What is a mourning bride of Christ, you say? Bare with me a moment while I try to explain…
Sometimes, when I’m alone at church, letting my heart long for the Sweet Beloved, I get a glimpse of myself shrouded in black. I wear a black lace veil so long it almost touches the ground. My dress is black a well, thick and frothy like a ballgown, a long train draping behind me, down the steps. My veil also covers my eyes, a sweep of delicate lace curving around to frame the lower half of my face. Light dances through as it trails behind me, my posture one of devote prayer, my hands clasped at my chest, eyes closed yet looking upwards. The dress has sleeves, just as black and sorrowful as the high neckline and folds of fabric that tumble around me. It seems to say “Here I am Lord, still waiting for You, even as I mourn for Your Passion and Death.”
“Do not forget Your tiny, sorrowful soul that cries out to You from this its exile.”
Maybe the Victorians were onto something.
This occassional vision gives me great comfort. Being as I am not a professed religious nor intend to join a community, that feeling of witness one gets when they see a sister or a priest is missing. It’s a conflict I find myself turning over again and again. How can I be this vision of myself? What does it truly mean? Why am I even concerned about having a particular outward appearance?
It feels vain most of the time. But the desire of the aesthetic, the want of a visible showing that I am dedicated to My Lord and Saviour, even if not officially, is something I greatly desire. Of course, being in the world brings its own host of problems, and don’t think, if I had the choice, I would where a wedding dress every day.
That would be weird.
Religious habits have always enthralled me. I want to be like them. I want to create a peaceful, sincere and holy aura. Clothing must be part of this expression! Can you see my problem? While I prefer to blend into the world and not be noticed at all, I also want to be of spiritual service, “set apart,” but not actually. Secret and hidden, yet easily found and understood.
Sometimes I wonder why it even matters. Why focus on such silly things when I could be in prayer, focusing on doing good, cleaning, etc. Yet I think about things like this at night; how might I represent myself to the world in the way The Holy Spirit seems to be calling me to do?
"Do not forget Your tiny, sorrowful soul that cries out to You from this its exile..."
I don’t have an answer, but I wish I did.