The One Reason I Don’t Veil at Mass

(This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission from purchases made through affiliate links. My opinions are entirely my own. You can see my full disclosure policy here.  Thanks bunches.)

Veiling.

As a relative newcomer to the Church, I usually like to stay away from those lively, in-house hot buttons. I feel like a newly adopted kid giving her new family relationship advice – what do I know about it, anyway? I haven’t been part of the conversation that started so many years ago. Even for subjects that I do know some things about – like say feminism – the whole conversation has been reframed in a new and completely different context, and I just need to sit and listen for a while before I say a word.

But veiling.

I keep coming back to this one.

You see, as a Protestant, I practiced veiling – only, we called it “covering.”

Image result for desiree hausam headcovering
Summer, 2013

Same difference. Here’s a shot of my girls and I outside our old Presbyterian church (before we got banned – but that’s a different topic).

Sola Scriptura

We adopted this practice because of Sola Scriptura. Our personal interpretation of the Bible (informed by a variety of Bible teachers) was that women should veil in worship, and so we did. At times, a couple of other women in the congregation covered as well, but it was a minority position and tended to cause some in-house tension. At the end of my time there, I was the only woman who practiced it – along with being part of the only family who didn’t sing the hymns. Every Sunday felt like my own personal protest, staged against my brothers and sisters whom I dearly loved and desired unity with. But I could not deny what I saw in the Bible. Ultimately this path led to our complete breakage from our church home of 14 years.

By the time we later washed up on the shores of the Catholic Church, I was exhausted and heartbroken from the conflicts we had been through.  Week after week, I still faced the choice: continue to veil? Or set it aside?

Well, when I learned that the official position of the Church on veiling is that it is no longer Canon Law, and is an optional practice (want more meat? Try this one), I decided to lay my veil aside, for one reason only.

I don’t veil because 99% of the ladies in my parish also don’t veil. I’ve done my time as a Protestant; I protested until it broke my heart, for the sake of my interpretation of the Bible. That’s the fate of a Protestant who takes Sola Scriptura completely seriously. But I hung all that up when I chose to submit to the inspired guidance of the Magisterium of the Church.

The Priceless Unity of the Church

For those ladies that do veil, I have nothing but respect. It’s a beautiful, reverent devotion, and it is affirmed as valid by the Church. My heart warms to see the ladies who do it. We all come from different places, and are blessed by different devotions. I am often encouraged to see the same attitude from the veiling folks:

“Whether you join us in the devotion of wearing a chapel veil or not, we are your sisters. Let us truly be in communion. Let us pray for one another.” – Birgit Jones

But I am saddened and troubled when I occasionally encounter the attitude that it is irreverent not to veil – in Facebook threads, usually.

One thing I love about the Church is that she permits so many varied expressions of true spirituality without division. We have many different vocations, devotions, practices that are approved, and we have to accept one another under the shelter of Rome. Differences exactly like the question of veiling routinely sunder the Protestant world – yet Catholics hold together, because we all agree that the Church, not us, decides who is Biblical and reverent, and who isn’t.

The unity of faith and practice that the Catholic Church has is a priceless treasure. For a former Presbyterian, used to the endless shattering of denominations, it is simply a miracle. It IS a miracle, friends – the only reason we can all hold together is through the inspiration of the Spirit to the Magisterium of the Church.

Conclusion

So, for me, with my background and experiences, to veil in a parish setting where nearly no one else does disrupts my sense of finally belonging to a community with whom I have no quarrel. To lay it aside was an act of trust in the Church – a setting aside of my Sola Scriptura conviction in favor of submitting to the Church’s conclusion on the subject. I would don my veil again in a heartbeat if the Church asked me to, but until then, I go bareheaded in trust that this, too, is reverent.

Do you veil at Mass? Why or why not? Grab some coffee, let’s chat!

If you are thinking of starting to veil, remember that Ebates members get 5% cash back at The Catholic Company!

 

Catholic Piety for Protestants No. 3: St. Patrick’s Breastplate

(This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission from purchases made through affiliate links. My opinions are entirely my own. You can see my full disclosure policy here.  Thanks bunches.)

