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A Traditional View on Modesty

One of my favorite stories of Christ is when He is in the desert: Satan offers him the world and Chirst's response is "Begone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve." (Matthew 4:10b)

For us Christians we have really never been at peace with the world; the world calls us to be "of it," but God desires us to be of Him and in the world. We must constantly be working towards our sanctification here on Earth. We must always put the Lord first regardless of our lives. Those who slack or recline in comfort, are those who have surrendered to Satan. Life is much more than going to Church on Sunday and having kids, the mentality of "we'll just outbreed our enemies" does not create a future world of good Christians. Even small active steps matter. One such change, one in everyone's grasp, is fulfilling the call to modesty.

When you hear modesty you may think of a burka or a woman in a sundress in a wheat field, or perhaps wearing a veil at a Church -- but there is much more to that. Modesty, the word, comes into the English language during the 1530s meaning "freedom of exaggeration." Something that does not draw attention, something not flamboyant or unassuming.

We in modern times have come to associate immodesty with things that excite us, particularly things that excite us carnally. Historically, to be immodest meant to draw attention to the world. Now a major part of the world or at least its desire is the flesh, but it could be anything -- The excess focus on your muscles, how much you can lift, or just your physical beauty.

We on the Right do love to be scrupulous, even to the point we purity spiral. How many accounts do you see on the internet of just women dressing in ways they call "traditional" and showing off how "modest" they are. It is the exact opposite of modesty. One of my favorite quotes is by Bl. Jacinta Marto of Fatima "Fashions that will greatly offend Our Lord will appear. People who follow God should not follow fashions. The Church has no fashions. Our Lord was always the same." Drawing attention to yourself, draws people's eyes to the world and away from God.

The Greatest unbaptised man was not Alexander. Though they call him Great, he died of mere carnal passions. In reality it was John the Baptist, the final prophet of the Lord.  John spent his whole life readying the world for the Son. He ate locusts and wore a garment of camel skin, did not own a single possession other than what he wore. John lived in the world but was of God, only magnifying His glory.

So after you finish this article and go to correct yourself the best place to start is to ask yourself "how much do I find other's opinion of me matters?" Ask yourself "how much do I need attention?" Most importantly, ask yourself, "how much do I live for this world rather than for the next?" I will leave you with this quote:

"We must practice modesty, not only in our looks, but also in our whole deportment, and particularly in our dress, our walk, our conversation, and all similar actions." (St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

Jp Jarosz