June 14, 2010

She bathed His feet with her tears, then she wiped them with her hair

It was kind of ironic that as I was chastising myself at Mass on Sunday for forgetting my headcovering for the second time in a row, the Gospel reading came from Luke 7, when the sinful woman washes Jesus' feet with her hair.

Now there was a sinful woman in the city
who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee.
Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment,
she stood behind him at his feet weeping
and began to bathe his feet with her tears.
Then she wiped them with her hair,
kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.

Why did she wash His feet with her hair?  What's the significance?  She could have easily done it with her robe, but she chose to use her hair.  We know from Scripture that a woman's hair is her glory, and for 2000 years Christian women covered their hair, not out of some sense of shame, as modern feminists claim, but as an outward sign of their humility and submission to God.  At the time this woman was washing her Lord's feet, uncovering a Hebrew woman's hair was used as a way to punish and humiliate them.  We know the woman was a sinner; to uncover her hair, in the presence of men, was an acknowledgment of her sins.  To wash Christ's feet with that hair, her crowning glory, acknowledged in a very visceral way that His glory was so much more than hers.

So I think of this story whenever someone asks me why I cover in the presence of our Lord.  Sadly, because it's a practice that's fallen so badly out of practice, many women refrain from covering so as not to draw attention to themselves.  I definitely understand this!  You don't want what's ultimately an act of humility and submission to be viewed as an act of self-righteous piousness.  I don't wear a long, lacy mantillas.  I wear a simple but attractive hair covering, and I've never had any issues, even though I'm usually the only covered woman.  For more information of the history of Catholic veiling, check out Fish Eaters (easily one of the best websites for orthodox Roman Catholicism that I've seen!)


Rightthinker-Andrea said...

I love this post!

Thank you for the thoughts!

Anne Marie said...

Did your DH end up getting the internship? I though I recalled you posting about a possible internship and I don’t recall seeing a post about how that was going I think of you guys from time to time and am praying for good work for your DH.

Katie said...

No, unfortunately it didn't pan out, but we appreciate the prayers!