How Far Should a Woman Go to Be Modest for the Sake of Keeping Men Chaste?

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‘Eve Tempting Adam,’ by Johann Carl Loth

Modest dress in women will ONLY be a help to the men who are ALREADY working on keeping their thoughts chaste. It’s a service of love for our brothers who want to see the women around them as sisters and not as objects of their uncontrolled lust.

Men who already walk around with the intent to indulge in looking at women’s figures to titilate their own lustful thoughts, will salivate just as much over the woman who is obviously dressed to attract sexual attention as they will a woman who has taken care to keep covered from about no more than mid-thigh to the top of her cleavage. As long as she is dressed prettily but not dowdy or in a tent that completely hides her form, she is prey to the weak man who doesn’t even try to master himself in this area. There’s not a darn thing she can do to keep him from having the thoughts he’s going to have. It’s his sin, not hers.  It’s not on her to hide the femininity God gave her by depersonalizing herself in garb that hides her true form altogether.

Women don’t need to ask men what is modest. If we are in any way honest with ourselves and it’s our intention when we buy clothes and get dressed, to not explicitly try to gain sexual attention, then we will most likely pick out appropriate clothing. It’s ok to want to look pretty and well put together and that’s not immodest at all.

Examples

Modest in a way that reflects femininity and will be a help to men who have already decided to gain mastery over lustful thoughts…….

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Modest to the point of depersonalization (complete denial of the female form) in an attempt  to keep already unchaste men from thinking nasty thoughts.  It is not necessary for women to go this far.  Men have a responsibility to overcome their own sin and to master their sinful inclinations.

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Summary

Women can choose to be a help to men in their quest to keep their thoughts chaste and we can choose to recognize and honor our own dignity in how we dress.  Men can have a weakness in this area but ultimately it’s up to the man to decide to have dominion and mastery over himself.  Until he desires this and attempts it, there’s not much individual women can do to help him without completely hiding the fact that we ARE women with a female form that God has given to us.   We are not responsible to keep men from sinning to the point that our very being as women must be denied, covered up and formless.  It’s not our job to completely take the responsibility of self-mastery from individual men.  Each man is responsible for himself and for his own sin.

” The major challenge the contemporary woman faces today is not equality but rather identity.”

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The following quote is one I read on facebook this morning…..

Cardinal Scola of Milan argues that the major challenge the contemporary woman faces today is not equality but rather identity. Women will always fall short of the mark if they only compare themselves to men’s essentially masculine achievements. Women will never realize what their own unique feminine contributions to family, society and Church may be if they continue to measure themselves only by the standards men have achieved. Women must look into their own minds, souls and bodies to discover what contributions that they, and they alone, can offer to society. Someone asked Napoleon who was the greatest woman in history. Bonaparte answered, “The one with the most babies.” The emperor might have given this answer with his tongue in his cheek but his response is absolutely correct. Motherhood is the unique female contribution to society, family and Church. Women must look first to those roles in world history that no man can ever fulfill. Others note that daughter, sister, wife and mother are clearly roles unique to women. Such roles must not be ignored even while women pursue wider careers. The alert daughter and the aware sister have gifts to offer a family and a neighborhood that sons and brothers cannot. The observant wife and attentive mother have talents not found in the best of husbands and fathers. Femininity, unique to womanhood, is a divinely instilled response to life that only a woman may discern. Feminism ignores womanhood, bent only on remaking women in the image of men, robbing females of their distinctive destiny that goes back to Eden.

In stressing equality over identity modern society manages to distract women from the ongoing attack on the very nature of womanhood, on the very essence of femininity. Abortion, contraception, sterilization, surrogacy are plainly attacks on motherhood. Divorce, cohabitation and single motherhood are obviously assaults on the dignity of woman as wife. Pornography certainly exploits women who are daughters and sisters. Women truly have to ask themselves what particular vocation, what special role in society, what exceptional contribution to the human race, can they make through their feminine gifts that no Boy Scout or male CEO or heavy-weight athlete could consider or achieve. The era when educated women could expect only to be school teachers, nurses, or secretaries is still within memory. Since then women’s contribution to science, medicine, technology, education, business and athletics has been greatly enhanced. But progress must not be at the expense of true womanhood. Scouting badges, social advancement, and vocational success must be achieved by a deeper appreciation of one’s true self not by the imitation of someone else’s accomplishments.

My thoughts –

There is nothing wrong with women pursuing traditionally masculine pursuits IF they are so inclined.  There always has been and always will be outliers and those on the fringe who live in a way that doesn’t conform to social norms.  BUT what we have today is a push to strongly encourage all girls and women to reject the gifts and talents that are uniquely feminine in favor of tradtional masculine pursuits and that must stop.  Young women shouldn’t feel ashamed to reveal their desire to marry and raise a family.  It used to be acknowledged that motherhood had tremendous influence in moving society in the right direction simply by raising children with well-defined character and values who grew up to be valuable, contributing members to society themselves.  Now, being a mother is denigrated by being “just a SAHM.”  It’s believed that the power to influence society is “out there” somewhere rather than in the home.   The real truth is that home life and family has tremendous power and influence for good if the task of upholding it is undertaken as the sacred duty that it surely is.   While women shouldn’t be relegated to the home by law, it should still be seen as THE most influential domain in terms of it’s value rather than the least.  It should be a mark of honor for women who choose to spend a portion of their life serving the family at home.

