Rich Leonardi writes of his transition to receiving Communion on the tongue. This is not a required transition. Rich in no way suggests it makes him more Catholic than those who receive in the hand and it certainly doesn’t offer more grace than receiving reverently in the hand. But predictably, someone objects to this practice with the words “I don't understand why people like you think that your way is always better. And that you are in someway a better Catholic.”
I cringe at that comment because it is such sentiments that keep me from wearing a veil. Personally I find the idea of wearing a veil appealing. I know it is not mandatory. The Church neither encourages nor discourages it. It is not nostalgia for the doily covering I wore as a child. No. It is a desire to mark my unique womanly vocation within the Church. At the same time it is a personal reminder of the necessary humility with which I should approach Our Lord. There are a couple of things that stop me. I don’t know that my teenage children are up to the shock. I can hear it now: “Mo-o-om!” It is the way they stretch that three-letter word out to two or three syllables when I have done something so totally uncool. And then there is the indignation it can inspire in those around me. We have a dozen or so women in our parish who regularly wear a veil. I have heard others murmuring, “I don’t know why she has to act so holy. There is just no reason to fall back to the old ways. It is just too showy!” I don’t want to be “showy”. I don’t want to be a distraction to those around me. So I am still bareheaded. Maybe someday.
Personal piety is—well—personal. The Church has a rich history and treasure of devotions and practices. There is no compulsion to engage in them all. In fact it would be impossible to participate in every Novena, chaplet, and special prayer. Each person will develop the complement of prayers and practices that best serves his personal spiritual development. This is likely to change over time as an individual passes through the various stages of his life.
Perhaps especially during Lent, it is good to be reminded that another’s personal piety may prompt us to evaluate our own, however, we should not consider it an indictment of our own. We must respect each other’s choices for private prayer even when those choices are publicly visible.