Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” Revelation 19:6-7
In my past post I spoke of how my Spiritual Director told me that the Saints in heaven, when God asks them to do something, they do it joyfully, immediately, and fully. I told all of you that I looked at my past and I saw how when God asked me to do something I did it with complaint, put it off, and half way. I told you I was going to reform myself. I am here to tell you I am a giant failure.
Within a week of writing that post I was in adoration. I was praying for a friend. Sometimes when I pray in adoration, if I am alone, I will lay prostrate in front of our Lord in the Monstrance . As I lay prostrate on the floor in front of the Monstrance, I could see my hair fall all around me. I very clearly heard the Lord say, how long have I been asking you to cover that up in deference to me? I told him, probably 4 years. He then asked me to make the sacrifice and to show the beauty of a woman in a world that so distorts what womanhood is.
I have read all the reasons why women veil. I have come across article after article. I have always had great respect for it. But it wasn’t for me. I go to a church that has a beautiful Novus Ordo Mass. In a large congregation of 2200 families, most of the women do not veil, maybe I will see one at a weekend Mass. Because I work in the RCIA ministry, I have always justified that I need to look “normal” for those who are not used to Catholic traditions. And plus, I really like my hair.
So here was God asking me, just after I proclaimed I would be immediate, joyful, and full, to cover my head in Mass. It is a sacrifice for Him and for others is what he told me. So what do I do, I tell the Lord, why yes, I will do it. And then I leave adoration and immediately begin bargaining with him. Does it have to be THIS weekend Lord? How about a cute hat Lord?
What I wore to Christmas Mass. My husband told me I looked Russian.
No one else is wearing a veil Lord, I will look like a weirdo. People will think I am trying to be holy, when I feel completely not worthy Lord. You just want me to look like a holy roller. The thing is, I never looked at people who wore veils that way, so why was I thinking it for myself? In fact I admired people who wore veils. Here I was complaining, putting things off, and doing things halfway. I recognized immediately what I was doing. I got so mad at myself.
I think God was also hitting me in an attachment, an attachment to vanity. Stop taking selfies of yourself in a hat Susan and order a veil, he said to me. My husband asked me how many hats I was going to buy when the fourth one showed up at the house. I had ordered a veil, but it was going to take about 5 weeks to get here, and the veil at the bookstore, well I bought it and didn’t wear it. But when my ordered veil finally arrived, I thought, I cannot fight God any longer. So yes, you will see me in my veil, not feeling holy, but unworthy, but in everything deferring to my Lord.
My friend Allison told me with a blog named Veil of Veronica, how could I possibly think I wouldn’t end up in a veil. So with that, I won’t make you indulge my selfies after this. God tells me to stop focusing on myself, and focus on others. I’m trying Lord. I really am trying.
But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled brings shame upon her head, for it is one and the same thing as if she had had her head shaved. For if a woman does not have her head veiled, she may as well have her hair cut off. But if it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should wear a veil. 1:Corinthians 11: 5-6
Susan I enjoy your posts! I remember in the “good old days” if we forgot to bring our beanies to St. Margaret’s School we had to put a tissue on our head for mass!
Ha! Thanks Jean Marie!
What does your husband think about it? It was easy for me to wear one at the Latin Mass I attended for a year. I even switched to wearing skirts every day. My husband wasn’t thrilled and now that I am back at our Novus Ordo Mass, I don’t veil but I always wear a skirt even on the weekdays. I have gotten a few comments on how I look feminine and I admit, I do feel more feminine when wearing my skirts. I went to Goodwill and bought a whole slew of them!
It is always something though, just recently I felt the Holy Spirit’s call to kneel during the priest’s final blessing at Mass. I am sure my husband and children are thinking, “What is she doing now?!”
My husband is supportive. He knows if God is telling me something he should just step back and let me and God work it out. 😁.
I love your dialogue and bargaining with God. Not that I love that you are bargaining, I just love how real you are with him and US!! I think the veil is. Beautiful. You know, my hair is so long and black, nobody would even know if I had one on!!
Then you should get a white one — lol. Just kidding. Traditionally white ones are for unmarried women and black was for married women, but I went to St Edward this morning and most of the women there wore white veils and I know they were married women. I think I am going to get one in a nice Marian blue color. Anyway, thanks for appreciating my realness– I am always afraid of revealing the crazy in my head!!
Love your honesty and struggling with such a personal, albeit fairly minor “in the scheme of things” matter! A few years ago, I was in a Bible study and realized the Lord was convicting me of vanity and “wanting to look young” because I was coloring my hair…and that it was time to go gray at age 50 with my youngest son still in high school. Scary! My mom’s hair is still dark and my mother-in-law is one of those who will color her hair until she leaves this earth, ha ha. I only knew a few women my age who were “rocking the gray”. My husband was very supportive, he was already going gray and thought it “looked weird” standing together when my hair was dyed Clairol Medium Brown. A few months passed, I found some encouraging “gals go gray” type websites for support, my hair was short and mostly gray, and my son was now a senior with the only gray haired mom in the stands, poor kid.
That fall, I was clothes shopping when I clearly heard “Minister in skirts”. Driving home, I asked the Lord what did that mean? What came to mind was “Dress conservatively and modestly so none can find fault with your appearance.” So…like one of the posters above, skirts and dresses (used and some new) started coming into my closet and tight jeans, clingy shirts, bright colors and even patterns went out. I even quit wearing black as my silvery hair sheds and shows up so much on black tops. It was quite a challenge to wear skirts to cold football games! I relied on tights, tall warm boots and even purchased an insulated skirt. I’ve never felt called to wear “long skirts” as some Christian women do (mine tend to be knee-length and sporty!), nor to wearing a veil.
What is funny is how few people have seemed to notice or comment. My mom still hasn’t really said anything, while my MIL noticed and asked me about it within a few months. I work with kids in afterschool programs, and a couple girls asked me if I always wear dresses, but that’s about it. In some of my circles, a lot of “crunchy earth type gals” who often wear skirts for a variety of reasons, and there are a few very conservative Christian gals I know who sport the long-denim-skirt look with long hair as a way to please the Lord in their dress and demeanor.
But what counts is yours…and my…obedience to what the Lord called US to do. Dying to self comes in many ways, doesn’t it?
I love your story. I was surprised that I reacted the way I did to the simple request. God has asked me to do some pretty hard things that I have balked less at. So yeah, it’s a simple thing, but obviously an area I needed to work on. Truth is most people probably aren’t even paying attention and I angst over nothing. Besides God tells me to care what He thinks! Like you said, dying to self comes in many ways!
I don’t know what I’d do if God ever asked me to wear a veil.
I’m not crazy about my hair in the first place, but because I do look at it too much and fuss over it a bit, maybe God did allow a form of stripping: I went to have my hair cut recently while hubby watched the kids. I was so busy running through a mental checklist of all the things the kids could get up to when the cat is away that I forgot to give the stylist crucial instructions, and because of that, I now have hair that looks like the top of a tomato. Being overweight, and with that awful haircut, my resemblance to the tomato is beyond striking.
Despite your bargaining with God, I can’t believe the depth of your courage and humility to wear the veil. Susan, I think He’s stripping you of your joy in your hair so that every bit of you is for Him. And it makes me wonder what lies ahead for you, how your Call is going to develop from this point.
Yes I agree, he wants every bit of me. And I think he will be breaking all my attachment. I have given him permission to do so. I just hope He is gentle with me.
Our Blessed Mother is the one who worked on me about wearing the veil, which I started doing last year during Lent. It was a spiritual journey for me. It seemed so difficult at first, now, I can’t imagine going back. And little by little other women in Church started asking me about it, and a number have started wearing one, several young ladies too! This makes me happy because I know it makes Jesus happy. I have even made veils to give away. I just made a pretty midnight blue one that a young lady in our parish requested. So, it seems that more and more women are hearing this call, and I believe it is to counter the image of women in the world today, as the Lord said to you, “He then asked me to make the sacrifice and to show the beauty of a woman in a world that so distorts what womanhood is.” That is the message I got too, among other reasons, which include how showing Jesus utmost reverence is so important. I had to chuckle a little at your post. I go back and forth with the Lord about some things too, but in the end, He somehow manages to get His way…;-)
Thank you! Yes He does manage to get his way.
Susan, I really appreciate the thoughts you share in your blog, and your honesty.
I wanted to share something regarding your thoughts today. I had a conversion experience 40 years ago as a very young woman.
Prepare yourself….if you’re serious about a relationship with God and holiness, be prepared to be stripped of every attachment, everything in which you have complacency….God will exact each and every one from you, for He will have no rival in our hearts, not allow our affections to rest in anything other than Him. He will even purify our love for family, friends and loved ones.
Vanity is one of the most obvious attachments He will ask us to break.
He searches our depths, and it is to our own disadvantage to delay the inevitable. The more quickly we advance in our purification, the sooner we taste the unutterable Gift of God Himself…..Is anything worth forfeiting or delaying all that God wishes to give us?
It is this very union for which we were created and it is in this alone that we plummet the depths of our own unutterable happiness.
The freedom we taste once liberated from our attachments is a foretaste of heaven.
For light and inspiration on this process, read Ascent of Mount Carmel by Saint John of the Cross, Three Ages of the Interior Life by Garrigou-Lagrange, and Tanqueray’s The Spiritual Life…all magnificent treatises on the importance and exigency of this purification.
I know. When I pray and tell him I’m totally surrendering I mean it. And one by one he has stripped me. I think I was surprised at myself about the veil because this is actually one of the most simple things He has asked me to do and yet I feel I fought it hard. The only thing I think I can remember fighting this hard about was actually writing this blog. I said NO for awhile until it was clear I couldn’t anymore. I also know in the coming months and years what He will ask will get harder. This is all preparation for purity. I really don’t want to fight him at all anymore but in my humanity I still do. Thankfully he is patient and Merciful with me.
Susan, the sight/recognition of our resistance is itself a gift, for it gives us more proof of our unworthiness, nothingness and self love…what a grace to be convinced of this truth! It’s the first condition for every grace which will follow.
If we plunge deeper and deeper into the depths of this self knowledge in His sight begging His forgiveness and help, our failures become an occasion of love and reparation, and we console God by this acknowledgement of the truth.
One of my favorite saints, Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, a Carmelite contemporary of Saint Therese, lived a life of perfect innocence and conformity to grace, and yet even she would pray to Our Lord: “Save me from the depths of the iniquity within me!”
Such is the beautiful clearsightedness of the Saints once illumined by grace. This is why they all saw their inherent sinfulness without the grace of God to raise them above it, and they truly considered themselves among the greatest sinners.
When we consider our pride and sinfulness, our fallen nature so capable of resisting God, the sin of vanity can be seen to be especially odious in God’s sight. We admire ourselves and want others to do so, even though we are so guilty of personal sin!
This was the sin of Satan, to wish to be admired, stealing the esteem owed to God alone.
If we could see the true sight of our multiple miseries in the sight of God, vanity would be quenched in an instant!
