By Genevieve. First posted at Theology of Swing.
Since many women… and men… ask me why I wear a veil, I thought I’d post a brief response here.
Included at the end are links to the late Pope John Paul II’s Wednesday audiences which make up the collection of writings that are called, “The Theology of the Body.”
The following is a response that I gave to a recent blog, found here: http://blog.adw.org/2010/05/should-women-cover-their-heads-in-church/
I’m 36 and started wearing the veil 5 years ago. It felt awkward at first, but that was because I was concerned it would cause controversy. I was surprised to find that I’ve gotten nothing but positive feedback for 5 years – usually from men – priests and lay – who LOVE to see women wearing the veil.
Here’s what my grandfather told me when I was about 8:
White veils are for unmarried women.
Black veils are for married women.I never thought about it until I was over 30, strongly called to the vocation of marriage, and painfully single.
Wearing the veil helped me to remember that my FIRST vocation (everyone’s FIRST vocation) is a call to holiness. Regardless of your station in life – single, divorced seeking an annulment, married, widowed, seminarian, clergy, consecrated religious – our vocation is to holiness. Christ is the bridegroom, and we as the church are His bride. The veil reminded me that I was already a bride – it wasn’t something that was going to be kept from me.
Wearing the veil was also inspired through my study of the Theology of the Body where I became aware that women have a particular propensity to control things and avoid submission. (Men have their own particular propensity – their own weakness in another area.) This is why Ephesians 5:22-33 is so important and such a bitter pill for women to swallow. I realized this was true in myself and use the veil to make a conscious statement to God that I desired to be submissive to His will. This also reminded me of Mary’s full submission – her Fiat- her 100% yes to God’s will.
Veils are also just simply feminine. They’re girlie. It was (is) a way of embracing my womanhood. God made me a woman – so I get the privilege of wearing a beautiful veil.
I also wanted to find a spouse that delighted in my beauty – to be delighted in the fact that I desired holiness. Wearing the veil was another way of stating to prospective suitors that I desired God’s will- that I was striving for holiness – and that there was no mistake about it. I dare say, that while wearing the veil, it’s quite impossible, if not unnatural for a man to lust after a woman. It just elicits a different response – one of admiration and a desire to protect the woman.
I’m happily married (it’s been one year!) to a wonderful, respectful, courageous man who is also striving for holiness and who is striving to live out Ephesians 5:22 – 33 – especially verse 25.
Now that I’m married, I wear a black veil and have passed the white veil along to another single friend. Many women approach me and ask me about the veil. I tell them these details and they all respond with, “Wow- I think I’m going to start wearing one now.”
So if you’ve been wondering about it – try it out for a while- I found mine on Ebay. See if it helps your prayer life. I bet it will!
If you are curious about what Pope John Paul II had to say about the Theology of the Body and man and woman’s “particular disability” (or propensity to sin in a certain manner), see this link
To read more about what Pope John Paul II had to say about Ephesians, Chapter 5 (in the Theology of the Body), go to http://www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp2tb88.htm
and probably more importantly, this link, which helps illuminate how submission does not destroy one’s uniqueness or individuality. http://www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp2tb90.htm