IT SEEMS STRANGE that during the most sacred time of the year we cover everything … in our churches, even the crucifix. [Yet] the Church recommends this practice [of covering images and the crucifix from the 5th Sunday of Lent until the Easter Vigil] to heighten our senses and build within us a longing for Easter Sunday.
But why go through such lengths to cover up images that are designed to raise our hearts and minds toward heaven? First of all, we use veils to alert us of the special time that we are in. These veils are a forceful reminder to get ready [for the Sacred Triduum].
Secondly, the veils focus our attention on the words being said at Mass [during the reading of the Passion]. Our senses … focus on the striking words from the Gospel and truly enter into the scene.
Third, the Church uses veils to produce a heightened sense of anticipation for Easter Sunday. And therein lies the whole point: the veils are not meant to be there forever. The unveiling before the Easter Vigil is a great reminder of our own life on earth. We live in a “veiled” world, in exile from our true home. It is only through our own death that the veil is lifted and we are finally able to see the beauty of everything in our lives.
Excerpted from Aleteia.org and used with permission.