.

It’s a work in progress :)

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October 15th – Two Reasons To Celebrate

Today is our sweet baby boy’s FIRST BIRTHDAY!

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He brings us so much joy! Praising God for 365 days of adventures, giggles, and snuggles with our Tyler Jr. 

(Also on the subject of Pearson babies, we recently found out that Tyler Jr. will be getting a baby SISTER come February <3)

Another Reason to Celebrate Today…

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Another fantastic reason to celebrate October 15th is because it’s Saint Teresa of Avila’s feast day!

When I found out my first baby was due in October, I quickly learned there were plenty of great days on the Catholic calendar on which to have a birthday, but I was especially excited when Baby Tyler was born on the memorial of Saint Teresa.  Mystic, Doctor of the Church, and Carmelite nun, she has been a favorite saint of mine since I was a teenager.

I encourage you to learn a little bit about her today, but especially to ask her to pray for you.

“This Beloved of ours is merciful and good. Besides, he so deeply longs for our love that he keeps calling us to come closer. This voice of his is so sweet that the poor soul falls apart in the face of her own inability to instantly do whatever he asks of her. And so you can see, hearing him hurts much more than not being able to hear him… For now, his voice reaches us through words spoken by good people, through listening to spiritual talks, and reading sacred literature. God calls to us in countless little ways all the time. Through illnesses and suffering and through sorrow he calls to us. Through a truth glimpsed fleetingly in a state of prayer he calls to us. No matter how halfhearted such insights may be, God rejoices whenever we learn what he is trying to teach us.” 

-Saint Teresa of Avila, The Interior Castle

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