Anna: As a teenager and a youth I happily dressed according to the latest fashions of the time – mini skirts, short shorts etc. When my mum used to object, I would tell her, “Everybody is doing it so why can’t I?” Sometimes she suggested that I should dress modestly in Church but outside I could wear the latest fashions. My mind would twist this and say “God is everywhere, so if he sees me on the road with a mini skirt and it is OK then what’s so different when God sees me with the same thing in Church.” Times have changed (and so have I) but I am sure most women nowadays still think this way.  Till recently, my own daughter used to back-answer me like that!
But God writes straight on crooked lines and so today, being a little more enlightened, I can speak to my daughter and other women with conviction:
  • The sixth Beatitude says, “Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see the face of God” (Matt 5:1-12). If we really want to see God face to face we need to be pure. CCC 2519 states “Purity of heart is a precondition to see God.” And CCC 2521 says that “Purity requires modesty.”
  • So what is Modesty? Modesty is protecting the intimate centre of a person. It means refusing to uncover the parts of the body that should remain covered. It also includes how we look at and behave toward each other. By dressing modestly, a woman sends a message to the world—that every person was created to love and be loved in the purest of ways. Modesty also shows the great reverence we should have for our bodies and our immortal souls—two sacred gifts that should always be treated with dignity and respect.
  • St. Paul in 1 Cor 6: 19 tells us that the Body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. We are not to look at each other as objects for our own pleasure.
  • Modesty is not only covering up ourselves but also staying away from any entertainment, life-style, environment that is impure. In other words we have to fill our minds, hearts, eyes and ears with things that will help us to grow in holiness. We need to control our tongues from cracking “non-veg” jokes at parties and walk away if someone is relating one.
Some suggestions for modest clothing for women and men, are :
  1. Wear clothes with sleeves as far as possible – try to avoid sleeveless shirts / dresses including tank tops.
  2. Wear clothes that fit well and avoid tight fitting clothes (like tights, slacks, jeans, sweaters and shorts) and form fitting clothes that reveal rather than conceal the figure of the wearer or emphasizes certain parts of the body.
  3. Use linings for transparent clothes and transparent lace as well.
  4. Wear shorts, skirts and dresses that reach at least 2 inches below the knees.
  5. Use pleats on dresses and skirts instead of slits at the back or the front.
  6. Avoid low and wide necklines.
These suggestions are to help instill a true sense of respect and modesty. The world says, “If you got it, flaunt it.” God tells us that what He has given us we are to give back in truth, holiness and purity. Don’t fall for the lies of the media and society. True, pure and unending beauty does lie in the heart, a heart that loves God totally.
Vally:  My dear sisters, we men need your help to live chastely. You, being women, have no idea, NO IDEA, what happens to men when you wear “sexy” clothes. Men are primarily affected by visual stimulus. In fact, it doesn’t take much visual stimulus at all, for the average man, to become sexually aroused. The sight of a female body, or parts of her body, even just a little bit and even if she is a complete stranger, can trigger sexual thoughts instantly. Women do not react to visual stimuli in the same intense way as men. For them, tender, loving words, sincere appreciation are much more meaningful.
Because of these differences, we need to discipline ourselves, to guard our eyes and keep a check on harbouring sexual thoughts, because once these thoughts begin, they can and frequently do turn to impure thoughts like: “I wonder what she looks like without…” or “How would it be to make love to her…” This is lust – the desire to use another for my own pleasure. Sure, we men must take responsibility for our own thoughts, but don’t you think that what women wear and how women present themselves to men also plays a role in directing our thoughts? When a man is habituated to seeing women in “sexy” clothes it can encourage him to develop a warped vision of all women and cause him to treat all women as sex objects, even though some of them may be modestly dressed.
So, women can help men to guard their hearts by dressing modestly. And how can men change their hearts from lust to love?
  1. By consciously guarding our eyes if they chance to fall upon a “sexily” dressed woman.
  2. By pushing away all lustful thoughts should they come up.
  3. By blessing God, the author of Beauty for creating that beautiful or attractive woman and for making you a man capable of being attracted by all that is good.
  4. By saying a short prayer for that woman that she may not lead others into sin and asking God to forgive her.
  5. By frequenting the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist to help you become a real man like Christ.
Prayer (for men): Jesus, the Eternal Bridegroom, teach me how to be a real man – to treat all women, including my wife, as my sisters (we don’t lust after our sisters and so neither should we lust after our wives) . You laid down your life for us, your Bride. May I be ready to be crucified rather than use my sisters to satisfy my own selfish desires. May I strive to be “pure of heart” so that I may “see God” in my sisters, here on earth, (even if they are immodest) so that in the “resurrection of our bodies” I may see you , my God, face to face. Amen.
–Valentine and Anna Coelho “BE-ATTITUDES”- 2414628 / 9326128259
(Based on an article by RADIX, printed with permission in CCL Family Foundations Jan – Feb 1998, “Sexy Fashions” by Michael Murphy from Pro-life America and Christopher West’s talk Naked with out Shame.)

Valentine (Vally) & Anna Coelho
Visit our blog: http://tob-attitudes.blogspot.com/

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