For the past four months I have had the distinct pleasure to be affiliated with a small but growing St, Benedict Classical Catholic School. The education is both solidly framed on the foundations of the Catholic Faith and the Principals of the Classical Method of teaching. The students wear traditional Uniforms: the older boys wear dress pants and dress shirts and ties every day and the girl’s skirts must be knee length if not slightly longer. Latin is part of their Mass to the point that even the kindergarten is quickly learning the Our Father (aka Pater Noster) in Latin, besides all the normal Mass Responses.
I love this school, and love the reverence that it is engendering in these children as they attend Mass, and pray each day at school. It has made me think about my prayer life, and whether or not I am showing enough reverence when I am praying.
Anyway, as I was meditating on how I could effectively spend my Lent it occurred to me that I could begin to wear the antique chapel veil that I have always worn when I am in the Adoration Chapel (all by myself, or with just a few other people around) to Mass to show the kids that reverence and humility can be as simple as choosing to wear a simple veil over your hair. When I am in Adoration the veil has always helped me to focus on why I am there. When my mind starts to wander I see the edges of the veil and it refocuses my thinking back to the purpose of my task. So, to that end, I began wearing my chapel veil at Friday morning school Mass.
it occurred to me as I was driving to Church on Sunday, that even though I attend a different and slightly more progressive parish than where my school is located there are children from my school who attend my parish. If I want to show them true reverence I have to be authentically true both at weekday Masses at School and at Sunday Mass as well. When I got to church I put my veil in my pocket and just before Mass started I slipped it on. I didn’t make a huge production of it, I just did it. Sure enough, two boys, brothers who attend the school were serving at Mass that day and their sister was right in the front row.
I am not sure, and I don’t really care what the more progressive people in my parish thought, because I was not making some kind of show for them, I was doing an act of Lenten Penance for myself, to remind me that this place where I am is not about me.
So, the point I am trying to make is don’t be afraid to take on a Lenten Penance that is visible for others to see, even if you think no one will understand why you are doing it. Only God has to understand why you are doing it, and if the Penance is truly brining you closer to God, I am pretty sure God will understand perfectly.
If you see me next Sunday at Mass, you will see my beautiful antique chapel veil, as will the kids from St. Benedict Classical Catholic School, and most importantly, God will see it too.