Wednesday, April 4, 2012

"A unVeiled Idea of Relevant Reverence"

Disclaimer: the following blog entry isn't my usual "recipe with story", but I've been wanting to write this for quite a while. The next entry will have Easter recipes, promise!
This Lenten season has found me pondering numerous things about my life. Some are very, very good while some seem rather mundane or even to the point of wondering why I thought of it in the first place.
Thoughts have ranged from "Do I really want to get up for 7:00 a.m. Mass?" to "What is the Lord teaching me through this pneumonia?" to "What on earth am I going to teach my fencers tonight?" to "I am so excited for Cari to be going to Rome to meet up with her brother for three weeks... will they be able to get around without getting lost?".
A beautifully illustrated plainchant
piece of music
One thought that's been continuing to go around in my head occurs every time I head to Saint Joseph's for Mass or to go to the Adoration Chapel. That is the issue of reverence. As a Catholic "revert" (coming "home to Rome" 1 1/2 years ago), I have been made aware of the changes in the Church over the last 31 1/2 years. I thought, coming from evangelical churches for the last 29 years that I'd appreciate the Mass where the songs are the same as what we sang before coming into the Catholic Church, but it has not been so. Instead of modern praise and worship, I have found my heart soars listening to, as well as taking part in singing, beautiful Gregorian (our favorite album is Chant) or plainchant (see video here) and palestrina (see video here). Don't get me wrong, our family still listens to Toby Mac and David Crowder Band sometimes, but our tastes have definitely taken a turn down the very traditional music path.
Veils- not just for
grandmas anymore
Another part of the reverence issue that comes up is head covering. I have had a veil from my Grandma Pitalo in a dresser drawer for many years with the intention of keeping it as a momento and not planning on ever using it. When we started attending Saint Joseph's, I saw a few women wearing mantillas, veils or scarves, but I didn't want to "yet". I kept thinking I wasn't quite holy enough to wear one. All of that changed (not being more holy, but the wearing of a veil) Christmas Eve Mass 2010 when Joshua asked why his sisters and I weren't covering our heads. The young women he attends school with all wear mantillas or veils to Mass, so he was pretty used to seeing them. I mentioned the not being holy enough to which he laughed gently and gave me the scarf wrapped around his neck to wear for Mass. Since then the girls and I have worn our veils or scarves every time we attend Mass~ no matter where we've been. It's always interesting to be the only ones veiled, for example, at St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral in Reno or St. Mary's in            Mt. Angel, or to be just one of many, like at The Rosary Bowl and, our home parish of Saint Joseph's. I wore a white veil that I had made when Brian and I convalidated our marriage January 2011, and the girls wore their scarves. A friend saw the family photo on facebook and said we must attend a conservative church. I laughed and told her where we go to church. She was surprised, but then I was able to explain that it was my choice to wear one because I wanted to show reverence for the Lord when I go into church. That is what is comes down to: I am not required to wear a head covering, but I do it out of my love and reverence for the True Presence of Christ at church. It doesn't have anything to do with making a statement. I've been the only one in church sometimes when I have stopped by to take some time to pray, and I still put it on before entering. My girls (22 and 17 years old) both wear scarves when they attend Mass or go to the Adoration Chapel~ the decision to veil their own.*
What it really comes down to, whether with music or veiling or anything else that can help or hinder our time spent in the Lord's presence, is relevant reverence. Does the music we sing/listen to bring us closer to Heaven or help us to simply feel good? Do I care more about what others think or do I want to do whatever it is the Lord is calling me to do, even if that means being the only one wearing a veil? Does what we are doing help us to focus on Him or is it more about us? Webster's online dictionary defines reverence as "profound, adoring, awed, respect". What deserves more awed respect than our Lord? No matter how that ends up looking for each of us, it is something we need to ponder~ during Lent and the rest of the year.

*There are quite a few blogs with really great veil posts. Here are a few of my favorites, if you feel like checking them out.
Standing On My Head
Will You Mantilla with Me