I feel like I have already learned so much from Our Blessed Mother in such a short time from wearing this veil in reverence to my Lord, and at the same time I am just beginning to learn. She has shown me how outward acts of humility toward God, even when I don’t do it with the purest of intentions, put me in my place and incline me further to the virtue of humility, while at the same time drawing me closer to God as His child.
I heard in a sermon once that Saint Thomas Aquinas said “Humility is caused by reverence toward God”. That’s right he said caused. Wearing the veil is a way of saying “the Lord is here in this place”, “I believe”, and “I adore You”. What happens on the outside of our bodies, does matter, because our bodies and souls are united, so this small act of reverence can lead to a heightened awareness of reverence shown to God which can then help me grow in humility. And as one priest said, “Humility removes obstacles within us, preventing us from becoming saints”.
An athlete doesn’t become one right away. He begins by working his body in some way, day by day, to train it to do what he wants it to do, and he often has help and coaching, until one day he becomes proficient in his athletic ability. It is the same with virtues. If we practice, and practice them… trying to be holy, at the same time realizing our utter weakness and complete dependence upon God, then the Lord is touched by this effort done out of love, and helps us to be holy. He gives us the grace to become holy, something we cannot achieve on our own. He gives us the grace to be what He created us to be, and do what He created each of us to do. We must keep asking Him to show us how to live in His will. The closer I get to Jesus the more I can learn to pray with my life. In other words my life can become a constant prayer and reflection of God’s will, if I learn to give up my will, and let Him act in me. This is partly what I believe Jesus means when he taught us how to pray to the Father, “Thy Kingdom come thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”, and when He said “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” None of us can be perfect on our own, but the closer we are to Him, (and prayer and the practice of virtue helps us do that) then perfection comes from Jesus in us. We are not called to mediocrity. We are called to be Saints and that is how! As Saint Paul says, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”
Another day when I was just thinking and reflecting, I recalled how the white linen cloth (corporal) is placed over the ciborium and chalice at mass, the sacred vessels which hold the Body and Blood of Jesus, when, quite suddenly, I had this complete thought impressed upon my mind:
“Women are sacred vessels of life.”
Women are….sacred vessels….of life! I had thought of Mary as the most perfect sacred vessel for Our Lord, but I hadn’t thought of all women being sacred as potential vessels for life. But as I reflected on it, I realized that women are given an ability and a dignity which no other creature that God made has, the ability to carry within her, the highest of God’s creations in this material world, human life with an immortal soul. We are dedicated to this purpose. He has so ordained to bless women with this gift in which God creates human beings with immortal souls in our bodies. He touches us when He enters this sacred place to create a life!
This is not to take anything away from men who participate in this gift of life, but this dignity is truly something special, and it is there even if a woman never carries a child in her womb. How often do we realize our worth in God’s eyes? Wearing a veil has helped me see and understand my dignity as a woman, and the sacredness of life.
May the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be glorified in all places through the Immaculate Virgin Mary.