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Friday, May 12, 2017

The Veil


Many veils have been made in our home--veils for weddings and veils for baptisms, veils for prayer and veils for mourning, veils for meeting our Lord in the Chalice.  Each is infused by the prayer of our hands, made with love and devotion to our Lord-- English net and Chantilly lace, resting like silken intercession over rituals for transition.  Sometimes I imagine them, scattered amongst little villages and large cities, overseas and across countries, on the heads of praying women.  Having passed through my hands, run gently through by my needle, they touch my heart.  But, this veil, --it is different.

"Keep their wedlock safe against every hostile scheme; give them of the dew from the Heavens above, and of the fatness of the earth. Fill their houses with bountiful food, and with every good thing, that they may have to give to them that are in need..."



This veil will grace the one who has lain in my arms, fed at my breast, played at my feet. This veil will --Lord willing--be touched by my grandchildren and, perhaps, by theirs.  This veil is trimmed in lace that will frame the hem of a christening gown on the solea of my own parish.  This veil will settle gently upon the fingertips of generations--Lord willing, Lord willing.

She sculpted it, this veil, me looking on.  It is her opus.  I steadied the trim as she placed it, gingerly, meticulously.  I sat, hands quiet, as she began the stitchingShe alone is making it--this one, her own bold creation. 



"Give to them fruit of the womb, fair children, concord of soul and body. Exalt them as the cedars of Lebanon, and as well‑cultured vine; bestow on them a rich store of sustenance, so that having a sufficiency of all things for themselves, they may abound in every good work that is good and acceptable before You. Let them behold their children's children as newly planted olive trees round about their table; and, being accepted before You, let them shine as stars in the Heavens, in You, our Lord, to Whom are due all Glory, honor, and worship as to Your eternal Father, and Your All‑Holy, Good, and Life‑creating Spirit, both now and ever, and to the ages of ages.

Join them together in oneness of mind; crown them with wedlock into one flesh; grant to them the fruit of the womb, and the gain of well favored children.

O Lord, our God, crown them with glory and honor..."





I watch it take shape as the days pass.  It is exquisite.  It is hers, and she will form it according to her values, hopes, and dreams.  She does not need me to guide her.  I have taught her and I have learned from her, already.  Years of preparation have passed, now come to promising fruition.

"Declare their marriage honorable. Preserve their bed undefiled. Grant that their life together be without spot of sin. And assure that they may be worthy to attain unto a ripe old age, keeping Your commandments in a pure heart..."

I watch her long awaited, long prayed for future begin to unfold, and I see it-- she is ready.  She is ready.

"...bless these Your servants, who, by Your Providence, are joined in the community of marriage. Bless their comings‑in and their goings‑out. Replenish their life with all good things. 
 Accept their crowns in Your Kingdom unsoiled and undefiled; and preserve them without offense to the ages of ages.*"

*All italicized portions are taken from The Service of Marriage; Liturgical Texts of the Orthodox Church.

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~Michelle