MODESTY, MODESTY, WHEREFORE ART THOU?
"Likewise, for the glorious adornment of Aaron's sons (priests) you shall have tunics and sashes and turbans made. With these you shall clothe your brother Aaron and his sons. Anoint and ordain them, consecrating them as my priests. You must also make linen drawers for them, to cover their naked flesh from their loins to their thighs. Aaron and his sons shall wear them whenever they go into the meeting tent or approach the altar to minister in the sanctuary, lest they incur guilt and die. This shall be a perpetual ordinance for him and for his descendants." (Exodus 28;40 - 43)
Modesty is an orderly arrangement of clothes that does not hide the inner or spiritual side of people. Immodesty leads to lust and other sins. Faithful and knowledgeable Catolics do not wear some clothes in public: mini-shirts, sun-dresses, high-slit skirts, low-cut dresses, short-shorts, halter or tube tops, sheer blouses, tank-tops and other revealing clothing. Persistent immodesty is evidence of rebellion toward God, his Word, the Church, fathers, husbands and children.
Immodesty ruins the Catholic influence and impairs the effectiveness of the Gospel. We all have to remember that when we come to worship, it is the one opportunity that we have to share the inner faith in God that we practice with our fellow Catholics. This is our chance to practice our priesthood within the community. Please re-read the above paragraph about how priests should dress.
It is imperative that we realize that the church and its immediate surroundings are deserving of our modesty and simplicity of dress. There are so many passages in the Bible that remind us of this that it is rather surprising that so many flaunt their physical assets in these areas of spiritual relationships.
I quoted the passage from the Exodus because it states that the ordinance requiring modesty of dress on the altar and in the meeting tent is a "perpetual" ordinance. It is not something that has been changed because Peter or Paul or Timothy and anyone else in the New Testament had a vision that made it OK for men and women to present themselves to the altar in the same attire that they would employ on the job (Remember the story of Peter who jumped back into the water because he was naked in front of Jesus?), or in the bedroom.
I will state this with no fear of recrimination, it is not moral to participate in prayer services, devotional or sacramental, in dress that is immodest.
This goes for men as well as it does for women. Men do not have the moral right to participate in church services in shorts and undershirts. Women do not have the moral right to appear in immodest dress either.
Is it possible that men and women who dress provocatively in church think that because this is church others will protected from having lustful thoughts? further than that, what about respecting God? Does anyone remember the terrible uproar caused by the female students who wore flip-flops at an audience with president G.W, Bush? All they had showing were their toes!
Has anyone seen Condoleeza Rice dressed with her cleavage showing? Maybe Madaleine Albright? Laura Bush? Hilary Clinton? Diane Sawyer? Lesley Stahl? Katie Couric? These people aren't even going to church! Even the reporters of the gossip oriented TV news shows wear modest clothing while they are reporting about quasi denuded harlot actresses.
Yet, our churches are replete with low-cut styles every single Sunday. Why?
Why would a mother bring her child to church on Sunday while she has half her chest on for the world to admire? I suppose we are fortunate that it only happens rarely that we get insulted by the display of female glutei maximi at the offertory.
Let me remind you all, it is improper and sinful for Christians to dress immodestly in the worship assembly. Mini-skirts, hot-pants, sun-dresses, high-slit skirts and low-cut dresses have no place in public worship. Especially women should be careful to wear appropriate undergarments that contribute to modesty.
Let me remind you of what we read in the Gospel of Saint Matthew: "Hear our Lord on this matter. (Matt. 5:27) "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
Why would any Christian want to give another person a reason to commit adultery in their heart? Yet many men and women of all ages who call themselves Christians `unclothe' themselves donning modern nightclub attire, that only the most worldly can possibly call modest, and mingle together without any apparent shame in God's house.
I want you all to know that I am assured in my heart that no pastor or preacher or writer can expose his views on the matter of modest apparel without being aware of opening himself up for criticism. Go ahead, criticize me. Tell me that I am conservative. Tell me that I am out of touch. Telol me that at my age I should mind my own business about this. Tell me that if I enjoy the female assets on display in church that I am a pervert. Tell me anything that you want with regards this topic.
I tell you that your opinion amounts to nothing at all apart from the direct command of God and his prophets and apostles to be modest. When God leaves no doubt concerning His feeling about modesty it would do all of the human race good to heed His word and do His will.
That is where I am putting my bet so that you will not have to cry at my funeral.
CLICK HERE to read the letter from a reader that got this tread going.