What is Modesty?

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31

This has been a question I’ve been thinking about for a long time: how do you define modesty? Can there be one definition of modesty? 

So, I decided to look at a few sources to get an idea of what different people think modesty is.

According to Wikipedia, modesty is “a mode of dress and deportment intended to avoid encouraging sexual attraction in others…”

Although I guess that if you dress modestly, this can be a side effect, I don’t think this definition covers even a fraction of what modesty really is.

Saint John Paul II said that the problem with pornography wasn’t that it showed too much, but that it showed too little. What does he mean by this? Pornography shows not only the human body, but the person, as a sexual object with a sole purpose of sexual pleasure and instant gratification. Humanity is worth so much more than that, so much more than only being used for pleasure. In this Lifeteen post, the author says that this is the problem with immodesty.

So, with that in mind, we can say that immodesty is an objectification of the human body, and modesty is seeing the body as a vessel of the person within.

I once said that I wasn’t modest. I’m still not sure if I am. Sure, I cover what needs to be covered, but in all honesty, it’s not to reflect the dignity of my personhood, but to cover what I think is ugly.

So, I’m going to define modesty: Modesty is a way of dress which glorifies the Lord and reflects the dignity of the person.

We are called to glorify God in all that we do, not man. That includes modest dress and immodest dress. If we are dressing modestly simply to make sure that no one is sexually aroused by us, we are putting man before God. We are trying to please those around us.

Similarly, if we wear what is “cool” with the knowledge that it is not pleasing to God. We are putting man before God.

When you put something on, don’t think what your grandmother or brother or father or best friend would think: think about what God would think.

 

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Roll Away My Stone

As I said in my previous post, my Lent was not as fruitful as I had thought it would be on Ash Wednesday. I failed in all of my sacrifices and additional prayers I had promised to partake in, and I felt like I was moving backwards in my spiritual life instead of forwards. I recently figured out why my Lent had been so difficult.

It all began back in January or February. I was feeling depressed. It wasn’t a big deal, I have major depressive disorder: feeling depressed comes with the package. For the most part, I was able to get over it on my own, so I didn’t really feel a need to talk about it with my therapist or my mom, or anyone. However, I had no idea that the depression had taken a toll on not only on my mental and emotional health, but my spiritual life as well.

Since then, my prayer life has decreased, and I’ve been thinking things along the lines of “I’m fine without God’s help”. I was locked inside a tomb, blocked by a stone and unable to see the light.

But at the Easter Vigil, I felt something. I felt Jesus’ presence so strongly that I wanted to cry. As Jesus’ stone was rolled away and truth was brought to light, it felt like a stone that had been in my own heart was being rolled away.

Lord, I ask to to roll away all stones which are keeping me from being with you. Bring me to the light and let me live in your presence.

Good Friday Confessions.

ImageAll this week, I’ve seen posts about how wonderful an experience this Lent was for people. How they’ve grown closer to God, and learned humility, and their sacrifices all worked out.

And then there’s this girl.

I’m the girl who deleted the facebook and twitter apps from her phone, but didn’t have enough self control to stay off of the sites from Safari. I told myself I wasn’t using the apps so I wasn’t *really* breaking my sacrifice.

I’m the girl who made the promise to go to daily mass every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but in the entirety of Lent, went about five times.

I went to confession on Sunday night. And about two hours later, I sinned again.

And now as Lent’s over, I felt angry at God that I didn’t have some great spiritual experience. But, really, there’s no reason to be angry.

I’m human. I’m gonna fall. I’m gonna get back up again, but chances are, I’ll fall back down.

That’s what Lent was like for me. A whole lot of falling and getting back up.

But: I got up. I didn’t stay on the ground. I got back up.

My friend Christine wrote a great post that really spoke to me as I was struggling after my confession and immediate sinning. Through this weakness, God is giving me grace.

Tomorrow, I will be going to confession again. I’m getting back up, and I’m going to run.

