Thursday, November 14, 2013

Veiling and Testimony

I spoke before about how I planned to cover my head during Mass as a devotion during Advent. I listed a couple of reasons there for doing so, but it just occurred to me that those reasons that I gave seem a little shallow and that I'm once again guilty of not expressing my true heart in the matter because of my habit of always keeping things light. All I have to give in this vineyard is my testimony and I have held back!

Truly, the reason that I feel called to veil myself during Mass is that I feel so wonderfully grateful for God's mercy to me. I am humbled that he would appear before me in the image of the Blessed Sacrament. I am humbled that he would stoop so low to deal with me at all, preserving me from death and drawing me ever closer to the Truth. Imagine! Despite my sinfulness! All of this gratitude has poured out of me especially since focusing my devotion on Divine Mercy. I am astounded by the Lord's great mercy! That's what I meant when I said before that I want to veil as an act of humility. Let me tell you about God's mercy toward me.

As a teen I abandoned Christianity without too much thought. I didn't understand the faith. My understanding in middle school was about what you would expect a 4 year old to know. I assumed that the faith really was that simple and people only believed it because they were afraid of Hell. I was seeking something real, something that I could relate to and understand. That's how I tumbled into Paganism. Specifically Wicca, at least for awhile. I thought it made sense on a natural level. At its core modern Paganism relies on the underlying assumption that there is one Supreme Being who human beings are incapable of understanding. Different religions are simply different facets or ways of understanding this God. Pagans seek to understand God through observation and celebration of nature. The moon and its cycles, the sun, fertility, harvests, solstices, equinoxes, earth, air, fire and water. Femininity and masculinity. There was magic and spells, too, but for me the initial draw was the yearning to know and understand God.

I didn't think that anyone would accept me with my new beliefs so I hid them. I cloaked myself in cynicism, believing that Christians were hostile and bigoted. What I never realized was that in doing so I was bigoted. I was hateful. I was selfish. I assumed the worst of everyone to protect myself from being hurt. I think the cynicism was the most damaging effect of the Paganism. Even after I started calling myself a Deist (Paganism Lite) I still couldn't shake it. I was defensive. Christians would give me Bible tracts on campus and I would look at them, mock them and throw them away. I was right and there was nothing you could do to change my mind on that.

The first event that shook me out of my comfortable little cocoon was that I got into a car accident back in 2005 or 2006. I was driving down the highway at 70 mph and a vehicle in the lane to the right of me started merging into me. My reflex was to swerve out of the way. When I did that, my car hit the grass in the median and I lost control. The car was winding wildly like a snake left and right and eventually headed toward the oncoming traffic on the other side of the highway. There was no divider, just open grass. It seemed miraculous to me at the time that my car was stopped suddenly, hit on the empty passenger's side by a light pole. I was bruised, but not injured. I seriously felt like someone had controlled my car to hit at just the right spot. Everything my mom had ever told me about guardian angels as a child came back to me and I started to wonder whether God preserved my life. Such a thing would have been an act of real power by a God that actually cares. Not like the unconcerned god of Deism or the do-whatever-you-want gods of Paganism. A god who has a will. A personal God, like God the Father of Christianity.

God could have let me die in that sorry state. I would probably have been Hell bound! I am so grateful that He loved me too much to leave there at that moment. He saved me, and He didn't stop working on me, chiseling away my walls and defenses ever since then, leading me back to the rest of his flock. He really was gentle and meek to me, leading with kindness and of course, great mercy. I didn't deserve anything that He did for me.

I suppose that is ultimately what I meant when I named this blog Seeking Ewe. My name is Rachel, meaning ewe. I was seeking God, but He sought me first. All I can do is share this measly testimony and heartily rejoice with Mary in Scripture:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
The humility of veiling, for me, is an acknowledgement of my status as a simple "lowly servant" who relies utterly on his grace and who rejoices in his great mercy. It's something that I want to wear not because I am holy, but because I am a sinner. The reasons I mentioned before are true, as well, but above is the heart of the matter.

I will soon be participating in an veiling-for-Advent link-up with Tiffany @ Life of a Catholic Librarian and Cristina @ Filling My Prayer Closet which I providentially found out about after I had already decided to practice this devotion. Our God is good, is he not?! If anyone reads this, think about joining us!

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