WHY WE VEIL RELIGIOUS IMAGES
Veils elicit a sense of longing for our Lord.
As we begin to draw closer to Holy Week, our focus in Lent (praying, fasting, and charity) needs to become more intentional and more narrowed towards Christ and his offering. You will notice that, beginning this week, all the images within the church are veiled; we turn our attention towards the presence of God that exists within those walls: Christ in the Word and Christ in the Eucharist...
The veiling of images is as symbolically important as it is visually striking; the moment we walk into the church, we realize just how many images actually exist within a church and how different this time of the year must be for the church to look this way. Images are helpful throughout the year to aid in our prayer life, to model ourselves after the saints, to remember the life of Christ. However, now is the time to begin focusing specifically on Christ as we approach Holy Week. The first image to be unveiled will be the crucifix on Good Friday, when we can participate in the passion and death of our Lord. Then, at the Easter Vigil, the images of the church will be unveiled together once more, as the fullness of Christ’s Church is reminded of its foundation - the Resurrection. The veil speaks to us in two ways: first, it hides certain images, just like Christ “hid” his divinity as he went to his death. This was not a trick, but a chance for God to show His love towards us in the best way we can as human beings: by sacrificing Himself for us. Second, a veil indicates a sense of separation and longing. We want to see Christ, we want to remind ourselves of the saints, we want to recall the motherly love of Mary. But when these images are veiled, we can remember how much we need to work on our own holiness. Christ’s holiness was present during his earthly life, but so many ignored it because it was not apparent, as we see in this Sunday’s Gospel. The images of our faith are now hidden, but we have already glimpsed them before. This is a reminder that we must not forget what lies behind the veil, and we wait in anticipation for participating with those images once more.
Chances are you have many religious images in your own home. You and your family should also participate in the veiling of images to remember that we need to heighten our focus on our lenten promises. This activity is an opportunity for the family to come together to learn about the veils, why they are done, and why they are colored in such a way. Plus, it makes for a prayerful moment in the house when the crucifix is unveiled on Good Friday and a glorious and joyful moment when the rest of the images are unveiled once more on Easter.LEARN WHY WE VEIL