Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Headcovering: Body and Soul

Only two (including this post) more headcovering posts left in the series:

One of the reasons I’m so interested in explaining headcovering is because of its impact on my life. Certain devotions have aided me on my journey and I can’t help but be enthusiastic about them. The rosary is one. Headcovering is another.

I’ve often heard people disregard the idea that headcovering can be spiritually helpful without actually giving it a try. It may not be for everyone, but I find it slightly annoying when people make blanket statements that it couldn’t possibly be helpful to anyone (I see that rather frequently on the forums and it always makes me sigh, because, having been in these types of discussions for a while, it’s a pretty sure sign that they aren’t going to listen to a thing anyone who covers is going to say).

While there are a great many things in this world that can be easily put into words and explained, there are others that are harder to grasp with the rational mind.

I have a hard time explaining the causes behind the changes in my life in the last four years in terms that people who aren’t religious understand. The months were a blur of God’s Grace acting in very real ways, his mercy enveloping my entire life with a renewed gift of faith that I had somehow lost along the way. Yet we are still given the choice to either accept God’s Grace or reject it and it was with the help of two particular devotions (and more Grace!), the rosary and covering, that I began to take baby steps towards being able to say “Yes” to God in different areas of my life.

It’s important to remember that we aren’t Gnostic, with the belief that the spirit is all that matters and the body is a thing to be despised. We are Christians and we know that we are both body and soul and that our bodies and souls are intertwined, making up the whole of us.

Thus the things that we do with our bodies can affect our souls, as is often evident with sin but can also be seen in postures like kneeling, or actions like covering.

The physical reminder of my vocation and of the life of service that I must try to live, although I fall short on a daily, and most likely hourly basis, helps remind me of the direction I need to be heading and of the priorities I need to have in my life.

A veil may begin by reminding us of the importance of modesty in dress when we go to Mass (“Does this mini skirt look strange with my veil? Maybe I should put on something a little longer….”) and eventually begin to remind us to submit to God’s will, when it’s not what we’d most like to do at the moment (“I know it’s a fasting day…. But that double whooper looks delicious…” Okay that's not exactly what I meant but I was having a hard time coming up with a better example at the moment!).

I don’t know about you, but I could definitely use a reminder of who is in control now and again!


  1. So I have another question: (and I suppose I could just start doing the research myself, but you can be a resource too :)

    Are there any specific "rules" to follow when covering? Like is your whole head supposed to be covered? All of your hair, or can some be showing from sides or the back or even your bangs? Is a veil only supposed to be laid right on top or can it sit back a bit on your head?

    Okay, I had several questions. Sorry about that.

  2. I've never really been told specific rules for headcovering. I do try to keep my entire head covered at Mass (I'm not sure how it would work with bangs though, since they would come down for far!). The rest of the time I'm pretty laid back about it. But if some of your hair is showing I wouldn't worry about it either! Hopefully you'll get some other opinions here too! I know some people even use wide headbands, that I think are just beautiful, and are especially good for starting out!

  3. The "rules" are dependent on the culture - i.e., what goes in the Philippines isn't necessarily what goes for Iraqi Christians. Since we don't really have an American "culture" when it comes to headcovering (at least any more) it seems that it's up in the air for us and open to individual application.

    I have a veils in black, white and ivory. In our parish, women wear royal blue, pale blue, brown and yellow... I even saw an older Filipino woman in red! One of my friends wears a light pink scarf because she can't settle on a lace veil to buy... all are lovely, all are fitting!

  4. There are no "rules." I've heard some people say that all of your head should be covered, but I don't exactly follow that rule because my hair was so long. No matter how long my veil tended to be the ends of my hair would stick out. My pastor doesn't really say much but he did mention that personally and this is only his opinion, that women don't wear what he calls flying saucer veils. My husband calls them doilies. I personally don't see a reason for them but that's me. I like wearing my long mantilla veils. I have black, white, off white, navy blue, and light blue. I usually wear my black ones. I've worn my light blue one on Marian feasts. In the US I think it's mostly personal preference. I'm sure if it was mandatory their would be more guidelines but as long as their aren't just go with whatever makes you comfortable.

  5. I tend to just go with whatever feels like is enough. It's not important that my hair itself be covered. Personally, I don't like ones that are very large, I also don't like the "doilies", but I do appreciate the intention. A light beret or a cute (nice) newsboy hat are favorites, too.


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