Image result for contemporary paintings of mother and familyIt will take both men and women to acknowledge that the uniquely feminine contributions are important or even MORE important in shaping the character of our nation and neighborhoods than what goes on in the wider world.  It is a much forgotten idea that government, business, education, science, technology and medicine are all meant to be at the service of the most fundamental unit of society, the family and the individuals that make it up.  Unfortunately, what  we see today is that the individual is seen as not a member of a family unit that must be protected but as a unit of production that is meant to serve industry as efficiently and as cost-effectively as possible.  Very little to no thought is given to that person’s responsibilites and obligations to the family in which they belong.  The individual is at the service of the state or corporation rather than the other way around.  We need more women and men who will speak out about the family being the center around which decisions and policy are made.  We need men and women to value family and to see that the work done there is of the utmost value to both the individual and society.  It is then that women will value their identity as women and all of society will operate in service of the family which always was and always will be women’s unique domain.

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Vincent Van Gogh Three Pairs. I like this painting because for me it depicts the idea that the wearers of these shoes were out working all day but at the end of that day, they return home to the place where the real service of their work was directed. The wearers of these service-worn boots should find a loving embrace, a hot-meal and a clean, comfortable bed, making the service they provided more than worth the effort.

The woman’s task is not easy–no task worth doing is easy–but in doing it, and when she has done it, there shall come to her the highest and holiest joy known to mankind; and having done it, she shall have the reward prophesied in Scripture; for her husband and her children, yes, and all people who realize that her work lies at the foundation of all national happiness and greatness, shall rise up and call her blessed. ” – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Feminine Beauty is a Reflection of the Divine Beauty of God

Notre Dame, Montreal

“Beauty is not the icing on the cake; it is one of the 3 layers of the cake. It is the child of the marriage of truth and goodness. It is ‘the splendor of truth’ (to quote John Paul the Great’s great title) that attracts us to truth, and it is the ‘beauty of holiness’ (Psalm 29:2) that attracts us to holiness. Beauty is one of the things God is. It is ‘the glory of the Lord’ (to use von Balthasar’s title), the ‘divine Beauty ever ancient yet ever new’ that won Augustine’s restless heart. Beauty is a magnet and our souls are iron filings, and when we sense beauty we speed home.”
~~Peter Kreeft, Jesus Shock

God is beauty.

Feminine beauty is a reflection of this.   Beauty causes the perceiver to look more deeply and what they should see is that the outward beauty points to an inner virtue and holiness.  IOW, outside beauty is the herald of true goodness.  The female should cultivate her outward beauty only as way to attract others to her so she can use her feminine influence to point them to the Divine Beauty of God.   This is the only honest use for it.  God has given women the privilege of reflecting something of His Divine Beauty.  God is inherently beautiful due to His goodness and His truth.  When we women use this attribute for any other purpose, it’s essentially worthless.  This gift of beauty, given to the female, should be a reflection of her inner goodness and her steadfast committment to the truth of God in Christ Jesus.

If we approach our appearance from this understanding of beauty as a reflection of God, holiness and truth, it will be our guide in helping us avoid excessive garishness on one end of the spectrum and excessive modesty on the other.  It will remind us that anything we do to our outward appearance will only have value if it’s a reflection of our inner attitude and holiness.

Men built the cathedrals with great beauty and splendor because they instinctively knew that our houses of worship should point to the awesome beauty of God.  They knew that beauty should draw worshipers in and cause their attention to be lifted up to the Source of all beauty.  We call the Church our Mother.  It’s her beauty, majesty, goodness, and truth that points us in the right direction beyond herself to the One from which all her attributes radiate.

I have often seen comments around the internet of women who lament that because we refer to God as He, that they feel excluded from God and there is nothing of femininity in God.  This is not true.  God is spirit.  God is not male nor female.  All the good attributes that we find in God we find in all humanity, male and female.  The masculinity of God in relation to humanity has to do with His loving us first and our feminine response to that love which we return to Him.  (John 4:19) God’s masculine relation to us should not be confused with His being male in the human sense.  Christ, in His humanity, is male as a reflection of God’s masculine relation to humanity.  He is the Bridegroom and the Church is His Bride. All that is good in masculine AND feminine attributes come from God who encompasses all goodness.  God is One but He is also Three Divine persons who participate in the giving, receiving and the giving of love in return among them.  There is nothing about the female person that isn’t also a full reflection of God.  Beauty is one of the ways females showcase a particular aspect of God.  Our nurturing, protecting, life-bearing, feeding, teaching, loving and responding to love are other ways we reflect God to others.

Women, rejoice in the beauty you have been given.  Nurture and cultivate it but not to the exclusion that you nuture and cultivate the good and the holy in your soul.  Let your beauty draw others to you so you can point them to the Source of Truth, Beauty and Goodness.

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