Women as witnesses: We are always wearing the veil

Angel, Bad, Choice, Cupid, Decisions, Devil, Evil, GoodThe tradition of women wearing a head covering during worship is nothing new. As a Jewish girl, I was drawn to this practice at a very young age, picking up the small piece of white lace and placing it over my head. I felt protected and separated for worship in a holy way. That practice was between me and God, a secret that I had inside of me. A longing to know God and be closer to him.

My search for God became more traditional. Wanting to celebrate the Sabbath, go back to the sanctuary on Saturdays and an exploration of becoming kosher. The harder I tried to conform to the Jewish law, the harder I fell, and Yom Kippur did not seem to help me at all. In fact, it was Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement that led me away from me practicing my Jewish faith. I saw it as a great hypocrisy, that the Pharisees of my day would live ungodly lives 364 days a year yet on this day they were the most pious and reverent Jewish figures. I, as a pauper in synagogue, would be relegated to the nose bleed section, sometimes even in a different room from where the Rabbi was. I did not have the necessary funds to buy my seat. I had spent years under the notion that I had to pay to pray, and well, it drove me farther away from the God I loved.

In my search and quest for the truth, Christianity had never dawned on me. As a Jew, my understanding of Christianity was that all gentiles were Christians, that they were one and the same. But the concept of Jewish people alone being set apart by God haunted me, and even as a young teenager, I made it a point to invite several of my gentile friends to my bat-mitzvah, because I knew God loved them too. It was this idea of being set apart that drove me to leave the synagogue, along with its mercilessness attitude against women and their role in the religious life.

I did not come to Christ, Christ came to me. He had come to me several times before in my life, although I did not recognize him.  In my late teens and early 20’s, I was constantly invited to church, and many times I went. In my seat I would be crawling, waiting for God like in the Old Testament to strike me down. I was betraying Him just being there. And after many services I ran away like I was being chased, because well I was.

God tried to reveal himself to me, but I was not ready. I was not ready to lose my Jewish friends and community. I was not ready to be ostracized. I didn’t hear him because I was angry that he had taken my grandmother away from me. But when she died I took the Christian concept of death and incorporated it into her funeral. We celebrated her life, released butterflies and sat a short Shiva. I had been to enough Christian funerals to know that they were doing something right.

So when God led me to the Catholic church, a land I was unfamiliar with, He allowed me to see the fulfillment of the Jewish girl I was. Without knowing any doctrine apart from the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, I knew I was home. The altar, the tabernacle, the cups of wine, it was all familiar. The Torah was there but not in the form of scrolls, but instead in the form of Jesus. There was the singing of Psalms, and this time I understood them because they were not in Hebrew. But it was in kneeling before God that I felt something was missing. I later understood that call to be the call of the veil.

Wearing a veil for me completed who I had always wanted to be inside and memorialized my intimacy with God. My inner longing to be His bride was finally coming to be. I had long revered nuns even as a Jewish girl, and the mysticism their veils produced in me. I remembered the feeling of walking into that synagogue and reaching for a head covering. It was part of who I was and now am.

God calls all women to veil in special and set apart ways. Veiling is a spiritual reminder of our holiness before God. This veil we wear whether physically or spiritually is to be carried out in our Christian practice in the world, this is what sets us apart as Christian women, our holiness, our service to neighbor, our care for our families and to the sick, the poor and imprisoned. We are set apart not because of our ethnicity or religion, we are set apart because we are followers of Jesus Christ, and ALL are invited.

I am reminded by the veil that I am especially set apart by God because of my Jewish roots and conversion to Christ. I am reminded that I will always be Jewish which sets me apart for Christ. I am reminded that my thoughts on God having only the Jewish people set apart for himself were right, and that God wants all people to be his sons and daughters. And I am reminded that He has chosen me to accomplish this through wearing my veil at church and in the world.

“But you and your sons with you must take care to exercise your priesthood in whatever concerns the altar and the area within the veil.” Numbers 18: 7(a)

This is a wonderful video on veiling that I encourage all women of all backgrounds to watch. This is also the company I order all my veils from and have loved every veil I have ordered! And as I always mention with any company I support , I am not getting paid in any way to endorse Veils by Lily.

6 thoughts on “Women as witnesses: We are always wearing the veil

  1. A beautiful account of your journey to Christianity. I think Christians must even realize that Jesus was Jewish and so were most of his disciples. So naturally, Christ is not competing with Judaism but rather fulfilling the prophecies of the old scripture. I wonder on your journey how much you reflected on Jesus’ actions in the Temple throughout the Gospels, and even with your own account here, if Jesus throwing out the moneychangers in the Temple really resonated with your soul?

    By the way, I love your insight of the Torah and Christ being there in the form of the Torah in the Church. My theology classes have always stressed how the Gospel of Matthew stressed this point as it was written for Jews who had known Jesus but were afraid of taking the step forward in worshipping Christ’s fulfillment. Matthew explains how Christ is the Living Torah–The New Law and the typology of the Sermon on the Mount is an indication how Christ as the New Moses teaches from the mount a New Law of God with His authority.

    I could discuss more insights for the Gospel on how Christ’s authority came to open the entirety of God’s love from the Gospel of Luke, but trust me folks it’s all here in Melissa’s post.

    I am just amazed, in many ways, you’ve lived the experience of the Apostles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Melissa

      Yes He is the living Torah! I think of that every time they open the tabernacle for Holy Communion. I also see Mary as the tabernacle, holding inside the Word. I do feel in so many ways I have lived as the first apostles did, my walk has been modeled in so many ways after the Apostle Paul. God had planned this journey for me from the beginning! I will always be His witness and testify to who He is and what He has done for me!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Melissa, I enjoyed your post and the video. I just wanted to add a few thoughts about my experience of veiling that weren’t covered in the video, and that might be helpful for women who remain unconvinced.
    I’m a recent convert. My husband is interested in the traditional Latin Mass so I experienced that before I was received into the Church and began to attend Novus Ordo Masses in my local parish. This meant that I was veiled when I had my first experiences of the liturgy. It was something I grew curious about so I researched it a lot. I could find lots of reasons to veil, including scriptural ones, and virtually no reason not to. I have only ever been to Mass once without a veil, and it felt really wrong. Usually I am the only veiled woman in the church (there is one other woman who veils who I see occasionally), and I hate to stand out, but my discomfort is just one more opportunity to offer something up to Our Lord. I hope that when people see me veiled it will prompt them to get curious about veiling too. One last thing I would say is that my veil helps me to conquer my vanity. I wear a black veil deliberately because I think it is unflattering (plus it expresses my respect for my husband). I don’t wear a veil to look pretty. As the video above shows, there are many, many good reasons to veil. Is there any good reason not to?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Melissa Presser, Writer

      How beautiful and what a wonderful testimony to our Lord! I also feel so sure that I must veil. There is no reason not to! I
      Since I have started veiling, so many women have come up to me and spoken with me about it. One woman was in tears and began veiling the very next day, wearing her grandmother’s veil. Others have said they are building up the courage to do it. What a blessing and witness it is to wear the veil, what an honor!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s wonderful that women are talking to you about the veil, and that you’ve inspired at least one to do the same. I’m hoping that will happen here too, but no luck so far.
        God bless you.

        Liked by 1 person

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