Saturday, August 22, 2009

"What's the deal with the veil"?

I wrote this in June, but considering the readings for this weekend's Mass I felt compelled to republish my thoughts on the wearing of the veil and the true meaning of submission with regard to Paul's teaching. So enjoy and God Bless.
I recently wore a veil to Mass and I got looks, no comments but looks. I had decided to begin wearing a veil because of learning about its significance and what I have come to learn about the woman in the order of creation. My thesis is about woman, Ishshah, "out of man" and what a magnificent creature we were created to be all by the grace of God. I have so many thoughts and feelings about this subject I'm not sure I can articulate it very well. It is going to come out disjointed and jumbled because there is so much in my head that wants to come out. But let me try.

In my research and more specifically in reading Pope John Paul II I realized woman is truly an incredible piece of the salvation picture. God made us women to give love and bring life into the world, but this was to be done with man. And because God is the Master Planner, He created an order to everything. In Genesis we read that God created out of man a helper, woman. But God created woman out of love, the woman was a gift to the man. And in man's acceptance of this gift he showed his love in return. Yet in this order, and because of the Fall, woman was to be subordinate to the man, as man is subordinate to Christ. Sadly this is read as the man is to dominate the woman. Submission is not the same as being dominated. Man and woman are to love and give the gift of self to each other. As I mentioned in a previous post, the woman is another "I" of the man. They are partners, giving mutual respect showing the dignity and respect afforded to human beings created in the image and likeness of God.

Now comes the significance of the veil. St. Paul tells the Corinthians "... I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled dishonors her head. For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. (For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman created for man.) That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head." It comes down to woman recognizing her place in the order of creation. We are all members of the body of Christ and in this instance Christ is the head and we are the body. In our families there is a head and that is the husband. As wives we respect the head and in return we are respected and revered as the support of that head. We work together and honor one another. One of my professors shared with us in class that in his family he listens to his wife and they discuss any major decisions that need to be made, but the ultimate decisions lies with him and she respects this.

Now I have to share with you that I am a very stubborn and strong-willed woman. I want to be heard and I want to be right. Does this make for a peaceful communion of persons in my family? No indeed. I have had to pray about this and admit that a lot of my marital problems are because of my stubbornness and my will having to be imposed. That's what I finally had to admit, it was what I wanted, not God's will for me. Something else I was reminded of by this same professor, it is my husband's responsibility to get his family to heaven and to make the decisions, with my help. It is my responsibility to build him up and pray for him and get him to heaven. Now is all this ever easy, no it is not. Marriage is hard work, but rewarding in the graces received through the sacrament.
I have begun to wear the veil out of respect for my place in creation. It does not mean I have less value than my husband, we are all valuable in God's image and likeness. But I do realize now after much reading and praying how I can be a witness to Christ as the head of all creation.

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