Oh, how I had to laugh….sorry…. A couple of years ago our wonderful accountant/receptionist at the church said she felt God calling her to wear a veil. Cathy, being the researcher she is, searched and destroyed for all she could find on the church and veils. After her lengthy story, she asked if I would wear one. No, I replied, I’ve been to the middle east too many times (deployments)…. I mentioned this all to my brother who asked if I would wear one. I once again said no. He asked, “what if the Pope says to?” I said, “no, not good enough and not unless God tells me to….(yes, I’ve apologized to God)!” God knew how to get me. The book called St Maryam of Bethlehem by Sister Emmanuel did it. Satan was allow to test the nun for 40 days. Before the 40 days were up, he went back to the Throne of God and told Him, I’m done. God said, “no, you’re not.” When satan went back to the convent, he went up to another nun and ripped off her veil, and said, “I don’t like modesty!” I knew I had my answer. I called satan a name and then looked up and said, “Okay, help me to be obedient to you.” I don’t do well w/ this but He has helped me very much. I’m so not holy or as good as all those people in church, but nonetheless, I’m trying. I refuse to send a picture of me w/ my veil I purchased from good ole Cathy….and it’s black even tho at the ripe old age of 58 my hair is white. I did tell God, “come on, I ask you to hide me! This doesn’t really help…” He is good and good all the doggone time. He reminds my when I’ve conveniently left it in the car, etc… I’m sorta, kinda used to it. Just no pictures….
Haha! Thanks for the story. Love it!
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One step at a time, for me. I admire those who veil. So far, the Lord hasn’t asked me to do that. The way my relationship is with my husband, I think the Lord would also tell him. This does remind me though of my recent reception of Holy Communion on the tongue. I’ve felt because it’s so humbling, that is the reason, I must do it. When I walk forward, I clasp my hands together and pray. I also think in my head and heart, “Slow down. Receive, don’t take.” I admire your obedience and your courage.
I started receiving on the tongue years before I veiled. I started doing that because my husband told me to 😃
I too started receiving the Eucharist on the tongue , many years before veiling. One day at Mass back in 2006-2007, as I walked down the aisle to receive Communion, I sensed the Lord say: ” I desire for you to receive Me on your knees, and on your tongue”. I was convicted in the Holy Spirit right then and there, from that moment on! Almost 10 years later , while on a silent Eucharistic retreat, I began to sense that Our Lady was asking me to cover my head in the Presence of God. It was really a matter of sensing this in prayer as I sat before the Blessed Sacrament during the retreat. One evening , when I went back to my cell, I opened the Bible spontaneously. It came to 1 Corinthians 11, verse 6 …. and I almost fell off the bed by the Power of the Word, convicting me of the need to veil myself in the Presence of God. I would say that “need to veil” includes any time during prayer , when we meet God deep inside our heart, in that special prayer time when one enters the Throne Room of God. Of course, that also means when we are in the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus Christ. Our Lady is covered. Angels bow and tremble before the Kingdom Glory. Why should it be any different for us ? I think it is really a matter of prayerfully sensing the KINGDOM GLORY. Indeed, when a soul has once sensed this PRESENCE, it knows that is must be prostrate, and be covered …. like the Seraphim’s wings cover their faces. If you have ever attended a time of powerful prayer or praise in assembly…sometimes there comes a moment when this very Kingdom Glory descends upon the room. What happens? All fall silent. Many bow low to the ground. Many go prostrate. There is awe . All souls spontaneously desire to be covered by the magnificence of God’s Glorious Presence. It is a great GIFT when God lets a soul experience this Kingdom Glory. Indeed, we experience it by FAITH every time we attend Mass or come to adore Him in the exposed Eucharist. But sometimes, God lets us sense it. And then, one is convicted of the need for reverence. It is INTERNAL. No one commands it but the Spirit of God. Reverence is the fruit of adoration . It is in fact the body “sensing” what Holy Fear of the Lord means. It is a very awesome moment, when the soul becomes filled with the trembling love of a virginal bride before her spouse. In fact, we should all contemplate the PATTERN of the Covenant which Susan has been writing about. First is the ceremony …then is the meal… and later, much later in the evening, comes the moment of CONSUMMATION. Fulton Sheen said that the Cross is the Consummation of the Marriage Covenant, the mystical union of God with souls …. and thus our Covenant is consummated with the Blessed Trinity when we receive Jesus at every Mass. Mass is in fact the bridal chamber for our souls. If only we sensed this mystical union more fully, we would surely arrive 20 minutes early at each Mass and remain there stunned and pierced with His Love, for surely 20 minutes after Mass….