Welcome to the third post of my series on Catholic piety for Protestants and converts; in this series I am delving into some of the classic prayers of the Church. Catholic piety is not typically well understood in Protestant circles, and as a convert I found this to be an area that was both fascinating and also deeply important to my changing perceptions of the Church.

Other posts in the series: The Anima Christi, and The Peace Prayer of St. Francis.

St. Patrick’s Breastplate (or the Lorica of St. Patrick)
The Prayer

Full text:

I arise today Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, Through belief in the Threeness, Through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.

I arise today Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism, Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial, Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension, Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today Through the strength of the love of cherubim, In the obedience of angels, In the service of archangels, In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward, In the prayers of patriarchs, In the predictions of prophets, In the preaching of apostles, In the faith of confessors, In the innocence of holy virgins, In the deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through The strength of heaven, The light of the sun, The radiance of the moon, The splendor of fire, The speed of lightning, The swiftness of wind, The depth of the sea, The stability of the earth, The firmness of rock.

I arise today, through God’s strength to pilot me, God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me, God’s shield to protect me, God’s host to save me From snares of devils, From temptation of vices, From everyone who shall wish me ill, afar and near.

I summon today All these powers between me and those evils, Against every cruel and merciless power that may oppose my body and soul, Against incantations of false prophets, Against black laws of pagandom, Against false laws of heretics, Against craft of idolatry, Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards, Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul; Christ to shield me today Against poison, against burning, Against drowning, against wounding, So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.

***Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.***

I arise today Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, Through belief in the Threeness, Through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.

***The starred portion is often used alone as an abbreviated version. Text from Our Catholic Prayers.

Impact:

There is a common Protestant misconception that Catholics don’t know Jesus, aren’t Christians, or are so distracted by Mary and the saints that they don’t think about Jesus that much.

This is maybe the #1 misconception that needs to be overcome (either that, or Sola Scriptura). Our Protestant brothers and sisters love Jesus, and they need to find out that we do, too! I have said before that conflict and confusion drove me to the doors of the Church, but Jesus pulled me inside. All I had to do was darken that door with a truly open mind, and I recognized that Jesus was there in a way that I had not found before. For me, that open mind was caused by the collapse of my previous views and my forcible ejection from my former community, but it might not have to be that way for everyone. Some of us might be a little more stubborn than others. Maybe.

There are lots of ways in which Jesus is present in the Church, but prayers like this are so accessible. It is hard to say that a Catholic doesn’t care about Christ when she is reverently praying, “Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me...”

The Facts

Our Catholic Prayers says:

“St. Patrick’s Breastplate is a popular prayer attributed to one of Ireland’s most beloved patron saints. According to tradition, St. Patrick wrote it in 433 A.D. for divine protection before successfully converting the Irish King Leoghaire and his subjects from paganism to Christianity. (The term breastplate refers to a piece of armor worn in battle.)”

The prayer is also known as The Lorica of St. Patrick, and the Cry of the Deer. There have been a number of musical adaptations, including the one included below.

Further Resources

Musically, I may be in a bit of a rut, but I am finding that John Michael Talbot has sung so many of these prayers, and I have known these songs for years before I knew them as anything else. Do you have a favorite musical version?

Gift Ideas for Catholic Converts & Reverts

(This post contains referral and affiliate links. I receive a small commission through my affiliate and referral links at no impact to your shopping experience. My opinions are entirely my own. You can see my full disclosure policy here.  Thanks bunches.) 

Welcome to my Gifts for Converts and Reverts Roundup!

With the Christmas season just barely peeking around the corner and the RCIA/Religious Ed. year getting into full swing, this seems like the perfect time to pull together a gift guide. When a person is new to and still unfamiliar with the Church, there are specific items and resources that would be very helpful and welcome as gifts.

Small Catholic Businesses and Artisans
O Mary Conceived Without Sin Navy Blue Dahlias 8x10 Vertical watermark 2
Sweet Little Ones Shop

First off, I would like to introduce you to some small Catholic businesses and artisans that create and sell Catholic gifts online.

These are wonderful places to find handmade rosaries, beautiful prints and printables, liturgical calendars, jewelry, dolls, and more. I love to support Catholic artisans and small businesses anytime I can!

