What a lovely letter to read. Would that all persons in the world would concern themselves so sweetly with the urgings of their heart as it strives to bring them closer to their Beloved, Jesus Christ. The good and tender Lord longs to embrace and comfort each of us with a compassion and mercy that is beyond our human ability to understand such a compassion. Jesus looks upon us with the eyes of a Shepherd that carefully desires to soothe, comfort, guide, and heal His flock of precious little ones.
One of the greatest gifts our Catholic faith gives to us is Her desire to teach in the spirit of Jesus Christ. The church teaches us not through condemnation but through love and mercy. It is in this example of teaching that we are best able to see the witness of Jesus and His promise to 'never leave us as orphans'. I am sure that you can not imagine leaving your children to their own as orphans while you allowed them to be confused and mislead. Remember that in our Catholic faith there are those teachings that are based on doctrine and those that are based upon tradition and those that are based on theology. Most often all teaching of relevance and faith is based upon many layers of the three concepts stated above. But at the core of all Church teaching is the Church's overwhelming desire to bring us to the fullness of the true faith and the completeness of that faith through the acceptance of Sacraments. It is for this reason that one need not be a scholar to understand the love of Jesus and His healing power present in the True Presence of the Eucharist. Jesus is truly present, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Jesus is Perfection and in His Perfection He comes to us in our imperfect state to uplift, surround, guide, tenderly love and embrace each part of us that is not perfect. We are the leper that He kisses. Yet in His kiss we are made whole and enter His heart never to be separated from Him. Jesus tells us that He can not leave us because we are His alone.
When I enter the sanctuary of the church I see the beauty of the crucifix, the glowing candle marking the tabernacle and feel the Presence of the Lord all around me. Though there may be those who are engaged in idle conversation, or others who are busily preparing for Mass, and perhaps still others who are in their own way distracting; it is Jesus that we see first and foremost. We see Jesus because we are looking for Him. To look for Jesus is to see Him.
Do you remember the first moment you held your newly born child? Think on that moment in your life. Were you to watch a movie of that moment you probably would be surprised by all the activity surrounding you. Yet in that one instant you saw only one person. Your baby. Your senses were filled with the presence of this child. We are for Jesus that one child. He sees each person to the depth that is impossible for us to understand. He knows our heart. He hears the hidden fears we can not express to anyone. He loves us as though we were the only person He had to love. Jesus has a heart for people and He desires to be among them from His great and overwhelming love for them.
Now ask yourself this question. Does Jesus love me less if my head is not covered? Remember this is the same Jesus that kissed the leper, healed the blind man with His own spittle, embraced the penitent woman, touched the prostitute, ate with the tax collectors, and surrounded Himself with small children. This is the Jesus who forgave the criminal and fed the multitude. This is the Jesus who wept at the death of His dear friend, who calmed the seas for frightened men, who raised the the small girl from death, and who promised never to leave us. It is not a question of how much does Jesus love me but how much I accept His love, for in accepting His love we love Him more fully and are transformed through His love for us.
When we enter the church with eyes only for Jesus we are in love with Him. We long to be with Him and to allow His embrace to surround us. The world is shut out of this encounter because the 'world' does not own the Lord. The Lord sees only our hearts, our spirits and our desire to be with Him. What a love story!
If covering your head allows you to be peacefully present with the Lord who loves you no matter what circumstance you find yourself in, then cover your head. But if you cover your head to somehow be more for the Lord through this superficial effort, then don't bother. Jesus knows that you can never reach perfection in this life. In fact it is in your imperfections that the Lord works His greatest miracles. In your imperfections you come to Him and cry out to Him...'Lord, that I may see'. 'Lord, that I may accept Your love for me and let that love transform me.' When we allow the Lord to transform us, He enters our heart and shines through us to all those in need of His light.
The witness that you place before your dear little girl is not whether or not your head is covered. The witness you bring is your desire to accept the Lord's transforming love and to rest in His love for you. Your passion and willingness to be clay in the Lord's hands. Your quiet docility of spirit that allows your heart to be opened by Jesus and filled with His love. Your witness to do as Jesus teaches and does for you. The dear Blessed Mother in her own docility of heart spoke 'Do as He tells you' and 'Let it be done unto me according to Thy word.' This is the holiest and purest of witnesses yet it is a witness that is within our grasp and imitation.
I am not a bible scholar or a theologian. I can not enter an academic arena that seeks to prove or disprove church teaching. I have been exposed to situations in Catholic churches that were unsettling. I have been to very conservative parishes as well as those that are just the opposite. I have seen the differences of people and the methods employed to bring the faith to Jesus' little ones. Yet despite all that I have seen and all that I am sure I will see I only want to see Jesus. I once told a group of moms gathered for a retreat: Jesus is a prisoner in the tabernacle. When we come to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with one desire, to free the prisoner and to take Him with us into the world, we find a peace that is beyond our human understanding. When we approach the Eucharist with a humble and docile spirit, Jesus is freed to work within us. 'Lord, I am not worthy to receive You but only say the word and I shall be healed.' We are asking to be made whole through the healing power of the Lord. We can only be whole when we open wide our hearts to accept Jesus with us.
If I am invited to a parish to speak and it is evident that the moms there prefer to wear skirts and cover their heads for Mass, then I do likewise. I do so, so as to not draw attention to myself and in some small way take attention away from Jesus. If it makes no difference whether my head is covered or not, then I may or may not chose to do so. Whether or not I cover my head is not representative of my relationship with the tender and sweet Jesus. It is however an outward sign of my desire to respect the wishes and traditions of the people with whom I am worshiping. I desire to respect these people because I love them and see in them my brothers and sisters in Christ. I desire to be among them as one who loves them.
You are a holy and pure witness. Your zeal and love for the Lord is evident in your great desire to understand. I admire you very much. I am sure that all who have the great blessing of being with you find in you a compassionate and sincere heart that is on fire for the Lord. You are in love with Him. How beautiful. Please pray for me and trust in my daily prayers for you as well.
Sending out a prayer,