Thursday, July 2, 2009

On Forgetting the Veil

We all knew this would happen sometime.  Last Saturday evening, as I scrambled around the church where my youth group meets, busy between teaching the kids the music, trying to figure out the microphone system, worrying whether the youth minister would arrive on time with the lyric handouts, and general craziness, the celebrant rang the bell and we began the entrance hymn.

About two verses in, I realized my head was bare.

As that sunk in, I knew my veil was only a room away, but it would be more trouble than it was worth (and more distracting, as a music minister); even if my temporary disappearance past the other musicians wasn't noticed, my reappearance with the veil I hadn't been wearing earlier would be.  So I made a decision of the will to let it go.

It wasn't as terrible as one might think.  Sure, I wanted to be wearing the veil, and was sorry I wasn't.  But the Mass itself was a bit chaotic, from my ministerial standpoint, so my focus couldn't be on prayer in the typical sense.  I'm sure it helped that the church, while not terribly Protestant-like, is not architecturally soaked in sacredness, and the parish spirituality, while not usually outright heretical, is not one that I find spiritually beneficial.  But all I felt was a feeling of general sadness.

This is in contrast to the day several months previous when the gorgeous St Mary's Church (the photos of which don't do it justice) hosted a performance of an opera in the church building (after removing the Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle), and I had to stop myself from reflexively putting my hand up to my bare head, which felt so naked.

There was none of that here, which maybe wasn't such a bad thing, I suppose.  It's nice to know that I won't be crippled by distraction when the inevitable moment comes up when I have no way to cover my head.

But I still miss it.  The beauty that literally veils me when I am in God's presence.  The privilege to be a tangible sign to the congregation (and analogously, the world) of the marriage with Christ to which we are called.  The physical reminder to focus on the Lord and not on the people.

It's so good to be Catholic!


  1. I don't think you had /no/ way to cover your head; you could have used a variety of things including a hymnal, tissue, bulletin, sheet music, etc. When I forget my veil I could even use a clean diaper. :p

  2. My mother used to use a handkerchief to cover her head while in church when she was growing up. At least I think she did. All I know is that she never liked it, and doesn't miss it now.

  3. The other thing is that if you just stood on your head, your head would technically be "covered" by the floor.



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