Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Head Coverings at Catholic Mass

I'll begin by saying that women are not required to cover their heads at Catholic Mass. This was once required, but no longer after the Second Vatican Council, although there are web sites that will tell you differently. Read Jimmy Akin's post on the matter if you would like clarification. He has links and everything.

Woman with head scarf

I read a whole mess of comments about it on his Facebook (that link's his wall, not the discussion itself) and under the post itself and it got my mind chugging away.

Loads of commenters said many people look at women who cover their heads at Mass and think, "She thinks she's bet than everyone else." To clarify, the commenters didn't feel that way. They thought others felt that way.

I don't know how they knew that--maybe from the looks people give them. Of course a look can be misread. Maybe the onlooker was thinking, "How old fashioned and quaint," or "Weirdo," or "Where can I get one of those?" (b.t.w. you can buy lace mantillas, scarves, and chapel veils at your local Catholic shop and online.)

Clara Schumann

Okay, I'll go along with it and assume they were thinking, "She believes she's better than the rest of us." But I'm surprised by that reaction. I've covered my head since I returned to the Church, but it's because I've had a clipper ship sized load of things to be humble about. I led my life in a eh-hem** let's just say, less than holy manner... and God called me back to Him. Cover my head? Yeah. I felt... still feel like... I want to lay down on my face with my arms outstretched in front of the Tabernacle. I simply feel so gloriously honored to be invited back to Him.

We veil the Tabernacle itself, right? God gives a special honor to women- making them sharers in His life-giving ability. Look at Mary, God's chosen mother to his Son. Is she not a Tabernacle too? But for a long time I forgot all of that and He reached out to me anyway. What a little thing to veil my hair when I meet him as he humbles himself by giving himself to me in the flesh--the Eucharist.

I wish I were a poet and maybe I could get my meaning across.

woman in mantilla

No. The lady with her head covered in the next pew probably doesn't feel holier than you. Well, maybe she does (I can't say for sure), but maybe she doesn't. She might be grateful that while she was away from the Church all those people sitting around her kept the Church together. You won't know unless you talk to her.

I'm reminded of that Procol Harum song, "Quite Rightly So."
"For you whose eyes were opened wide, whilst mine refused to see..."

white mantilla

Oh, but we were talking about veiling at Mass. It's not required. I'm not even trying to convince anybody that they should do so. I wear unobtrusive regular looking scarves so nobody will notice I'm veiling for religious reasons and I don't want to distract the other parishioners. My daughters don't veil and I don't try to sway them.

It's something I feel deep within me to do for Jesus, so I do it. I think about the logic after the fact, which is odd for me because I'm by nature analytical. I'm just saying, you don't have to, but you can. And you need not be distracted by those who do because they're just muddling along like anybody else--maybe muddling more so. :)

Saint Veronica with Veil
*Links to images embedded in picture captions. Not all women pictured in the post are Catholic, but they were chosen for their lovely head coverings.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ascension of The Lord and Why We Evangelize

A blessed Ascension Sunday to you. In some dioceses, it was celebrated on Thursday. In mine it's celebrated today. That is allowed. I think it's a sad sign it was felt not enough people are willing to attend a Thursday Mass.

I hope you went to Ascension Mass. Please do revisit the readings, as they are important. You can go here. And you can go there each day to read the daily readings.

In today's Gospel reading (Mathew 28:16-20) we heard Jesus telling his disciples to go out and "make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Oh man, there is so much more packed into this reading, but let's just take this part for starters.

I've heard comments from people that religion is a private matter. They don't think it should be talked about or shared. They don't believe in evangelizing. (Never mind that one of these people has been known to explain their own brand of spirituality to my kids.) I'm not really sure how anybody is supposed to learn about religion if nobody shares it, but whatever...

Christians share their faith because Jesus told us to. "Make disciples of all nations..." You can't get much more clear than that.

Now, for the second bit--"...baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." That's the baptismal formula. There ain't no other. Also, did you notice the singular use of "the name of." It's not "the names of." What did Jesus just define there? If you said The Trinity, you'd be right. :)  Three persons in one divine being. Beautiful!

The rest of that reading is this: "...teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Are you made bold by this? We're supposed to teach His Word, His commandments. (Which means we should also be living them.) But take courage because He will be with us always. Sometimes you'll feel Him there, but other times you won't. At least, that's how it is with me. But keep praying and reading the Bible and other good spiritual material.

Golly, I'm deep today. LOL

Here's a beautiful story about twin brothers who were Friars who died within hours of each other.