From a reader:
I’m debating whether or not to start veiling at the Novus Ordo Mass I attend. [She is obviously talking about wearing a chapel veil or head covering in church during Mass.]
I find going to Mass puts me in the occasion of sin because there is so much cacophony and irreverence before and during Mass that I cannot stay focused. I have actually got lost in mid-prayer, forgotten what I was praying about, and not able to get myself back into focus. I also find myself having uncharitable thoughts and getting prideful when this happens. [You are not alone, friend.]
I feel like I need to wear it to help with my humility and to be a physical reminder to stay focused on why I’m there, but I keep having this underlying nagging voice telling me not to do it because it’s a sign of pride and I’ll stand out as being overly-pious.
I’m not talking about wearing something showy. I’m thinking more along the lines of a smaller black veil (it’ll blend in with my dark hair better than white) that is just long enough to cover my hair. I don’t want to stand out.
If I do veil, I know I’ll be the only person wearing a head covering, as my parish is not traditionally minded at all.
Does it sound like I’d be veiling for a valid reason, or should I be concerned that this is more rooted in pride? I don’t know what to think because my parish is so casual that even wearing my Sunday best makes me feel overly-pious.
I am in a quandary. I sincerely understand the points she has raised.
I think we have to assume that the writer can’t go to another, more traditional parish where the use of the chapel veil would not be seen as so singular.
We could do a lot of “on the one hand” and “on the other” with this. She clearly wants to do it, but doesn’t want to appear singular in the eyes of others. She thinks it might help her during Mass, but in choosing to do it, that choice could itself become a problem.
As much as I am in favor of a return to this entirely optional custom, I am going to advise in this instance additional reflection with prayer before making this choice. It seems to me that if dilemma still has such sharp horns for you, then perhaps this is not the right time to do it.
And there is really no rush or pressure to decide. At the core of my advice on this point is, relax. Don’t make this into a huge additional distraction for you at Mass, something to worry about when you go. Giving this a little more time may allow you to make this choice with a little more confidence.
In an act of the purest optimism, I will open the combox so that some of you ladies who have more than likely gone through this same internal debate might chime in with your helpful insights.
Helpful, please. Thoughtful and brief.