 

46 Things to do for Lent!

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“As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus’ thirst…’Repent and believe’ Jesus tells us. What are we to repent? Our indifference, our hardness of heart. What are we to believe? Jesus thirsts even now, in your heart and in the poor — He knows your weakness. He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you.” -Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

‘Twas the night before Lent… and we don’t know what to do!

If that is you, I hope you find this post helpful!

For Advent, I came up with 40 different things we could do to prepare for the birth of Christ, and decided to do something similar for the upcoming Lenten season.

If you’re anything like me, you have a really tough time coming up with what to do for Lent. I’ve been doing research for the past week or so, and decided to put my favorite ideas into one blog post (while giving credit to the original authors, of course!) as a resource for myself and for others.

  1. 40 Bags in 40 Days
  2. Choose 40 specific people (or 46, if you want to include Sundays) to pray for, one for each day of Lent.
  3. Read about the saints whose feast days fall in Lent. Pray to them and ask for their intercession. 
  4. Image  (from here)
  5. Do the CRAK Instagram challenge!
  6. Don’t eat the last bite of your food (From Lifeteen)
  7. Watch The Mission (from Here)
  8. Fast from Facebook
  9. Pray for those who will enter the Church at the Easter Vigil.
  10. Do the Lenten Photo a Day Journey
  11. Give up all drinks except water
  12. Park at the very back of the parking lot (From Lifeteen)
  13. Watch The Way (From Here)
  14. Do a liquid fast 1x a week (From Domestic Fashionista)
  15. Make your bed every day (From Catholic All Year) – – my bed is lofted, so this is actually a big challenge I will be taking up for Lent!
  16. Do an audio retreat
  17. Do the Lenten Boot Camp (or parts of it!)
  18. Give up apps on your smartphone (From Lifeteen)
  19. Watch Bella (From Here)
  20. Fast from listening to music in the car (From Domestic Fashionista)
  21. Go to mass one more time than you usually do (or even more!)
  22. Read Pope Francis’ The Light of Faith
  23. Don’t eat out (From Catholic All Year)
  24. Read Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium
  25. Give up your bed and sleep on the floor or the couch (From Lifeteen)
  26. Give up texting and call whomever you need to talk to (From Lifeteen)
  27. Watch The Song of Bernadette (From Here)
  28. Give up TV and movies (or one of the others)
  29. Do a daily Examination of Conscience. (I use Mea Culpa, an app from Apple)
  30. Pray the Divine Office Daily (There are some great apps out there you can use on a smart phone or tablet… I love Laudate! It’s also F R E E!)
  31. Fast on more than just the required days
  32. Give away 10 shirts, 2 pairs of pants, and a pair of shoes (From Lifeteen)
  33. Read Pope Francis’ Message for Lent 2014
  34. Pray Lectio Divina
  35. Make a list of forty people who have impacted your life, and write each one a letter (From Lifeteen)
  36. When you wake up, jump out of bed, kiss the floor, and learn humility (From Lifeteen)
  37. Wake up at a specific time every morning (From Catholic All Year)
  38. Do Bob Rice’s Forty Day Spiritual Workout. I use the iPhone app, but you can also sign up to receive daily devotions sent to your email right here!
  39. Give up using the facebook and twitter apps on your phone or iPad and only check when you are at a computer.
  40. Wear the same 4 outfits for all of lent (From Lifeteen)
  41. Fast from wearing any stretchy pants (From Catholic All Year)
  42. Everyday do 20 (or 100) pushups and offer it up for someone who’s sick (From Lifeteen)
  43. Clean your house (or dorm, or bedroom, or bathroom!) every week (From Catholic All Year)
  44. Leave a post-it with a positive message on it wherever you go (From Lifeteen) (Also… check out Operation Beautiful!)
  45. Drink tea instead of coffee (From Catholic All Year)
  46. Cut out all screen-time (phone, TV, computer) after dinner (From Lifeteen)

I hope that this is of some use to you! What are you giving up? Let me know in the comments! I’m genuinely curious and want to do a little project with the data I get 🙂

When God says No.

