St. John Bosco:
"Ask everyone to preserve the beautiful virtue of modesty. This is the virtue most acceptable to the heart of the Virgin Mary. If this is presnt all is well. If this is wanting, everything is wanting...
Those who have not lost this beautiful virtue of modesty follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth, and sing a canticle that is not given to others to sing. But as it is so fragile a virtue, one must pray to Our Blessed Lady fervently and repeatedly, and avoid all occasions that might make one lose it..."
Edna Phelan's Don Bosco: a Spiritual Portrait, 230-31.
Is a skirt the only measure of femininity or modesty? Of course not. Modesty is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and as such it is very profound. It is a quality that is difficult to describe in words because it is something that is lived in a person. When you meet a person who practices and cultivates modesty – you know it. Children under the age of ten with their innate thirst for truth, under ordinary conditions, will know purity.
Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." MT 19:14)
Unfortunately for adults, due to the effects of original sin, they do not immediately and intuitively understand (a gift of the Holy Spirit) the meaning of modesty (a fruit of the Holy Spirit.) Since man is not a pure spirit, but a composite of body and soul (and St. Edith Stein also says psyche), what we do with our bodies will affect our souls and vice versa. Having a concern about what protects our bodies, the temple of the Holy Spirit, will also impact the development of our spiritual life. Moreover, the saints teach that if we work on one virtue we work on all of them.
My experience with wearing a skirt is that it is the proximate cause of various virtues. (Are there other ways of practicing these virtues – Certainly!)
1.I can’t seem to get around the fact that Our Lady never appeared in slacks. She is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, the one through whom God has chosen to distribute His graces to the world, and She never once wore slacks. Our Lady is the paradigm of Catholic femininity and Christian perfection. I imitate Our Lady by wearing skirts/dresses.
2. In 1917 when Our Lady appeared in Fatima she said there will be many fashions that greatly offend the Lord. Before 1960, women did not wear slacks. Constant wearing of slacks by women is a fairly new idea. (Did our grandmothers or mothers ever or routinely wear slacks?) I listen to Our Lady when I wear a dress/skirt.
3. Who wears the pants in your house?
I believe this old saying contains a kernel of truth. It is good for the family to have a head – the father- and a heart- the mother. I have found a healthy obedience is nurtured by wearing a skirt.
4. Detachment from body image.
In slacks, gaining one pound to five pounds makes a difference. One notices pretty quickly in the inseam. I have found because of wearing skirts, I hardly ever step on the scale – it just doesn’t matter as much.
In trying to cultivate a genteel spirit within myself and my home, I have found that a skirt assists this mentality and behavior. One is more inclined to sit like a lady, walk like one, behave like a lady in a dress. If the skirt is A-line than outdoor activities and playing with children on the floor are not encumbered. In fact, I find I like to sit on the floor with my children in a skirt. I don’t notice my body as much as I did in slacks.
Sometimes I do feel like a dress or skirt is a public hairshirt. Sometimes, it isn’t as easy. But, then Our Lady asked at Fatima: Are you willing to offer yourselves in sacrifice?
7. Example/Witness to the World
The Lord prayed for those of His own who were in the world yet not of the world.
"I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but to guard them from the evil one. They are not of the world, any more than I am of the world."
If I am really one of His, I shouldn’t easily fit in with the world’s standards.
Slacks definitely point out a certain part of the body more so than skirts.
Monday, June 05, 2006
St. John Bosco: