The Chapel Veil and Humble Submission to God


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This Sunday when you are at Mass, take a moment to look around you. Observe how many women are wearing a chapel veil. Chances are that with great difficulty you may find several, if any.

There was a time once, less than 50 years ago, that you would have difficulty finding one NOT wearing a chapel veil. Why is this?

Some common reasons are:

  • Feeling it is a subservient act to the male gender
  • Feeling that it’s prideful, drawing unwanted attention to oneself
  • Feeling it’s old fashioned or for old people

Let’s look at each of these.

Feeling subservient:

It is not about being subservient to the male gender since the purpose of the veil is a humble submission to God while in His presence. It is about the relationship between you and God. No one else.

It is about you showing God that you come to worship Him and not the self. For a more detailed commentary on the submission to God’s will and the relationship to the gender issue please see this article.

Feeling prideful:

How can one show pride if one is showing submission to God? It is only pride if you wear the veil for self-gratification. If it’s about the self and superficiality, then yes, I agree.

But wearing a veil in submission to God and presenting oneself in humbleness to God is not pride. Only you and the Lord know your own soul, not others. Yes, others may believe that you are being prideful but succumbing to those who gossip IS being prideful since you are making it about the self and not about God. I encourage you to stand your ground. Stay true to God.

Feeling that it’s old fashioned or for old people:

The third objection – that it is for old people or those that are old fashioned – is changing. There has been a growing interest among women in general and young women specifically, in wanting to know more about wearing a veil. Though I cannot quote a ‘scientific study’, you can get anecdotal evidence by simply conducting a search on the internet and see the great number of recent articles/clips about women and veils. 

What does the Bible say?

The wearing of the veil is supported by both the faith tradition and biblical teaching dating back 2,000 years.

Every man praying or prophesying with his head covered, disgraceth his head.

But every woman praying or prophesying with her head not covered, disgraceth her head: for it is all one as if she were shaven.

1 Corinthians 11:4-5

For a more complete biblical reading on the veil, expand your reading to 1 Corinthians 11:2-16.

In the expanded passage, we find that Paul not only encourages the wearing of a headdress by women but also defends it. He communicates to us that when a women wears a veil in the presence of God, she is speaking to God and only to God. In speaking to God through her humbleness she submits her being to that of God.

What greater expression of faith is there for one to show complete reverence to her Creator? How can that be pride? How can one showing reverence to God be old-fashioned? Since when did humbleness before God and reverence to God become passé?

By presenting oneself in humbleness and reverence before God, one is drawn to reverent prayer and one allows the Lord to enter directly into one’s soul You swing the doors of the soul wide open and you allow the glorious light of God to enter unhindered!

Presenting oneself to our Lord our God in humbleness is also showing reverence to The Lord’s mother, Mother Mary. By wearing the veil, you become Mary-like through your submission to the will of God. Being in complete submission to the Lord in His presence provides one with a sense of dignity and a serenity just as Mother Mary lived her life.

It is through this dignity and serenity that a woman who wears the veil becomes spiritually radical and a beacon of hope for those that seek the Lord.

So go ahead. Be selfless, spiritually courageous and strong – wear your veil this Sunday and walk closer to the Lord our God.

Copyright 2015, Luciano Corbo

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Luciano Corbo

Luciano Corbo

Luciano Corbo holds a Master of Arts - Integrated Studies from Athabasca University. His major interests are Culture, Work, Organizations and Leadership, within a context of Catholic Social Teaching Principles. He writes from Canada.

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