Different sins have different weighs in the eyes of God, but what makes the sin greater in most circumstances is the purpose and intent of the person. This is something only God can see. He sees the past, present, future, soul, inner thoughts and desires and so much more. Only He knows how deeply the person gave into a sin.
Although when the sin is Intrinsically evil, that is another story. But Immodesty is not an intrinsic evil, as it is not written as such by the Catholic Church. And so, we will regard this as “just another sin”.
We are no more obliged to gossip about, or judge a persons lack of modesty than if the person in question was, say, a drunkard or a compulsive Liar.
It is said that when we die and meet Christ, we will be judged for our sins, not for the sins of others. We will not be able to say,
“But God, she did this!” or “It was her fault I sinned”
We will be judged by what WE have done in OUR duties to God.
Our obligations concerning Modesty can be summed up in 6 parts:
- Our example: we are obliged to follow Christ in everything we think, do, say, and so on. This is first and foremost. “Love thy God with thy whole heart, mind, soul.” If we want to judge others in their modesty we should first look at our own Modesty. And not just that, we should also be looking at our own faults, as Modesty is certainly not the only Virtue – nor is Immodesty the only sin.
- Prayer: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Love comes in many colors, it can be suffering in silence for another, pulling someone from a burning building, and so on! But the greatest of this is wanting the person to go to heaven. But this desire cannot be the reasoning to constantly berate, judge, humiliate, and shake a finger at a person whom we want to change for some reason or another. No. We are called to first, pray for the person. Fast for them if need be! There is a 99% chance today that a sinner will not take to an abrupt and rude “awakening” to the “scandals” of their “immodesty”, but there is a greater chance that they will allow God to work in their lives, and this should be our number one hope. Not that we will be, “Great warriors” or “great saints” because someone listened to our advice, but that, in the end, the person does God’s will!
- Information: Loving someone does not include keeping quiet when they are oblivious of sin however. When the time is right, (pray about this!) perhaps you could hand them a good book (preferably by a Holy Priest, or Saint) concerning the subject. Though this may even be too pushy. Remember, our first duty to pray for the person – God can do anything, and He can certainly make circumstances come up that will allow the person to learn, or change their ways for the better. Another note; while informing the person do not act all righteous or snotty – we are all sinners, and we are perhaps greater sinners than the person of whom we are instructing.
- Pastors: Perhaps if you know of a good source on Catholic Modesty, you could ask your parish priest to instruct his faithful in his own way? Or if you have a blog, you could share this source if anyone is willing to learn about it. There are quite a few ways that we can share the importance of Modesty without singling out, or hurting others by blatant words. Remember, not everyone knows what it means to dress modestly, nor do they know of the importance. They deserve to find out, gracefully.
- Opinions: When telling others about Modesty are we telling them HOW to dress? Or are we just giving them the information and aiding them if they ask? And if we give our opinion on Modesty, is it in line with what the Church teaches? Do we add more to our cup than we can handle? Do we make ourselves (and others) suffer more than we need to? (Penitential works that are approved by our Spiritual directors are not included, but we have no right to impose them on others). Or, on the other hand, do we give bad advice when the Church teaches otherwise? Tread lightly my friends – we are not all in Heaven yet.
- Final: Pray. The. Rosary. I cannot stress this enough! Oh what grace abounds when one diligently calls on their mother for aid! The Catholic Church has a TON of good things to say about the Rosary, so much so that it would need a bookcase-full of books to explain! Daily (or at least Weekly) Mass is a must. And Adoration at least once a week can do more for the soul than any thing! This way, if we are called to give advice, we may put ourselves in God’s hands, so that all souls may be saved do His will.
Imagine a woman who, by her own obliviousness, dresses very immodestly for Mass. Yet, this woman is the kindest, and most Christian lady out there. She never speaks an unkind word of anyone, nor does she gossip or backbite.
I, on the other hand lets say, dress well for Mass, and even outside of Mass. But my tongue lashes out in secret with close friends – wounding others in such backbiting and gossip! I know this is a bad habit but I make excuses and put off correcting it.
In the eyes of God, whom is the greater sinner? The immodestly dressed woman, who doesn’t know better? Or is it I? The modestly dressed gossiper who wounds the reputation of others?
Let our judgements be reserved for their proper use. And let our knowledge of the faith serve us well that we better ourselves before considering others as greater sinners.
Finally, let us not forget the fact that most Catholic’s are oblivious when it comes to their Faith, and they shouldn’t be judged if they attend daily mass looking like they were going to the beach – THEY ARE GOING TO DAILY MASS! Praise God, pray for them, and as above stated, find a way to gracefully let them know about what the Church teaches – (not what you think they should be doing…)
In the end, what is it that really matters? That we go to heaven. Not that we become “super heroes” in our minds because we drive women away by our violent ways concerning Modesty.
Modesty is not the only Virtue. Immodesty is not the only sin.