Two great posts on modesty

I’ve written before about modesty, and I don’t have too much new to say about it. I just wanted to pass along two good blog posts I’ve read recently on the subject.

Daughter of the Heavenly King (a Catholic blog) writes:

The Church has always been about beauty – and showing that beauty.  Just walk into any old Cathedral – especially in Europe.  Heck, in Italy for instance, even the little Churches are adorned with Frescoes and gilded in gold.  And what is your body, if not a Cathedral?  What would you think if the Sistine Chapel was all of a sudden shrouded in muslin and all the statues and frescoes covered up with tarps?  It’d be a travesty.  It would actually distract from what that Chapel was built to be in the first place.  At the same time, it would be repulsive and completely inappropriate  if every painting was redone and its subjects made to look provocative and as if they wished to incite lust.  This too would be equally distracting.

So what is the happy medium?  Modesty.  True modesty.  To continue with our analogy it would be the Sistine chapel, with the candles lit, flowers adorning the alter, the frescoes brightly lit, and the gold gilding glittering. Not hidden, yet not demanding attention.  Not disguised, yet not inappropriate.  Beautiful.

Where I part ways with this author, however, is when she says the lust is the problem of the men, period. For that issue, I direct you to Beautiful Womanhood.

But these guys have a problem, and it’s a problem that we have to own as their sisters in Christ. Everywhere they go, women are unbelievably unhelpful. Flaunting. Revealing. Immodest. Out in the world, we wouldn’t really expect anything else, but when it’s women in the Church, that’s a different story. Over and over, our friends have lamented that Christian women just don’t seem to understand what they’re doing to their brothers. (…)

Are you saying that if a man is lusting after a woman, that it’s her fault?!Nope. Not even close. Lust is a sin. And if a man is committing it, God holds him and him alone accountable. I’m not advocating the Islamic stereotype “blame the woman for her own rape” kind of mentality that says that men are not responsible for themselves in the presence of a beautiful woman.

But we can help our brothers. Being immodest is like throwing a party for a bunch of recovering alcoholics and deciding to have an open bar. If your guests got totally smashed it would, of course, be their fault, but no one is going to think for a minute that you really loved them or cared about their struggles.

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