The Case for Modesty

So, there’s this whole mentality I have a problem with, and that’s the “I will dress how I want to dress!” mentality that the world seems to enjoy having. Take out the word dress and replace it with do, sounds rather prideful, right? Almost like the words Lucifer, or Satan, said right before his fall from grace? Oh, but no one wants to hear that, good heavens no! How dare you judge me! Oh for crying out loud, telling someone that they are wrong is not passing judgement. I will repeat that for those in the back, telling someone that they are wrong is not passing judgement. Passing judgement involves handing out a sentence or a punishment for one’s crimes, telling someone that they are wrong is an act of love, because we want the best outcome for you. So, when our Lady told Saint Jacinta that fashions will arise that will displease our Lord very much, she is saying it out of love for us, not because she, or God, or even the Church, is trying to control people. If that was really the case, then the Church has been controlling us for a very long time! They are telling us because they are our parents, and they do know better than we do. I have heard stated that our Lady would dress modestly accordingly to what each culture depicts as “modest” (not what God says is modest, but what each culture dictates is modest, each era), despite the fact that she did not dress like a french peasant woman when she appeared to Bernadette at Lourdes nor a Portuguese peasant when she appeared at Fatima. It was very clearly our Lady, with her gorgeous flowing dress and long veil illuminated by the grace of God. Same goes for La Salette. The colors were the only differences in her style. But this does bring to mind the fact that God does not change, and we need to stop expecting Him to. If He asked our Lady to inform us that fashions will arise that displease Him, should we not take their word for it? Why do we insist on wanting God to be our friend and please us, but expect Him to deal with our mistakes and sinful ways when that displeases Him? Not a very good friendship. He has asked us many times to follow Him and not the ways of the world, when will we listen? And this is not the first time God has sent us this message about modesty through our Lady, she also said so in the apparition at Quito, Ecuador. Twice, our Lady has said this, twice. If she has to tell us a third time, you know the consequences will be dire if we refuse to listen yet again. We got WW2 because we refused to listen to instructions just on the first time around. How much more worse will the consequences be because we refused to heed God’s message a third time? And I’ve also heard that clothes shouldn’t matter, it’s the inside that counts. Well, yes, that’s true, but, what’s on the inside usually becomes reflected on the outside, our manners, our words, our clothes. A nun, a priest, a monk are all pretty much dressed the same, are you saying they should throw away their clothes to dress “accordingly to each culture”? They can’t, they’re dressing for God’s culture, not the many cultures of the world (though there’s not much wrong with each culture. God’s culture is just more universal and unique than the rest).

I have been praying about this for months, and basically every single time, whether it’s a post on Tumblr, Facebook, from the pulpit, or from a book, it’s the same each time. Modesty is necessary and God asks it of us. The divine is always fully clothed, veiled, so should we be. The Holy Mother Church has rules in regards to modesty, shoulders must be covered, no more than three finger-lengths from collar-bone for necklines, no see-through fabric, and all pants and skirts must go past the knee. There is still so much that fits within those guidelines that there shouldn’t be any problems! By following God’s ways, you become so much more unique (just ask any of the saints), but by following the world’s ways and, basically, the devil’s ways, you’re nothing more than another piece of coal, no different from the rest. So please, dress modestly, not because the Church said so, not because I prefer it, not because it’s for the souls of others, but because God asked it of you. And if you do not follow God’s ways, then you will have nothing left but the world’s ways, and the devil’s, and it’s a long way down.

Also, there needs to be a balance. Dressing modestly does not mean we hate our bodies, it’s because we like to keep it a mystery, for those who are called to marriage, a mystery only their spouse has the key to (yes, modesty applies to men too. The focus has been on women because, one, we are the rulers of society, the caretakers of chastity and life; two, because the devil hates us most of all since it was by a woman that our salvation came and crushed his head . . . so to speak, since, he’s still prowling). On one side, I’ve heard talk that some over-zealous people took modesty, purity, and chastity to mean that our bodies are such horrible things (despite the fact that they were wonderfully made by God, and He makes no evil, we choose to be that) and that sex is pure evil. Then there’s the side on the other end of the spectrum, the far end, which basically states that sex is all about lust, not love; that we should have sex with whomever we want and expect to have no consequences (though the fact that some people regard a baby as a punishment is so out-dated. Thanks a lot folks, that means we are all “punishments” for love, since you just don’t want to love, because guess what, love includes sacrifice, and that means saying no to yourself from time to time); that basically we should have whatever we want, no matter how bad it ended up being for us. And we keep making mistake, after mistake, after mistake. God sends us these messages because He loves us and wants us to be happy, not because He’s being judgmental. That comes upon our death, and on Judgement Day, and if we truly loved Him, we’d want to be on His side and try to please Him, simply because He’s so freaking awesome! And He is so good. We’re here because of Him! How much more proof do we need that He does know better, that He is a genius, that He knows what He’s doing (and we clearly don’t). We’ve run our lives, and this world, long enough without God’s interference, and look where it’s gotten us. Isn’t it about time we gave it back to Him? And how much less stressful would it be if we didn’t have to worry about everything all the time and left it all in His hands! And they are pretty big hands, there’s enough room for all of us! Including the saints and angels in Heaven and the souls in Purgatory. Oh, and to know that, despite what anyone else in the world might think about you, Someone does love you, no matter what (unless you decide to destroy your friendship with Him by sinning, in which case, that was all your fault, not His, and it makes Him really sad. But that’s what the sacrament of Confession is all about, Reconciliation). So, can you give me any good reasons why we should turn from God and His ways when He is so amazingly perfect and loves us so much that He sent His only Son to save us?

One last thing (I think, maybe, unless I think of something else to add), how do you dress for God? No, really, how do you dress for God? What would you wear if you knew He was to show up physically at your door? The kind of clothes you wear reveals how much you respect that person. So, when you wear beachwear to the house of God here on Earth, no one can take you seriously when you say you love Him, especially when you clean up real good to meet the Pope or the President of the United States, or even a celebrity. The way you dress reveals your inner thoughts and reflects what you value the most. This is why modesty and how we dress is so important. The majority of communication is non-verbal communication, what you wear and when is a big part of that as well. By not veiling in the presence of God in the Eucharist, by not wearing modest clothing whether to Mass or to see the Pope reveals to me that you do not value God’s friendship very much. And don’t tell you do when you make yourself look amazing for that first date or for that job interview. Everyone says, “I want to wear what I want to wear because it reflects me,” and you are absolutely correct, it’s just that, not all clothes are appropriate for certain occasions. You had better not show up in jeans and a t-shirt to a wedding or a funeral unless that was the only clothing you had. Same goes for Mass, you had better not show up to God’s table thinking about the beach when you should be thinking about Him and talking to Him, at His table. So, yes, how you dress is very important, much more important than you’d like to admit, perhaps, and as such, modesty is equally as important. And yes, I will admit, modesty is about control, but your control over yourself, no one else can control you through modesty but yourself. And let’s be real here, it’s time to give that control back to God, we tend to get too overwhelmed when things don’t go our way or that everything has to be perfect. But that’s the thing, our idea of perfection can be so warped because what is considered perfection by one person is totally flawed to another. This is why we need God’s culture, God’s idea of perfection, God’s unerring and eternal truth, because He knows what we need, He knows how we fit together (since we are mere puzzle pieces in His grand scheme, no matter how big or small we are, each piece is important to the whole picture), and He knows how to fix everything before we’ve even broken it. And that’s the beauty of the whole thing, the beauty and appeal of Him, He is our longing, our journey’s end, our home. And if God is for us, who can be against us? But we must also be for God as well, because that’s just how relationships and friendships work, that’s how love works. So, I will ask you this, if you truly, and I mean, truly loved God, would you dress like a slob in His presence, or more like a religious? He may see into your heart, but we see your clothes, and that’s how we’ll know you’re serious or not about your relationship with God, that’s how He lets us know to stay away from worldly people in our pursuit of Him. But, I guess I should say thank you to the fashion industry, without them, we would not know a true, God-loving nun from a fake, or a God-fearing gentleman from a lustful jerk (for the most part, anyway, there are those who are wolves in sheep’s clothing, that’s especially how the devil likes to work). Non-verbal communication, clothes are part of it, because it is what we see, and our impressions of each other based on clothes can go a long way. So don’t just dress-up to make a good, first impression on that job interview, or that first date, dress-up every day you are with God, because He deserves it, He is your love, He is your boss, and the rest of us deserves to know that you take Him seriously, and for some, that may just be the opportunity someone needs to open up to Him because, inevitably, we all long for Him, and nothing else will do.

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