I have a confession to make.
Today, my first chapel veil arrived in the mail. You know, the one I said I’d never wear – that thing I never understood.
I’ve had all sorts of reasons for not wearing one…
…men don’t have to wear them, why should women?
…St. Paul wasn’t teaching about something that was meant to apply to every generation
…all it does is draw attention to yourself and make you feel superior
…Jesus doesn’t care what I look like at Mass, certainly not what is or isn’t on my head, He’s just glad I’m there
So, why did I spend time searching online for a veil I like?
I blame Jesus.
When our Lord was speaking to St. Theresa of Avila, He asked her if she knew who He was. He then told her, “I am He who is; you are she who is not.”
“…she who is not.”
As I began to let those words sink in and be present within my soul, I began approaching the Lord differently. As I considered the immensity of His mercy and love, a profound sense of smallness grew within me. It isn’t that I began feeling weak or irrelevant; rather, I simply became more aware that before the greatness of God Himself I am smaller than the smallest thing known.
Out of that humility, grace began to grow. Sts. Theresa of Avila and John of the Cross emphasize humility as the human quality that calls down grace most effectively. And as that grace continued to reveal the ways I’m attached to this world, my desire for greater humility increased.
I noticed it especially at Mass. When it would come time to receive Our Lord in the Eucharist, the humility and smallness that my soul experienced before Him seemed to beg outward expression.
I bought a chapel veil because I want my exterior to be a reflection of the interior disposition God has created within me: lowly and small.
“Have this in mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” –Philippians 2:5-8
Alongside this interior change I began to see the world around me differently. The feminist agenda has created a culture wherein women are entitled to everything. If something so much as hints at the difference between male and female it is portrayed as dangerous to women. The slightest indication of the notion of submission or dependence is utterly (and loudly) rejected.
We have been trained to pursue power, equality, and control at all costs. (And that cost is usually the disablement of masculinity.) From military officials supporting the draft for females, to CDC warnings about alcohol and pregnancy, to anti-abortion articles rallying for the superiority of women who can both be productive citizens AND birth children (which men cannot do), we live in a culture today that screams at you to increase yourself and reject anything that remotely carries a trace of the instructions our Lord has made quite clear: humble yourself, submit yourself, and “you are she who is not.”
Here’s the part that we tend to ignore: when women behave from a place of humility (when we admit that we are not men, that we do not deserve power over them or at their expense), we shift a lot of responsibility onto men.
Have you ever stopped to think that maybe if as women we allowed ourselves to be cared for, if we allowed ourselves to need men to lead, guide, and provide for us, there would be men who rise to the occasion?
St. Paul instructs wives to be submissive to their husbands. He then instructs husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the Church.
My capacity to receive the love that Christ has for His Church has increased greatly as my willingness to let go, to lean on Him, and dispose myself before Him in humility has increased.
So, women of the world, while I will not tell you to run out and buy a veil of your own (Side note: they are surprisingly expensive), I do offer this:
- What if instead of seeking to make your voice louder, you sought to quiet yourself inside and listen?
- What if instead of pursuing equality (in our culture this means “the same”) with men, you laid down your weapons and let yourself be grateful for ways men can provide and protect?
- What if instead of focusing on getting ahead and proving yourself, you looked at the Lord in humility, presented Him with your life, and waited for Him to love you in the places where you are small?
- What if we all just admitted that the constant striving to be stronger and more powerful is actually exhausting and usually leaves us empty instead of happier?
Why do we have to be so opposed to the very disposition the Lord asks of us? Remember what Jesus said of the woman who put just two small coins into the Temple treasury?
“Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living.” – Mark 12:43
She was not rich and powerful. She did not control the world around her. Instead, she simply submitted her life to God.
Females of the world: maybe that’s what we should do too.
(Now excuse me while I go practice standing, sitting, kneeling, walking, etc. in a veil…)