What is Modesty?
Updated: Jan 13, 2021
To understand modesty, one must first understand the dignity of the human person. To understand the dignity of the human person, one must first understand the dignity of the woman. The 21st generation has been a period in history where the sacredness of human life has been subjected to total indifference and contempt. The tragedy of abortion, euthanasia and immodesty in all its forms has been looked upon with ease and compliance. Most people simply do not care about the well being of another. If it’s convenient, easy or suits one’s whims and fancies then you have a right to go with it. This way of thinking, this mindset does not adhere or take into account the consequence of choice and the gravity of free-will that has been granted to each human being by the Most High.
In the trailer of “A Hidden Life” the Austrian Blessed Franz Jägerstätter said “if God gives us free will, we’re responsible for what we do or what we fail to do”. We have been given the gift of free will and so we also will be held responsible for the choices we make, whether great or small, whether bad or good.
Jesus Christ, the King, Lord, Redeemer, Savior and Lover of our souls has shown mankind the Way, for He is “the Way, the Truth and the Life” John 14:6. He has shown us the Way of Love and He has held absolutely nothing back. He has given Himself, totally and freely to each and all, “who, though he was in the form of God, did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at, rather he emptied himself, by taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human appearance, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” Phillippians 6-8. The Footprints of His earthly life have shown us that each soul is wholly loved and that we are made in His image and likeness. He has shown us that we must give ourselves wholly to the service of the other no matter the cost. St. Maria Faustina Kowalska explains in her diary that if there were another way to holiness, Our Lord would’ve shown us, but as it is He has only shown us the Way of suffering and love.
“To say that man is created in the image of likeness of God means that man is called to exist ‘for’ others, to become a gift.” If therefore we are called to be a gift for the other and to love one another and to give oneself to the service of the other no matter the cost, then modesty must be at the heart of every soul. Oxford Languages defines modesty as “behavior, manner or appearance intended to avoid impropriety and indecency.” Modesty concerns our “thoughts, hearts and actions” and so in consequence this concerns our way of life and how one dresses. “On the basis of the principle of mutually being “for” the other in interpersonal “communion”, there develops in humanity itself, in accordance with God’s Will, the integration of what is “masculine” and what is “feminine”. The beauty of the man and woman vocation compliment each other perfectly in their differences and uniqueness. One must embrace totally the gift of their sex whether male or female and thus becoming fully who they were created to be.
To conclude this first article, let us contemplate these writings on modesty from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
“Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity, to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity. (2521)
Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love… Modesty is decency. It inspires one’s choice of clothing. (2522)
Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and prevailing ideologies. (2523)
The forms taken by modesty vary from one culture to another. Everywhere, however, modesty exists as an intuition of the spiritual dignity proper to man. It is born with the awakening consciousness of being a subject. Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person. (2524)
Sweet Blessed Mother, Mary Queen of the Angels, we humbly implore you to bestow upon us from the fullness of your grace, the gift of modesty in all of our thoughts, words and actions and ultimately in and through our way of life. This desire is to console your Immaculate Heart and to appease the just anger of Our Sweet Lord, offended by the immodesty of His creatures. May we understand the truth of the human person and revere each soul as one willed into existence by love of the Lord God, Jesus Christ. Help us, Sweet Mother to always do what is most pleasing to Him in everything we say, think and do. Amen.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
On the Dignity and Vocation of Women
by: John Paul
Dressing with Dignity
by: Colleen Hammond