Modesty isn’t just about rules, it’s about Love!
by Rita Davidson
Or perhaps, you don’t realize that modesty is a very important virtue for every Catholic from birth to death.
Let me explain;
You have likely heard talk about all those silly rules we have for modesty. This long, and this short. I mean what is all those rules for anyhow ?
Well, for one thing, it’s true. The Church as given us guidelines so we can use them to be sure we are at least on the right track. For some they hate to think of all those rules. Laws that they say, don’t apply to them.
But what about scrupulous souls. Who spend a lot of time worried they may be immodest ? Worried this might not be modest enough and just trying to do what is expected from them ? Or what about those lax Catholics we all know, that say God doesn’t care what you wear, it’s just what’s in your heart ?
Well, the Church gives us rules so that we have clear guidelines about what to do. Not too severe, and not too lax. Why else did God give us the 10 Commandments ? They were a set of 10 rules that we were to follow. Very specific they were too. We all follow those. Or we should be. Why would God give us such specific rules to live by ? I mean can’t we just live and be good. Isn’t that enough ?
Well, God knew we needed some guidelines. I mean He has to give us all the best tools to save our souls right ? So, when we steal, we are sure to know what stealing is. Or do we ? (well that’s another blog post for another day!)
But, if God gave us the 10 Commandments so specific for us to live our life by, why would He not also want to give us a set of specific guidelines that we could use about modesty ? Clothing ourselves is something we have to do everyday!
Do you think God perhaps knew that times would soon be changing and He needed to give us something to carry us through to calmer times ?
I think so. Especially after Our Lady of Fatima appeared in 1920 and said: "Certain fashions will be introduced which will offend Our Divine Lord very much. Those who serve God ought not to follow these fashions. The Church has no fashions. Our Lord is always the same. " Then she added: "More people go to hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason."
Just 10 years later, in 1930, Donato, Cardinal Sbaretti, Pref. of Congregation of the Council; Feast of the Holy Family, Jan, 12, 1930, gave us these basic rules.
So what are these rules, these guidelines for modesty ?
" a dress cannot be called decent which is cut deeper than two fingers breadth under the pit of the throat,
which does not cover the arms at least to the elbows and scarcely reaches a bit beyond the knees. Furthermore, dresses of transparent materials are improper."
Simple isn’t it ? But remember in 1928, there was no pants for women being manufactured. There was also no two-piece bathing suits, hot pants, shorts for women or belly button shirts.
But there was, sleeveless shirts and dresses then. And there was spaghetti straps.
So what do you think the Church was trying to show us ?
Well, for one it was trying to correct the sleeveless shirts that were becoming popular at that time. It says ‘cover the arms at least to the elbows’. That pretty much eliminates sleeveless shirts, spaghetti straps and cap sleeves.
"Two fingers breadth under the pit of the throat’ pretty much covers the neckline issue. Two fingers measurement (how practical Holy Mother Church is, to not use a ruler, but a guideline like fingers, handy enough you always have it with you!)
Now the one that really confuses people is, "scarcely reaches a bit beyond the knees" We all know where our knees are and they are telling us the minimum is just beyond the knees. Well, I know of no shorts that cover that far down ? Nor any pants either ?
I know I’m going to be kicked out the door for saying that, but I’d rather say the truth here than what is popular. If I can’t speak the truth, there is no point for this blog.
I’m not going to give all those ‘studies’ that say where men look and such to convince you. Frankly if you need that to prove it, your like doubting Thomas.
When this guideline was given it was 1930, there was no manufactured pants or shorts for women. There just weren’t. The Church at the time didn’t give guidelines for pants, but for dresses and skirts. Because they were the standard clothing for women for the past 1920 years!
Now I could go on for an entire book on this one, (but that’s what I wrote Immodesty; Satans Virtue in 1999 ) and I know many of you are going to disagree with me here. That is fine.
All I would say is don’t disagree with me, as I am only repeating what the Church has told us. So your fight is really with the Church then.
Remember, it was Our Lady that told us, "The Church is always the same". And so it is! Century after Century it repeats to us what we need to do to save our souls.
God asks us to be faithful. He asks us to obey the 10 Commandments and live our life by them. He asks us to do His holy will and faithfully our daily duty. Practicing modesty is just one part of our daily duty. It is our responsibility to cover ourselves as we are ‘temples of the Holy Ghost’ (and men this means you too) and so the Church has given us guidelines so we can do so simply without worry.
God simply wants to see us save our souls. He wishes to see us all back by His side in heaven one day. Modesty is just one step in our spiritual life. Don’t worry and fret about the rules for modesty. This long or this short. But realize the guidelines are there to help you as you start dressing more modestly.
The key is it’s not just about rules, it’s about Love. It’s about how much are you willing to sacrifice to show Our Lord that you love Him ? (No don’t accuse me of garbage bags and burkas here)
How much do you love God, to know He abides in your heart each holy Communion, and to know you too shall be veiled like the Tabernacle He resides in on the altar ?
However you practice modesty, all that matters is that you start, that you take it seriously, and always ask for Our Lady’s help. And ask yourself, am I doing enough for the God I love ?
What do you think ? Do you love God enough ?
©Copyright 2012 Rita Davidson, All Rights Reserved.
(Thou shalt not steal, remember? But thou shalt share ?) 🙂
Rita is a Catholic wife and mother of seven children. She reverted back to the faith when her oldest was making her First Communion. In 1996, Rita began ‘Little Flowers Family Apostolates’ to reach out to other families with her new found faith. In 1999, she wrote the bestselling, ‘Immodesty; Satan’s Virtue’. She was editor of ‘The Catholic Health Letter’ for 7 years. A homeschooling mom for 20+ years, she has been honored that families have trusted her with their questions, needs and concerns over the years. She continues to write and reach out to Catholic families with her husband, Mark and their 4 boys; through http://www.LittleFlowersFamilyPress.com