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So.. He doesn’t say no?

I have this picture up in my room. And I firmly believe that God will never leave me hanging, and that whatever happens, it happens for a reason. 

But sometimes it feels like He’s saying no.

Around a year ago, I applied to lead a retreat on campus. I didn’t get it, and I was heartbroken. I realize now that a huge challenge was about to come my way, and I was not prepared to lead this retreat and take care of myself during this obstacle. The next semester, I took it to prayer, and I heard God’s answer loud and clear: NO. 

I remember being thrown back. No? But I was ready! I wanted this! But I heard it again, “No.”

I was disheartened, but I trusted that God had a plan. That semester, my faith life flourished in ways it hadn’t before. When the time to apply for this semester’s retreat, I applied. My faith life was incredible. Life was amazing, and I was ready. I had my interview, and I thought it went great. My friends all assured me I would get it. 

But then, I didn’t. They explained to me their reasoning, and confirmed that my interview was great. They also asked that I apply again next semester. I understood, but it felt like God was giving me more nos.

I had thought about transferring, but whenever I took it to prayer, I felt so strongly that God had put me where I was for a reason. It made me nervous, and kind of annoyed, to be honest, but I’ve stayed. 

When all my friends were asked to be FOCUS student leaders and I wasn’t, I stayed. I waited. 

It just felt like He was saying no a lot. And that’s caused me a lot of despair in my faith life. I’ve been struggling in prayer, and had no desire to go to mass for the past few weeks. 

And now I understand. God’s never said no. God’s said “trust me”. I’VE been the one who said no, no to trusting.

I ask that as Lent approaches, you keep me in your prayers. I pray I will learn, through the example of Our Blessed Mother, to say “YES” to God’s will, whether it is what I want or not. 

Let Sin Go.

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Wanna feel this free? Try the sacrament of Reconciliation!

On Sunday, I hiked up a mountain to mass at the shrine on campus. I sat alone and asked God to keep me focused on what was important and to reveal Himself to me. When it came time for the homily, the priest spent his time talking about the beautiful sacrament of Reconciliation. At one point, he said something along the lines of:

“People might want you to conceal your sin, to hide it. But God wants you to be honest and open, to come to Him with your sin.”

At that moment, the following lyrics from Disney’s new movie Frozen started repeating themselves in my head:

“Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know. Well, now they know! Let it go! Let it go! Can’t hold it back anymore… And I don’t care what they’re going to say.”

For a three letter word, sin sure is intimidating. It can make us lie, cower, and be ashamed. I can only speak for myself, in reality, but I’ve definitely lied and been ashamed because of sin.

We don’t HAVE to be afraid! God has power over sin, and as long as He is on our side, we have power, as well! Don’t conceal your sin. Come clean. Be honest. Stop holding on to it. God wants us to let go of the pain, the shame that is caused by sin. He wants to set us free.

Let God set you free. Take a deep breath and step out into the unknown: go to confession.

Besides, the cold never bothered us anyway.

Thank you!

Today, I decided randomly to check my blog stats.

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Ever since I posted this article, the views and comments on my blog have been booming. It is truly, truly humbling and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

When I read “6 reasons to NOT send your daughter to college,” I was angry. I was sad. I felt hurt. It felt like a personal attack on my sister, my mother, my friends, my cousins, and me. Independent women, many of whom are living devout Catholic lives, who went to school simply for a love of learning. That’s why I’m in school. Because I want to know more. I want to learn about the world I live in, about the people who surround me, about my faith and my Church. I’m not here for a career. I’m majoring in English and Theology, neither of those are in the least bit practical.

I believe I am a feminist. I’m against birth control, and abortion, and a lot of other things secular feminists say are “women’s rights,” but I believe that God made men and women equal. Not the same, but equal in their dignity. Everyone deserves an education, regardless of their gender roles.

Again, thank you, and God bless you.