If you take the time to read the Book of Hosea, you will discover the heartbreak that God the Father experiences from our “promiscuity” and infidelity to the Covenant. The whole book sets forth the parallel between pure and impure attitudes of “the woman” and her spouse. The soul weeps to discover how God the Father is wounded. The “metaphor” used throughout is none other that sexual promiscuity, in very harsh language. The temporal is indeed “connected” to the spiritual . The one leads us to comprehend the other. Theologians put it this way: Per visibilia ad invisibilia. Meaning, the visible realm leads us into the invisible realm. ALL IS CONNECTED. If we “mess up” temporal marriage and sexuality, we will surely “mess up” spiritual covenant and intimacy with the Most Blessed Trinity. There is much for us to contemplate in the Mystery of this UNITY of God’s Creation… God bless you , Susan, for listening to Him and sharing with us. The Veil is very thin between the two realms. Just like Veronica’s Veil , made of the finest woven whisper of a fabric. That is what PRAYER is : the Veil of Veronica. The gentle whisper of the breath of God, the Holy Spirit, can pull back that veil for us during prayer. Any prayer. Any where. Any time. We just have to be still. Stop. Listen. Desire God. Speak to Him. Wait. Love. Long for His Presence. Receive Him …. in the depth of our intimacy. Shalom.
Wow Lucy that is beautiful. Thank you.
I wore a veil last week for the first time. It has been on my heart to veil, but I did not want others to feel or act awkward around me, so I’ve hesitated. Then, on a Wednesday night, our family went out for ice cream. The place was packed. We live in the Bible Belt and all these people had come from their church services. My 17-year old son noticed they were in t-shirts and shorts and wondered why they would dress that way for church. We talked about the Real Presence in the Catholic Church and that we dress differently because Jesus is really there. It hit me like a ton of bricks and I asked God if he was asking me to veil. The next day, I walked through a school gym as they were sorting items for a garage sale. I found two brand new Veils by Lily in a box of scarves for $0.25 each. That was my answer. When I told my husband, he was very matter-of-fact and said it was a good idea. And so I veiled.
Love it. Thanks for sharing.
Well, kinda eatin’ my words, here. I say that my husband would have to tell me, but maybe that isn’t so. I didn’t start praying the rosary because of my husband, nor receiving Holy Communion on the tongue. It may be Daily Mass where I step out on this limb of faith. It is there, where I feel less self conscious, less public. I am also impressed with all the parallels of these expressions of our worship of God. I wasn’t raised as a Christian and didn’t attend church until college. I was literally saved and know without a doubt that God moved in my heart and changed me. I am a convert and was a Protestant from age 19 until 33. Each pivotal point in my life, it hasn’t been I who has taken the initiative, although God has let me think it was. I remember saying as a charismatic Protestant, “I’m not raising my hands in church. Nobody will make me. I’m not a sheep.” HA!
Another thought that impresses me, which speaks of inner conversion, dying to self, and its pride, is the sacrament of Confession. Whoa! Talk about a walk in the dirt of humility. I mean, it doesn’t get more down to earth, than to confess my sins to a priest. I’d always been placated by Protestantism that, “Oh, you don’t need to confess your sins to a flawed human being. You only need to go into your own prayer closet and do that.” Our sacraments are outward signs of our interior life, are they not? Our sacramentals are too, are they not? Holy water fonts, rosary beads, kneeling, reading the Bible, the liturgies, and so on. So…the veil.
I love what Lucy says about the veil of Veronica, and prayer. She said it so beautifully. That’s what I love about Daily Mass. It’s where I can go, where it isn’t about me, or anyone else, except God. What safety! What LOVE! Humility is nothing to be afraid of. That’s what my true nature tells me. The stony part of my heart is what grips me in fear.
I always command the Spirit of Fear to leave me in the name of Jesus! It has no authority over me! Once I started veiling it definitely became easier, and yes I started with daily Mass too.
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