Lucia of Fatima’s Reflections on Fashions

Calls from the Message of Fatima (also known as Appeals from the Message of Fatima) is a book written by Sister Lúcia of Fátima (O.C.D.), the last surviving seer of Virgin Mary apparitions in Cova da Iria, Fátima, Portugal.

Finding herself inundated with constantly repeated questions concerning the Marian apparitions occurred in Fátima, Portugal, and the visionaries, the message they received and the reason for some of the requests contained in that message, and feeling that it was beyond her to reply individually to each questioner, Sister Lúcia asked the Holy See for permission to write a text in which she could reply in general to the many questions that had been put to her. This permission was granted, hence the present work entitled in English language: “Calls” or “Appeals” from the Message of Fatima.

This book is, in effect, a long letter, written entirely by Sister Lúcia and addressed by her to all those who have written to her concerning their doubts, questions, and difficulties, and their desire for greater fidelity in living up to what was asked for from Heaven in the Cova da Iria.

We recommend reading the book in its entirety online here.

Would that the clothes people wear in our own day had even a touch of the modesty, the respect of human dignity, displayed by those worn by the village women of those days! It will be good for us to recall here what Sacred Scripture has to say on this subject. “Yahweh God gave the man this admonition. ‘You may eat indeed of all trees in the garden. Nevertheless of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you are not to eat, for on the day you eat of it you most surely will die. The woman saw that the tree was good to eat and pleasing to the eye… she took some of the fruit and ate it. She gave some also to her husband who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realized that they were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together to make themselves loin cloths. (..) But Yahweh God called to man. ‘Where are you?’ he asked. ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden.’ he replied ‘I was afraid because I was naked so I hid.’ ‘Who told you that you were naked?’ he asked ‘Have you been eating of the tree I forbade you to eat?’ The man replied ‘It was the woman you put with me; she gave me the fruit, and I ate it’.

Then Yahweh God (..) to the man he said ‘Because you listened to the voice of your wife and ate from the tree from which I had forbidden you to eat (..) accursed be the soil because of you (..) It shall yield you brambles and thistles (..) With sweat on your brow shall you eat your bread,until you return to the soil, as you were taken from it. For dust you are and dust you shall return.’ Yahweh God made cloths out of skins for the man and his wife, and they put them on (Gen 2,16-17; 3,6-21).

This sacred text shows us the God covered the bodies that had stripped themselves, through sin, of the garment of grace. For this reason, we must all clothe ourselves decently, modestly and with dignity. Those who appear indecently dressed are an incentive to sin, and so are responsible not only for their own sins but also for those that others may commit because of them. Reflect that fashion, if it is indecent-and we see that the world unfortunately follows it as if it were a law-is a trick of the devil,a clever trap in which the devil catches souls, in the same way as hunters catch game in the woods and fields.

God did not give us clothing as an adornment in order to feed our human vanity and frivolity. No! He gave it to us as a protection against sin, as a sign of penance for sin committed, as a punishment for it, as well as to remind us of the laws of God which we are all obliged to obey.

Let us begin by examining how it is a sign of punishment and penance for sin committed and a protection against temptation. The sacred text tells us that, after they had sinned, Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves with fig leaves; but God did not think this was enough, because Sacred Scripture tells us, He ‘made clothes out of skins for the man and his wife, and they put them on’. (Gen 3,21)

Then follows a description of the punishment and the penance imposed on account of sin: Yahweh God expelled him from the garden of Eden, to till the soil from which he had been taken (Gen 3, 23) And this ‘until you return to the soil, as you were taken from it. For dust you are dust you shall return.’ (Gen 2, 17) Yes, your body will die because you sinned and transgressed the law of your God. But worse still, your soul will be lost forever unless you repent and do penance. You will die if you do not change your life, if you do not return to obeying the law of your God.

Notice however that it is not only for these two reasons-punishment and penance of our sins-that God clothes us; it served other purposes too. Besides being a protection against sin, the modest clothing with which we must cover ourselves is a distinguishing mark setting us apart in the stream of immorality and enabling us to be, for the world, true witnesses of Christ.

Clothing also serves to remind us of the laws of God, and of our serious obligation to obey them. God, in fact, asked his people to wear over their clothes concrete signs which would remind them of His Holy Commandments. ‘Speak to the people of Israel and bid them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put upon the tassel of each corner a cord of blue, and it shall be to you a tassel to look upon and remember all the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to go after wantonly. (Num . 15, 38-39)

Let us look at what God is saying here: ‘The tassels of your clothes will serve to remind you of the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to go after wantonly.’ Our clothes then, are to be protection for the eyes and the heart, so that we will not allow ourselves to be caught in the temptations of the flesh, the devil and the world. The tassels mentioned in the text undoubtedly envisage some kind of decoration on our clothing; but such decoration must be in accordance with modesty, with the dignity of the human person, with decency, in short, with morality, prompting us to observe the commandments of the Law of God.

Finally let us reflect on the expression God uses: ‘throughout generations’. This makes us think that God was not speaking for the salvation of the Israelites alone. What He said to them concerns us today, as it will concern those who come after us-not in the external form of the sign chosen which, naturally changes, but in the meaning and specific purpose we must not lose sight of, if we are to respect the order of things as God created them. Because the Law comes to us from God and does not change; it is immutable as He Himself is immutable.

Sister Lucia of Fatima

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