I have been pondering whether or not "to mantilla" for several years. I've had mixed feelings.
It's not required of Catholic women, anymore, but nor is it prohibited. Within the last few months it's come more frequently into my mind. As necklines get lower and hemlines get higher, why not, in this crazy mixed-up culture, imitate the Blessed Mother by showing a little more femininity and more reverence for the Eucharist? To dress in a way that demonstrates our belief in the sacred; in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ?
Well, because of the labels and stereotypes, mostly. There is a stigma attached to mantillas. In many minds (sometimes, sadly, even my own), they instantly conjure up the label "ultra conservative," a "we reject everything after Vatican 2" image, and the zenith of pejoratives, "holier than thou."
(As an aside, I take "ultra conservative" as a compliment if it means totally and completely faithful to all of the teachings of Holy Mother Church. I take issue when "ultra conservative" means "holier than the Church.")
I have feared wearing a mantilla because I didn't want to project the "holier than thou" image. I didn't want to be judged and labeled.
Why is it that a simple head covering on a praying woman can bring out such violent reactions? And since when do I allow strangers' opinions to paralyze my actions and dictate my decisions?
I homeschool, which could project a "more dedicated to education than thou" image. I don't eat the majority of processed foods: "healthier than thou." I don't hide the fact that my husband and I are in love: "happier than thou." And on, and on, and on.
Do I really think I'm more dedicated to education, healthier, or happier than everyone else? Not by a long shot! I'm just trying to eke out a happy, healthy, holy life for my family. If it won't endanger your soul or another's, I couldn't care beans about whether you eat a pop tart or send Archibald to Vista Public High.
I would suspect that most so-called "--ier than thou" projections don't exist in a person's actions, anyway, but solely in the minds of the jealous or guilty. We only think someone is trying to one-up us if we feel like our own actions are somehow lacking. Rather than place the onus on ourselves to confront our decisions, we trivialize or demonize another for trying to show us up.
Seeing a woman in a mantilla only seems to cross my radar and trigger a conscience twinge when I'm wearing flip-flops to Mass. And that says a lot.
So what'll it be? I'm not strong enough, yet, to don a mantilla at a Sunday "guitar Mass." But I do think I've been convicted, and will start imitating Our Lady's piety and worship by wearing a mantilla to Adoration.
If you don't join me, you're a dirty rotten sinner!
El Rosario by Jose Gallegos Y Arnosa
-----------------------------------------------------------As a timely event, they're actually having a mantilla giveaway over at "Will You Mantilla With Me?"
And if you are considering donning a veil, two sites that have lovely mantillas are Veils by Lily and Garlands of Grace.
AND FYI: City Wife, Country Life is on Facebook now!