Many of these fine shops can be found on Etsy.com, so I do want to pass along that Etsy participates in Ebates! Woot! If you are not familiar with Ebates, it is a free membership that offers cash back when you shop online at hundreds of major stores including Target, Amazon, eBay (!), The Catholic Company (!!), and Etsy.  There are also in-store rebates to be had.

I have been a member of Ebates for several years; I’m not much of a shopper, but even so, I’ve gotten over $150 cash back so far – and they did pay it out. I think the minimum payout threshold is $5, so they don’t sit around on your money, either.

Finally, Ebates is currently offering a $10 Welcome Bonus to all new members who make a qualifying purchase of $25 within 90 days of signing up. So, if you choose to shop on Etsy (or just about anywhere else online) this season, check out Ebates to get some cash back on your purchases, diffuse the Christmas shopping bills, and support small businesses too.

Without further ado, ready to meet some awesome artisans?

Liturgical Calendars, Prints, and Art

Rose Harrington Shop – A variety of prints, including botanical mysteries of the Rosary.2017-2018 Liturgical Calendars

Telos Art – The liturgical year is confusing when you aren’t used to it! These beautiful calendars would make amazing gifts for someone new to the Catholic Church.

Miscellaneous Handmade
No automatic alt text available.
Happy Nest Home Goods

Peter’s Square – This is not an individual seller but a “community of Catholic makers.” There are currently nearly 100 different sellers on there with a dizzying array of goods. (I am especially fond of the “Heretical Nonsense” book stamp!I love that all sellers donate at least 5% of proceeds to the Church and her ministries. Grab some coffee – you might be there awhile!

No automatic alt text available.
My Little Felt Friends

Hair Bows 4 Life – Beautiful handmade hair bows including bows featuring saint medals, bows for baptisms and First Communion, bows for holidays and feasts, bows honoring the Blessed Virgin, and much more. 10% of all sales are donated to the Pro-Life community.

SaongJai – Rosaries, jewelry, cards, printables, and more.

Happy Nest Home Goods – Embroidered goods, wall art, and awesome diffuser jewelry.

My Little Felt Friends – Adorable handmade saint dolls, bookmarks, headbands, keychains, Jesse Tree ornaments, Nativity scenes, DIY nativity+scenekits, and finger puppets. Custom orders welcome!

Arma Dei – “Equipping Catholic Families.” Great selection of craft kits, books, cards, all with catechetics in mind.

Kidderbug Kreations– Christmas ornaments and a wide variety of made-to-order items.

Printables

Sweet Little Ones Shop – Religious art is important and uplifting, but it can be expensive for a convert to update the artwork in their home to reflect their faith. This shop offers beautiful printable artwork, uplifting words, and quotes from saints to affordably add to the beauty of the Catholic home.

Handmade Rosaries, Jewelry, Etc.

relicsbyrose

AveMariaFaithcrafts – Rosaries, necklaces, earrings, saint necklaces, and more.

Relics by Rose – Handmade bracelets, necklaces, rosaries, keychains.

Additional Gift Ideas

Some other good possibilities might include:

  • Books. There is so much to learn! Check out my Reading List for an exhaustive list of books for converts.
  • A wall crucifix. We were so happy to receive one from our sponsors!
  • Prayer cards. I think a little collection of prayer cards would be a thoughtful gift; converts often don’t know the classic prayers by heart.
  • Art and home decor. Like I mentioned above, sacred art is an important and uplifting thing. If a family is starting from zero religious art and decor, this can be an appreciated and lasting gift.
In Closing

I hope this little gift guide was helpful as we head toward the holidays and through the RCIA year. The final, and really best, gift suggestion I have to make is this: time. Converts can be lonely. They may have recently lost friends and been rejected by family over their conversion. They can feel confused, out of place, worried. In short, they need a friend! Go have coffee. Invite them to dinner. Say hi to their kids. These things can be a cup of cold water to someone who is walking an unfamiliar road.

Remember to sign up for Ebates before you shop to get a $10 Welcome Bonus and cash back on your shopping!

Linked up at Theology is a Verb and Reconciled to You.